Revising Aug 2 Tucsonans’ WTF Ordinance




Tucsonans’ Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance

Original: April 2, 2021 | Revised Aug 2, 2021


Results to date: No Substantive Response from
City of Tucson City Council for Four Months





City of Tucson Municipal Code Links

Goal: Solve the City of Tucson’s current, significant so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) planning and implementation problems to create a better future for the majority of Tucsonans.

I. Introduction

A. Legend for Color Coding

As an alternative to traditional Microsoft Word® redline/track changes format, we are using modern HTML/CSS formatting, exported to a web page and a pdf, that uses the following formatting conventions:

  • Bold text and italics text are used to emphasize text that appears anywhere in the document.
  • Blue bolded text is used to highlight text in the original code language in §4.9.4 of the Tucson AZ Unified Development Code (last updated in 2003_xxx) — to heighten understanding of the limitations of the current City ordinance.
  • Red bolded, italicized text is for Wire Tucson emphasis
  • Proposed inline additions to original code language are formatted as so . . . [wt: suggested additions to §4.9.4 use yellow highlight]
  • Proposed subtractions to the original code language are formatted as so [wt: suggested subtractions from §4.9.4 use strike-through formatting]
  • Square brackets and the bolded abbreviation for Wire Tucson (wt) denotes [wt: proposed edits] making them easy to search for via any browser’s or pdf reader’s text search function (invoked with either Ctf-F on Windows or Cmd-F on MacOS).

For longer proposed additions, background information and questions, we are using yellow, green and blue boxes, respectively, as shown below.

wt: Text in a yellow box means proposed language to add to §4.9.4.

wt: Text in a green box means background information, that may be further detailed in Appendices at the end of this document.

wt: Text in a blue box are for questions to inform discussions between Tucsonans and their elected representatives and the City Staff charged with implementing policy set by City Council votes, as expressed by voted through Ordinances and Resolutions. Wire Tucson’s questions are sequentially numbered for clarity and easy search:

  • Q-01: Question 1
  • Q-02: Question 2
  • Q-03: Question 3 . . . and so on.

B. Demystifying the “G’s” of Licensed Wireless Service

The following somewhat accurate summary of frequencies projected to be deployed and used from 2021 trough 2030, are listed below. The fully accurate listing of licenses relevant to the City of Tucson are listed in Appendix A or here. This is somewhat accurate shorthand summary of frequencies already deployed and projected to be deployed from 2021 through 2030:

FCC Licensed Frequencies
  • 2G = 900 MHz
  • 3G = 900 MHz to 1,800 MHz
  • 4G = 700 MHz to 2,100 MHz
  • 5G = 600 MHz to 40,000 MHz
FCC Unlicensed Frequencies
  • Wi-Fi = 2,450 MHz, 5,000-5,800 MHz and 60,000 MHz

“G” as in 2G/3G/4G/5G = Wireless industry marketing terms for Generations of Licensed Wireless technology — marketing terms that refer to often-revised collections of FCC Radio Frequency Spectrum licenses (see Appendix A)

  • These “G’s” do not encompass any Wireline service from copper, coaxial or fiber cables or from unlicensed wireless service from Wi-Fi frequencies, listed below.
  • Each subsequent “G” repurposes the frequencies from all previous “G’s”. A service may get retired, but the frequencies are simply reused for subsequent services in the next “G”.

Each incremented “G” also adds additional data capacity by combining the following:

  1. Additional bandwidth: the bandwidth for 5G (from 600 MHz to 40,000 MHz) is about 1,000x larger_xxx than all of the bandwidth used for 4G (from 700 MHz to 2,100 MHz)
  2. New modulation schemes that encode digital telecommunications service data and digital information service data onto the carrier frequencies/wavelengths (Note: the distinction between telecommunications service and information service is tightly defined in Federal law, FCC regulations and relevant Federal court rulings in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court, as discussed, below).
  3. Significantly Greater Additional Total Effective Radiated Power (ERP) — because both the additional bandwidth and the newer modulation schemes allow more data to be broadcast through the air. The more data broadcast, the more ERP and the more RF radiation exposure. (Note: the distinction between ERP and RF radiation exposure are clear in federal law, FCC regulations and relevant Federal court rulings in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court, as discussed, below).

C. Key Terms and Acronyms

  • City = The City of Tucson, AZ
  • Conducted Emissions = high frequency voltage transients or Dirty Electricity, which is electrical waste/pollution (from about 50 kHz to 400 kHz or .050–0.400 MHz) created by Wireless Telecommunications Facilities’ equipment that uses a switched mode power supply to chop up Alternating Current (AC) to create Direct Current (DC) to run the Remote Radio Units (RRUs) and Baseband Radio Units (BRUs) that generate the frequencies for the cellular antennas to broadcast. This electrical waste must be filtered at each so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTF) so that this electrical waste/pollution does not get dumped back onto the electrical lines that flow back into nearby homes. This is a serious matter that can be cleaned up by requiring carriers to install electrical filters. (See examples here →
  • dBm = deciBel milliWatt, a measure of RF Signal Strength for each specific channel (such as dBm for Verizon’s 700 MHz Upper 9C at 746-757 MHz and 776 to 787, a total of 22 Mhz Bandwidth – see details in Appendix A or here). As detailed in the WTF-Report card, the Wireless industry has stipulated that -90 dBm to -85 dBM is excellent coverage for 4G/LTE service (700 MHz–2,100 MHz) —Note: LTE stands for Long Term Evolution.
  • EMF = Electromagnetic Fields are Electric fields (E Fields) and Magnetic fields (H fields) that are inextricably entwined; they represent toxic pollution from 60 Hz (or 0.00006 Mhz) Electrical distribution in the US and from the self-propagating RF/MW radiation from radar (3–40,000 MHz), satellite (, AM radio (525–1705 kHz or 0.525–1.705 MHz), FM radio (87.5–108.0MHz) and wireless telecommunications/information service (600 MHz to 60,000 MHz)
  • Public Safety = In Black’s Law Dictionary, public safety is defined as “the welfare and protection of the general public, usually expressed as a governmental responsibility.”
  • Retrofit = (1) to furnish with new or modified parts or equipment not available or considered necessary at the time of installation; (2) to install (new or modified parts or equipment) in something previously manufactured or constructed (3) to adapt to a new purpose or need
  • RF/MW radiation = Pulsed, data-modulated, Radio-frequency Microwave Radiation (see
  • WTF = Wireless Telecommunications Facility
  • sWTF so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facility
  • Wireless Telecommunications Provider = Entities that provides wireless telecommunication service.

D. Executive Summary

Dedicated and informed residents and business owners of Tucson (listed in Exhibit B), submit the Tusconans’ Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance (herein “WTF Ordinance”) with the purpose to promote and protect public safety, privacy, life, and property, as well as a “sustainable community that embraces prosperity, equity, and a healthy environment” for the Tucson community (as already established in the Plan for Tucson, 2013).

This WTF Ordinance solves the City of Tucson’s current, significant so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) planning and implementation problems to create a better future for the majority of Tusconans.

Accordingly, the purpose of this ordinance is to:

  1. Provide benefits to the City, its residents and general public from access to personal wireless services while minimizing their detriments;
  2. Ensure minimum power necessary to provide personal wireless services — classified as Title II regulated telecommunications service — thereby
    • protecting public safety, privacy, and property values,
    • minimizing nuisances from Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs)
    • preserving the aesthetics and the quiet enjoyment of streets, homes and parks;
  3. Permits should allow for placement, construction, modification, and operation of personal wireless facilities and other wireless infrastructure only where needed, as established by current objective, Carrier-speciifc, channel-specific dBm measurements of Wireless signal strength, thereby reducing adverse economic impacts and protecting and preserving community values listed in Section I-D-2 of this document and affirmed by the 2013 City of Tucson General Plan.
  4. Comply with applicable laws, including the US 1996 Telecommunications Act (1996-TCA) and Arizona ARS-HB.2365_xxx

In the interest of practicing cooperative federalism, the ordinance establishes more attentive and balanced Wireless Telecommunications Facility (hereinafter: WTF) development standards that provide sufficient wireless telecommunications service without violating the inalienable rights preserved by the Arizona and U.S. Constitutions to life and property of Tucson residents and businesses and to the quiet enjoyment of our streets.

The ordinance proposes the “Tucson Wireless Telecommunications Facility code” (hereinafter: WTC-code) to modify the current code in Chapter I of Section 4.9.4 of the Tucson Arizona Unified Development Code in conjunction with defining and enforcing compliance with federal law. In so doing, it provides the means for the City of Tucson to protect public safety, privacy and property values, as well as the City of Tucson’s financial security, within the directives of applicable state and federal laws. It thereby grants more competent fulfillment of the Mayor’s and City Council’s Loyalty Oath of Office. The ordinance is intended to institute local WTF standards, a procedure to manage the operations of WTFs and permit needed WTFs, with an emphasis on the assessment and minimization of any negative impacts from WTFs within the boundaries of the City of Tucson, Arizona. The ordinance ensures that “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (hereinafter: sWTFs) currently permitted or installed in Tucson’s public rights-of-way comply with local, state and federal law.

Highlights of the proposed ordinance include

  1. Enforce collocation of infrastructure on nearby towers;
  2. Limit maximum effective radiated power (ERP) to a level providing 5-bar telecom service;
  3. Retrofit ~450 currently permitted sWTFs to ensure minimum power necessary;
  4. Require NEPA review and compliance on all permit applications;
  5. Require “fiber sharing boxes” in public rights-of-way to promote Fiber To Premises (FTTP);
  6. Implement fuse boxes and policing fees to ensure compliance and generate revenue for the City of Tucson, AZ.

II. Proposed Tucsonans’ Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance (WTF-Code)

A. Table of Contents

B. Proposed Tucsonans’ WTF-Code

  • Section 1: Tucson WTF-Code Purpose and Intent
  • Section 2: Tucson WTF-Code Definitions
  • Section 3: Tucson WTF-Code — Proposed Chapter I Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance
  • Section 4: Checklist for Tucson WTF-Code

III. Supporting Appendices: Substance, Fact and Law

  • Appendix A: 2021 FCC Wireless Carrier Specific Frequencies/Bands/Channels
  • Appendix B: Legislative Intent of the 1996 Telecommunications Act (1996-TCA)
  • Appendix C:Limitations of FCC Order 18-133: Presumptive Streamline sWTF Deployment Order
  • Appendix D: Limitations of Preemption of Local Authority in Arizona ARS HB.2365
  • Appendix E: Conflict in Federal vs State AZ Law: “Collocate” vs. “Collocation”
  • Appendix F: Conflict in Federal vs. AZ State Law: Title I-Regulated Telecommunications Service vs. Title II-Unregulated Information Service
  • Appendix G: Conflict in Federal vs. AZ State Law: Mayor Regina Romero Letter to State Legislature_xxx