Radio Frequency (RF) Transmission Facilities Permits and Review

Learn more about radio frequency transmission facilities building permits, land use reviews and zoning code. Information on how we review cell phone antennae mounted on buildings, cell towers, TV broadcasting equipment and more. Find out about the radio frequency (RF) facility review process.
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Building permit requirements for RF facilities 

A commercial building permit is required for RF facilities. The permit is reviewed by several departments in Development Services.  Water reviews permit applications for facilities on City-owned water towers that are not located within public right-of-way and requires Water Bureau approval prior to submitting for a building permit.

Land use reviews and RF transmission facilities 

For certain sites or proposals, you must have a Land Use Review before approval of the building permit application. For example:

  • if the site is within a historic district, you may need Historic Resource Review.
  • If the site is within a residential zone, you may need a Conditional Use Review.

Development Services reviews land use applications along with the personal wireless service facility building permit application.

Include a completed Land Use Review Application Supplemental Form with each Land Use Review application. For questions about land use reviews, call Planning and Zoning.

Zoning Code review and wireless facilities 

We also review Personal Wireless Service Facilities for compliance with Zoning Code regulations. The purpose of these regulations is to:

  • create a balance between preserving the opportunity for continued and growing service from RF industries
  • protect the health and safety of citizens
  • preserve the quality of living in residential areas near these facilities. RF Zoning Code regulations are contained within Chapter 33.274.

To confirm the Zoning Code regulations that apply to your site, contact Planning and Zoning.

Building Code and radio frequency transmission facilities  

The Structural and Life Safety areas review RF facilities for conformance with structural requirements. This review ensures the viability, accessibility and safety of the facilities and adjacent buildings and structures.

Building and structural design must meet the requirements of the Oregon Structural Specialty Code.

Towers and antenna supporting structures may be designed based on the “Structural Standards for Steel Antenna Towers and Antenna Supporting Structures” (latest revision – EIA/TIA-222) published by the Electronic Industries Association. Information regarding the design of Fiber Reinforced Enclosures can be found in the City of Portland, Development Services Code Guide IBC/26/#1.

RF transmission facilities and water towers 

In addition to the above, Water reviews permits for RF facilities on City-owned water towers that are not located within public right-of-way and requires Water Bureau approval prior to submitting for a building permit.

Additional information: 

You might also want to watch the Personal Wireless Service Facilities powerpoint presentation from August 25, 2021.