OPALCO recently moved forward with the installation of utility poles in the County rights-of-way in support of its county-wide Joint Use Wireless Initiative. The utility poles are to support a Joint Use Wireless Facility (JUWF) which is a multi-purpose installation that provides communication in support of necessary public services (electrical, utility, phone, cable), emergency responder communications, broadband, and cellular personal communications. Utility poles are planned for Lopez, San Juan, Shaw, and Orcas islands.
OPALCO undertook the installation of a number of utility poles as they typically would do as a utility where no County permits are required, and under the knowledge that the County's JUWF regulations do not require a land use or public notification process. In recent consultation with OPALCO staff, however, the County has determined that a right-of-way permit and a building permit is required. To that end, OPALCO is in the process of providing additional information to the County.