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The placement of new utility poles is prohibited by the town's undergrounding requirements in the UDO unless permitted by applicable sections. Modification or replacement of qualifying utility poles and qualifying town utility poles existing as of April 2, 2018 is not prohibited; however, the maintenance, modification, operation, or replacement of qualifying utility poles and qualifying town utility poles associated with small wireless facilities are subject to the following requirements.
(A) Application. Applicants must complete an application as specified in form and content by the town.
(B) Height. Each modified or replacement utility pole or city utility pole shall not exceed:
(1) Forty feet above ground level on property zoned for or used as a single-family residential property, or in the right-of-way adjacent to such property where existing utilities are installed underground, unless a variance is granted pursuant to § 152.076 of the UDO; or
(2) Fifty feet above ground level on all other property. Each new small wireless facility shall not extend more than ten feet above the associated utility pole, town utility pole, or wireless support structure on which it is collocated.
(C) Small wireless facilities. All requirements set forth in this subchapter and applicable to small wireless facilities shall apply to such facilities located on a utility pole, town utility pole, or wireless support structure.
(D) Public safety. In order to protect public safety:
(1) No replacement utility poles or town utility poles associated with a small wireless facility are permitted in the clear zone as defined in the town Standard Specifications and Details Manual unless such replacement pole is breakaway rated.
(2) No portion of a utility pole or town utility pole associated with a small wireless facility may be placed in the public right-of-way:
(a) In a manner that obstructs pedestrians or vehicular or bicycle access, obstructs sight lines or visibility for traffic, traffic signage or signals, or interferes with access by persons with disabilities; and an applicant may be required to place equipment in vaults in order to avoid obstructions or interference; or
(b) That involves placement of pole-mounted equipment (other than cabling), the lowest point of which is lower than eight feet above ground level.
(E) Objective design standards. Utility poles or town utility poles associated with a small wireless facility shall be blended with the natural surroundings as much as possible. Colors and materials shall be used that are compatible with the surrounding area, except when otherwise required by applicable federal or state regulations. Utility poles or town utility poles associated with a small wireless facility shall be located, designed, and/or screened to blend in with the existing natural or built surroundings to reduce visual impacts as much as possible, and to be compatible with neighboring land uses and the character of the community.
(F) Stealth and concealment. All antenna and accessory equipment must be shrouded or otherwise concealed.
(G) Historic preservation. Small wireless facilities located in designated historic districts or on property designated as a landmark pursuant to applicable law shall be required to obtain a certificate of appropriateness, if such certificate is required by the UDO or other applicable regulation.
(H) Applicable codes. Utility poles and town utility poles associated with a small wireless facility must meet applicable codes.
(I) Standard conditions.
(1) Applicant must obtain all other required permits, authorizations, approvals, agreements, and declarations that may be required for installation, modification, and/or operation of the proposed facility under federal, state, or local law, rules, or regulations, including but not limited to encroachment agreements and FCC approvals. An approval issued under this subsection is not in lieu of any other permit required under the UDO or Town Code of Ordinances, nor is it a franchise, license, or other authorization to occupy the public right-of-way, or a license, lease, or agreement authorizing occupancy of any public or private property. It does not create a vested right in occupying any particular location, and an applicant may be required to move and remove facilities at its expense consistent with other provisions of applicable law. An approval issued in error, based on incomplete or false information submitted by an applicant or that conflicts with the provisions of the UDO, is not valid. No person may maintain a small wireless facility in place unless required state or federal authorization remain in force.
(2) All small wireless facilities and related equipment, including but not limited to fences, cabinets, poles, and landscaping, shall be maintained in good working condition over the life of that use. This shall include keeping the structures maintained to the visual standards established at the time of approval. The small wireless facility shall remain free from trash, debris, litter, graffiti, and other forms of vandalism. Any damage shall be repaired as soon as practicable, and in no instance more than 30 calendar days from the date of notification by the town. In public rights-of-way, damaged or deteriorated components must be corrected within five business days of notification.
(3) The property owner or applicant shall submit a certification letter from a North Carolina certified land surveyor or licensed engineer which verifies that structure height complies with the approved development plan.
(4) The applicant or owner shall maintain onsite at the facility contact information for all parties responsible for maintenance of the facility.
(5) Small wireless facilities, whether operating alone or in conjunction with other facilities, shall not generate radio frequency emissions in excess of the standards established by the FCC.
(6) After written notice to the applicant and/or owner, the town may require the relocation, at the applicant/owner's expense, of any small wireless facility, and the associated utility pole, town utility pole, or wireless support structure on which it is collocated, located in the public right-of-way, as necessary for maintenance or reconfiguration of the right-of-way or for other public projects, or take any other action or combination of actions necessary to protect the health and welfare of the town.
(7) Collocation or modification of small wireless facilities on an existing nonconforming wireless support structure or base station shall not be construed as an expansion, enlargement, or increase in intensity of a non-conforming structure and/or use, provided that the collocation or modification constitute an eligible facilities request.
(Ord. 2018-002, passed 4-2-18)