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(A) Definitions. For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
ALTERNATIVE TOWER STRUCTURE. Human-made trees, clock towers; bell steeples, light poles and similar alternative-design mounting structures that camouflage or conceal the presence of antennas or towers.
ANTENNA. Any exterior apparatus designed for telephonic, radio or television communications through the sending and/or receiving of electromagnetic waves.
FAA. The Federal Aviation Administration.
FCC. The Federal Communications Commission.
GOVERNING AUTHORITY. The governing authority of the county/city.
HEIGHT. When referring to a tower or other structure, the distance measured from ground level to the highest point on the tower or other structure, even if the highest point is an antenna.
PREEXISTING TOWERS AND ANTENNAS. The meaning set forth in division (B)(4) below.
PUBLIC OFFICER. The Building Official of the governing authority.
TOWER. Any structure that is designed and constructed primarily for the purpose of supporting one or more antennas, including self-supporting lattice towers, guy towers or monopole towers. The term includes radio and television transmission towers, microwave towers, common-carrier towers, cellular telephone towers, alternative tower structures and the like.
(1) District height limitations. The requirements set forth in this chapter shall govern the location of towers that exceed, and antennas that are installed at a height in excess of, the height limitations specified for each zoning district. The height limitations applicable to buildings and structures shall not apply to towers and antennas.
(2) Public property. Antennas or towers located on property owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the governing authority, shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter, provided a license or lease authorizing such antenna or tower has been approved by the governing authority.
(3) Amateur radio; receive-only antennas. This chapter shall not govern any tower, or the installation of any antenna, that is under 70 feet in height and is owned and operated by a federally-licensed amateur radio station operator or is used exclusively for receive only antennas.
(4) Pre-existing towers and antennas. Any tower or antenna on for which a permit has been properly issued prior to the effective date of this chapter shall not be required to meet the requirements of this chapter, other than the requirements of divisions (C)(5) and (6) below. Any such towers or antennas shall be referred to in this chapter as pre-existing towers or pre-existing antennas.
(C) General guidelines and requirements.
(1) Purpose; goals. The purpose of this chapter is to establish general guidelines for the siting of towers and antennas. The goals of this chapter are to:
(a) Encourage the location of towers in non-residential areas and minimize the total number of towers throughout the community;
(b) Encourage strongly the joint use of new and existing tower sites;
(c) Encourage users of towers and antennas to locate them, to the extent possible, in areas where the adverse impact on the community is minimal;
(d) Encourage users of towers and antennas to configure them in a way that minimizes the adverse visual impact of the towers and antennas; and
(e) Enhance the ability of the providers of telecommunications services to provide such services to the community quickly, effectively and efficiently.
(2) Principal or accessory use.
(a) Antennas and towers may be considered either principal or accessory uses. A different existing use or an existing structure on the same lot shall not preclude the installation of an antenna or tower on the lot.
(b) For purposes of determining whether the installation of a tower or antenna complies with district development regulations, including but not limited to set-back requirements, lot coverage requirements, and other such requirements, the dimensions of the entire lot shall control, even though the antennas or towers may be located on leased parcels within such lots.
(c) Towers that are constructed, and antennas that are installed, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall not be deemed to constitute the expansion of a nonconforming use or structure.
(3) Inventory of existing sites.
(a) Each applicant for an antenna and or tower shall provide to the Planning and Zoning Commission an inventory of its existing towers that are either within the jurisdiction of the governing authority or within one-quarter mile of the border thereof, including specific information about the location, height, and design of each tower.
(b) The Planning and Zoning Commission may share such information with other applicants applying for administrative approvals or special use permits under this chapter or other organizations seeking to locate antennas within the jurisdiction of the governing authority, provided, however that the Planning and Zoning Commission is not, by sharing the information, in any way representing or warranting that the sites are available or suitable.
(4) Aesthetics; lighting. The guidelines set forth in this division shall govern the location of all towers, and the installation of all antennas, governed by this chapter; provided, however, that the governing authority may waive these requirements if it determines that the goals of this chapter are better served thereby.
(a) Towers shall either maintain a galvanized steel finish or, subject to any applicable standards of the FAA, be painted a neutral color, so as to reduce visual obtrusiveness.
(b) At a tower site, the design of the buildings and related structures shall, to the extent possible, use materials, colors, textures, screening and landscaping that will blend the tower facilities to the natural setting and built environment.
(c) If an antenna is installed on a structure other than a tower, the antenna and supporting electrical and mechanical equipment must be of a neutral color that is identical to, or closely compatible with, the color of the supporting structure so as to make the antenna and related equipment as visually unobtrusive as possible.
(d) Towers shall not be artificially lighted, unless required by the FAA or other applicable authority. If lighting is required, the governing authority may review the available lighting alternatives and approve the design that would cause the least disturbance to the surrounding views.
(5) Federal requirements.
(a) All towers must meet or exceed current standards and regulations of the FAA, the FCC, and any other agency of the federal government with the authority to regulate towers and antennas.
(b) If the standards and regulations are changed, then the owners of the towers and antennas governed by this chapter shall bring the towers and antennas into compliance with the revised standards and regulations within six months of the effective date of the standards and regulations, unless a more stringent compliance schedule is mandated by the controlling federal agency.
(c) Failure to bring towers and antennas into compliance with the revised standards and regulations shall constitute grounds for the removal of the tower or antenna at the owners expense.
(6) Building codes; safety standards.
(a) To ensure the structural integrity of towers, the owner of a tower shall ensure that it is maintained in compliance with standards contained in applicable local building codes and the applicable standards for towers that are published by the Electronics Industries Association, as amended from time to time.
(b) If, upon inspection, the governing authority concludes that a tower fails to comply with the codes and standards and constitutes a danger to persons or property, then upon notice being provided to the owner of the tower, the owner shall have 30 days to bring the tower into compliance with the standards.
(c) If the owner fails to bring the tower into compliance within the 30 days, the governing authority may remove the tower at the owner’s expense.
(D) Permitted uses.
(1) General. The uses listed in this section are deemed to be permitted uses and shall not require administrative review or a special use permit. Nevertheless, all the uses shall comply with divisions (C)(4), (5) and (6) above and all other applicable ordinances.
(2) Specific permitted uses. The following uses are specifically permitted:
(a) Locating a tower or antenna, including the placement of additional buildings or other supporting equipment used in connection with the tower or antenna, in any industrial or heavy commercial zoning district; provided, however, that the tower shall be set back from any existing off-site residence a distance equal to the height of the tower;
(b) Installing an antenna on an existing structure other than a tower (such as a building, sign, light pole, water tower, or other free-standing nonresidential structure) that is 50 feet in height or greater, so long as the additional antenna adds no more than 20 feet to the height of the existing structure; and
(c) Installing an antenna on any existing tower of any height, so long as the addition of the antenna adds no more than 20 feet to the height of the existing tower and the existing tower is not a pre-existing tower; provided, however, that the specific permitted use shall not include the placement of additional buildings or other supporting equipment used in connection with the antenna.
(E) Administrative approvals.
(a) The Planning and Zoning Commission may administratively approve the uses listed in this division.
(b) Each applicant for administrative approval shall apply to the Planning and Zoning Commission, providing the information set forth in divisions (F)(2) and (4) below.
(c) The Planning and Zoning Commission shall respond to each such application within 30 days after receiving it by either approving or denying the application. If the Planning and Zoning Commission fails to respond to the applicant within the 30 days, then the application shall be deemed to be approved.
(d) In connection with any such administrative approval, the Planning and Zoning Commission may, in order to encourage shared use, administratively waive any zoning district setback requirements by up to 50%.
(e) If an administrative approval is denied, the applicant may appeal the denial in accordance with the provisions of the zoning ordinance concerning appeals of administrative decisions.
(2) Specific administratively approved uses. The following uses may be approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission after conducting an administrative review:
(a) Installing an antenna on an existing structure other than a tower (such as a building, sign, light pole, water tower or other free standing nonresidential structure) that is less than 50 feet in height, so long as the addition does not add more than 20 feet to the height of the existing structure;
(b) Installing an antenna on an existing tower of any height, including a pre-existing tower and further including the placement of additional buildings or other supporting equipment used in connection with the antenna, so long as the addition of the antenna adds no more than 20 feet to the height of the existing structure;
(c) Locating any alternative tower structure in a zoning district other than industrial or heavy commercial that in the judgment of the Planning and Zoning Commission is in conformity with the goals set forth in division (C)(1) above;
(d) Locating any tower in a zoning district other than industrial or heavy commercial, provided a licensed professional engineer certifies, the tower can structurally accommodate the number of shared users proposed by the applicant; the Planning and Zoning Commission concludes the tower is in conformity with the goals set forth in division (C)(1) above, and the requirements of divisions (C)(4), (5) and (6) above; the tower is to be set back from any existing off-site residence a distance equal to the height of the tower; and that the tower meets the following height and usage criteria:
1. For a single user, up to 90 feet in height;
2. For two users, up to 120 feet in height; and
3. For three or more users, up to 150 feet in height.
(F) Special use permits.
(1) General. The following provisions shall govern the issuance of special use permits:
(a) If the tower or antenna is not a permitted use under division (D) above, or permitted to be approved administratively pursuant to division (E) above, then a special use permit shall be required for the construction of a tower or the placement of an antenna in all zoning districts.
(b) In granting a special use permit, the governing authority may impose conditions to the extent the governing authority concludes the conditions are necessary to minimize any adverse effect of the proposed tower on adjoining properties.
(c) Any information of an engineering nature that the applicant submits, whether civil, mechanical, or electrical shall be certified by a licensed professional engineer.
(2) Information required. Each applicant requesting a special use permit under this chapter shall provide a scaled site plan and a scaled elevation view and other supporting drawings, calculations and other documentation, signed and sealed by appropriate licensed professionals, showing the location and dimensions of all improvements, including information concerning topography, radio frequency coverage, tower height requirements, setbacks, drives, parking, fencing, landscaping, adjacent uses and other information deemed by the governing authority to be necessary to assess compliance with this chapter.
(3) Factors considered in granting special use permits. The governing authority shall consider the following factors in determining whether to issue a special use permit, although the governing authority may waive or reduce the burden on the applicant of one or more of these criteria, if the governing authority concludes that the goals of this chapter are better served thereby:
(a) Height of the proposed tower;
(b) Proximity of the tower to residential structures and residential district boundaries;
(c) Nature of uses on adjacent and nearby properties;
(d) Surrounding topography;
(e) Surrounding tree coverage and foliage;
(f) Design of the tower, with particular reference to design characteristics that have the effect of reducing or eliminating visual obtrusiveness;
(g) Proposed ingress and egress; and
(h) Availability of suitable existing towers and other structures as discussed in division (F)(4) below.
(4) Availability of suitable existing towers or other structures. No new tower shall be permitted unless the applicant demonstrates to the reasonable satisfaction of the governing authority that no existing tower or structure can accommodate the applicant’s proposed antenna. Evidence submitted to demonstrate that no existing tower or structure can accommodate the applicant’s proposed antenna may consist of any of the following:
(a) No existing towers or structures are located within the geographic area required to meet applicant’s engineering requirements;
(b) Existing towers or structures are not of sufficient height to meet applicant’s engineering requirements;
(c) Existing towers or structures do not have sufficient structural strength to support applicant’s proposed antenna and related equipment;
(d) The applicant’s proposed antenna would cause electromagnetic interference with the antenna on the existing towers or structures, or the antenna on the existing towers or structures would cause interference with the applicant’s proposed antenna;
(e) The fees, costs, or contractual provisions required by the owner in order to share an existing tower or structure or to adapt an existing tower or structure for sharing are unreasonable. Costs exceeding new tower development are presumed to be unreasonable; and/or
(f) The applicant demonstrates that there are other limiting factors that render existing towers and structures unsuitable.
(5) Setbacks and separation. The following setbacks and separation requirements shall apply to all towers and antennas for which a special use permit is required; provided, however, that the governing authority may, reduce the standard setbacks and separation requirements if the goals of this chapter would be better served thereby:
(a) Towers must be set back a distance equal to the height of the tower from any off-site residential structure;
(b) Towers, guys and accessory facilities must satisfy the minimum zoning district setback requirements; and
(c) In zoning districts other than industrial or heavy commercial zoning districts, towers over 90 feet in height shall not be located within one-quarter mile from any existing tower that is over 90 feet in height.
(6) Security fencing. Towers shall be enclosed by security fencing not less than six feet in height and shall also be equipped with an appropriate anti-climbing device; provided, however, that the governing authority may waive the requirements. as it deems appropriate.
(7) Landscaping. The following requirements shall govern the landscaping surrounding towers for which a special use permit is required; provided, however, that the governing authority may waive the requirements if the goals of this chapter would be better served thereby:
(a) Tower facilities shall be landscaped with a buffer of plant materials that effectively screens the view of the tower compound from adjacent residential property. The standard buffer shall consist of a landscaped strip at least four feet wide outside the perimeter of the compound;
(b) In locations where the visual impact of the tower would be minimal, the landscaping requirement may be reduced or waived altogether; and
(c) Existing mature tree growth and natural land forms on the site shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible. In some cases, such as towers sited on large, wooded lots, natural growth around the property perimeter may be sufficient buffer.
(G) Removal of abandoned antennas and towers.
(1) Any antenna or tower that is not operated for a continuous period of 12 months shall be considered abandoned, and the owner of the antenna or tower shall remove same within 90 days of receipt of notice from the governing authority notifying the owner of the abandonment.
(2) If the antenna or tower is not removed within the 90 days, the governing authority may remove the antenna or tower at the owner’s expense. If there are two or more users of a single tower, then this provision shall not become effective until all users cease using the tower.
(2005 Code, § 14-6-2) (Ord. 97-02-20, passed - -)