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Siting or placement of new wireless communications facilities and/or towers shall be in accordance with the following hierarchy. The order of ranking shall be #1 (highest) through #3 (lowest): (1) co-location, (2) existing structure or building utilization, (3) new wireless communications facility tower location. If a lower ranked alternative is proposed, the applicant must have substantial evidence that a higher ranked alternative is not feasible or available.
(A) Co-location. The co-location of antenna on existing towers shall comply with the following regulations:
(1) Co-location of new antennas upon existing towers shall be permitted in all zoning districts provided that applicant meets all development standards in § 157.093.
(2) An accessory equipment structure which accompanies a tower or an antenna shall meet the setback requirements for structures in the zoning district in which it is located. Any building over 144 square feet requires a building permit.
(B) Existing structure or building utilization. The utilization of existing structures and/or buildings for the placement of antennas shall comply with the following regulations:
(1) The placement of new communication antennas on pre-existing structures shall be permitted in all zoning districts provided the applicant meets all development standards in § 157.093.
(2) Placement of an antenna on an existing building shall be a permitted use in all zoning districts. When placed on an existing building antennas must be inconspicuously mounted on the building or structure other than a tower, using camouflage techniques whenever feasible.
(3) Antennas located on the roof of the building or structure shall extend a maximum of 25 feet or 20% of the height of the building or structure (whichever is greater) above the existing building or structure.
(4) Antennas located on the side of the building or structure shall project no more than six feet from the facade of the building or structure; may not extend over any public way without obtaining the prior written approval of the Building Commissioner; and must be so designed as to be architecturally consistent with the building or structure.
(5) An accessory equipment structure which accompanies a tower or an antenna shall meet the setback requirements for structures in the zoning district in which it is located. Any building over 144 square feet requires a building permit.
(C) New wireless communications facility tower siting.
(1) New wireless communications facilities or towers and associated equipment shall comply with the following regulations:
(2) New wireless communications facilities or towers shall not be constructed or erected without special exception approval through the BZA. The BZA shall approve, approve with conditions or deny conditional use permit applications for wireless communications facilities or towers based on consideration of the following conditions:
(a) Wireless communications facilities or towers shall not be located within 1,000 feet of any recorded residential subdivision.
(b) Wireless communications facilities or towers shall not be located within 500 feet of a residential structure not owned by the applicant.
(c) Distance between towers must maintain a minimum of two miles.
(d) Any tower that is 150 feet or taller shall be capable of co-location of at least four additional users. Any tower that is less than 150 feet shall be capable of co-location of at least two additional users.
(e) A new tower shall not be greater than 199 feet in height. A new tower shall be designed at a height that will not require lighting as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). A Determination of No Hazard Letter issued by the FAA shall demonstrate that lighting is not required prior to the issuance of a building permit by LaPorte County.
(f) Prior to the issuance of a permit for a new tower, the applicant shall demonstrate that a higher ranking on the siting hierarchy cannot be met. Below is the burden of proof, of which as least one of the following must be met in order for a favorable recommendation to be given to the applicant from the LaPorte County BZA.
1. In all applications for construction of a new facility, the applicant must prove by substantial evidence that a bona fide need exists for the facility and no reasonable combination of locations, techniques, or technologies will obviate the need. Or the applicant must prove that it has made all reasonable efforts to procure antenna space on existing facilities and that the cost of co-location exceeds the cost of a new facility by at least 50%, or that the owner of the existing facility, structure or building is not interested in entering into an easement or lease agreement.
2. No existing or approved towers, structures, or buildings are located within the geographic area needed to meet the applicant’s engineering requirements.
3. The BZA may request that a feasibility study be conducted by the applicant that demonstrates why an existing tower that is not of sufficient height or structural integrity cannot be extended in height and/or modified to accommodate the desired height, or to improve the structural integrity of the tower.
4. The owner(s) of each existing tower, structure, or building upon which co-location would be feasible demands unreasonable fees or unreasonable contract terms for co-location.
5. Placement of the applicant’s equipment on any existing tower, structure, or building would result in interference which would materially impair the operation of the applicant’s equipment or the operation of any existing equipment on the tower, structure, or building, and such interference cannot be mitigated at a reasonable cost.
(`88 Code, § 8-22) (Ord. 98-20, passed 11-10-98; Am. Ord. 2000-14, passed 6-13-00; Am. Ord. 2007-25, passed 12-4-07)