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(A) Purpose. The purpose of this section is:
(1) To protect the community’s natural beauty, visual quality and safety while facilitating the reasonable and balanced provision of wireless communication services. More specifically, it is the city’s goal to minimize the visual impact of wireless communication facilities on the community, particularly in and near residential zones;
(2) To promote and protect the public health, safety and welfare, preserve the aesthetic character of the Urbandale community, and to reasonably regulate the development and operation of wireless communication facilities within the city to the extent permitted under state and federal law;
(3) To minimize the impact of WCFs by establishing standards for siting design and screening;
(4) To protect residential zones from excessive development of WCFs;
(5) To preserve the quality of living in residential areas which are in close proximity to WCFs;
(6) To preserve the opportunity for continued and growing service from the wireless industry;
(7) To preserve neighborhood harmony and corridors;
(8) To accommodate the growing need and demand for wireless communication services;
(9) To establish clear guidelines and standards and an orderly process for permit application review intended to facilitate the deployment of wireless transmission equipment, to provide advanced communication services to the city, its residents, businesses and community at large;
(10) To ensure city zoning regulations are applied consistently with federal and state telecommunications laws, rules, regulations and controlling court decisions; and
(11) To provide regulations which are specifically not intended to, and shall not be interpreted or applied to:
(a) Prohibit or effectively prohibit the provision of personal wireless services,
(b) Unreasonably discriminate among functionally equivalent service providers, or
(c) Regulate WCFs and wireless transmission equipment on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such emissions comply with the standards established by the Federal Communications Commission.
(B) Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
ANTENNA. One or more rods, panels, discs or similar devices used for wireless communication, which may include, but is not limited to, omni-directional antenna (whip), directional antenna (panel), and parabolic antenna (dish).
ANTENNA ARRAY. A single or group of antenna elements and associated mounting hardware, transmission lines, or other appurtenances which share a common attachment device such as a mounting frame or mounting support structure for the sole purpose of transmitting or receiving electromagnetic waves.
APPLICANT. Any person engaged in the business of providing wireless telecommunications services or the wireless telecommunications infrastructure required for wireless telecommunications services and who submits an application.
(a) A structure or equipment at a fixed location that enables wireless communications licensed by the Commission or authorized wireless communications between user equipment and a communications network. The term does not encompass a tower as defined herein or any equipment associated with a tower.
(b) BASE STATION includes, without limitation:
1. Equipment associated with wireless communication services such as private, broadcast, and public safety services, as well as unlicensed wireless services and fixed wireless services such as microwave backhaul.
2. Radio transceivers, antennas, coaxial or fiber-optic cable, regular and backup power supplies, and comparable equipment, regardless of technological configuration.
3. A structure other than a tower that, at the time the relevant application is filed with the state or local government, supports or houses equipment described in division (b)1. and (b)2. above of this definition that has been reviewed and approved under the applicable zoning or siting process, or under another state or local regulatory review process, even if the structure was not built for the sole or primary purpose of providing that support.
(c) BASE STATION does not include any structure that, at the time the relevant application is filed with the state or local government under this section, does not support or house equipment described in division (b)1. and (b)2. above of this definition.
COLLOCATION. The mounting or installation of additional transmission equipment on a support structure already in use for the purpose of transmitting or receiving radio frequency signals for communications purposes.
COMMISSION or FCC. The Federal Communications Commission.
DISTRIBUTED ANTENNA SYSTEM or DAS. A network consisting of transceiver equipment at a central hub site to support multiple antenna locations throughout the desired coverage area.
ELIGIBLE FACILITIES REQUEST. Any request for modification of an existing tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station, involving:
(a) Collocation (as defined by federal law rather than the definition above in this division (B)) of new transmission equipment;
(b) Removal of transmission equipment; or
(c) Replacement of transmission equipment.
ELIGIBLE SUPPORT STRUCTURE. Any tower or base station as defined in this division (B), provided that it is in existence at the time the relevant application is filed with the city under this section.
EXISTING. A tower or base station that has been reviewed and approved under the applicable zoning or siting process, or under another state or local regulatory review process, provided that a tower that has not been reviewed and approved because it was not in a zoned area when it was built, but was lawfully constructed, is EXISTING for purposes of this definition.
MACROCELL. An antenna or antennas mounted on a tower, ground-based mast, rooftops and other existing structures, at a height that provides a clear view over the surrounding buildings and terrain.
(a) In relation to a tower that is not in the public right-of-way, the current boundaries of the leased or owned property surrounding the tower and any access or utility easements currently related to the site.
(b) In relation to support structures other than towers, SITE means an area in proximity to the structure and to other transmission equipment already deployed on the ground.
SMALL CELLS. Compact low-power wireless base stations containing their own transceiver equipment and function like cells in a mobile network but provide a smaller coverage area than traditional macrocells.
STEALTH DESIGN. Technology that minimizes the visual impact of wireless communication facilities by camouflaging, disguising, screening or blending into the surrounding environment. Examples of STEALTH DESIGN include but are not limited to facilities disguised as trees, flagpoles, bell towers, and architecturally screened roof-mounted antennas. It is also the city’s preference that towers with concealed antennas look like gray galvanized poles.
(a) A change in the existing support structure which results in one or more of the following:
1. Increase in the height of a tower, other than a tower in the public right-of-way, by more than 10% or by the height of one additional antenna array with separation from the nearest existing antenna not to exceed 20 feet, whichever is greater.
2. Increase in the height of existing support structures, other than a tower in division (a)1. above of this definition, by more than 10% or more than ten feet, whichever is greater.
3. Height shall be measured from the original support structure in cases where deployments are or will be separated horizontally, such as on buildings’ rooftops. Otherwise, height shall be measured from the dimensions of the tower or base station, inclusive of originally approved appurtenances and any modifications that were approved prior to the passage of the Spectrum Act.
4. Addition of an appurtenance to the body of the tower, other than a tower in the public right-of-way, that would protrude from the edge of the tower more than 20 feet, or more than the width of the tower structure at the level of the appurtenance, whichever is greater.
5. Addition of an appurtenance to an existing support structure, other than a tower under division (a)4. above of this definition, that would protrude from the edge of the structure by more than six feet.
6. Installation of more than the standard number of new equipment cabinets for the technology involved, but not to exceed four cabinets.
7. Installation of any new equipment cabinets on the ground if there are no preexisting ground cabinets associated with the tower in the public right-of-way or base station.
8. Installation of ground cabinets that are more than 10% larger in height or overall volume than any other ground cabinets associated with a tower in the public right-of-way or base station.
9. Excavation or deployment outside the current site.
10. Defeat of concealment elements of the existing support structure.
11. Noncompliance with conditions associated with the siting approval of the construction or modification of the existing support structure or base station equipment, except if the change is noncompliant only in a manner that does not exceed the thresholds identified in divisions (a)1. through (a)9. above of this definition.
(b) SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE shall also mean any criteria otherwise included in federal law. To the extent of any inconsistency, federal law shall govern this definition.
TOWER. A structure built for the sole or primary purpose of supporting an antenna and the associated facilities authorized or licensed by the FCC, including structures that are constructed for wireless communication services including, but not limited to, private, broadcast, and public safety services, as well as unlicensed wireless services and fixed wireless services such as microwave backhaul, and the associated site.
TOWER HEIGHT. The vertical distance measured from the base of the tower structure at grade to the highest point of the structure including the antenna.
TRANSMISSION EQUIPMENT. Equipment that facilitates transmission for any FCC-licensed or authorized wireless communication service, including, but not limited to, radio transceivers, antennas, coaxial or fiber-optic cable, and regular and backup power supply. The term includes equipment associated with wireless communications services including, but not limited to, private, broadcast, and public safety services, such as wireless local area network services and services utilizing a set of specifications developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for interface between a wireless client and a base station or between two wireless clients, as well as unlicensed wireless services and fixed wireless services such as microwave backhaul.
UTILITY POLE. A structure owned or operated by a public utility, municipality or electric utility that is designed specifically for and used to carry lines, cable, or wires for telephone, cable television, or electricity, or to provide lighting.
WIRELESS COMMUNICATION FACILITIES or WCF. A staffed or unstaffed facility or location for the transmission and/or reception of radio frequency (RF) signals or other wireless communications or other signals for commercial communications purposes, typically consisting of one or more antennas or group of antennas, a tower or attachment support structure, transmission cables and other transmission equipment, and an equipment enclosure or cabinets.
WIRELESS SUPPORT STRUCTURE. A structure that exists at the time an application is submitted and is capable of supporting the attachment or installation of transmission equipment in compliance with applicable codes, including but not limited to water towers, buildings, and other structures, whether within or outside the public right-of-way. WIRELESS SUPPORT STRUCTURE does not include a tower or existing base station.
(1) Towers shall be located only in those areas and pursuant to the processes described in this section.
(2) If an applicant wants to construct a tower in a residential zone or within 200 feet of a residential zone, then a conditional use permit process and stealth design are required. If an applicant wants to construct a tower beyond 200 feet of a residential zone, then the review process is that which is required for the zone in which the tower is to be located.
(1) (a) To the extent not otherwise covered by division (Q) (Eligible Facilities Request Applications) below, and in order to encourage but not mandate collocation, additional wireless communication antennas and antenna arrays are permitted in all zones via administrative approval provided that they are attached to or inside of an existing structure (except on the exterior of pole signs or anywhere on a billboard) that provides the required clearances for the antenna’s or array’s operation without the necessity of constructing a tower or other apparatus to extend the antenna or array more than 15 feet above the structure.
(b) If any support structure must be constructed to achieve the needed elevation or if the attachment adds more than 15 feet above the existing structure, the proposal is subject to conditional use permit review. The limitation to 15 feet applies to cumulative increases and any previously approved additions to height made under this division (D) must be included in its measurement.
(2) Installation of equipment and facilities requires the granting of applicable permits.
(3) For WCF equipment on city-owned property, the execution of necessary agreements is also required.
(4) Any equipment shelter or cabinet and other ancillary equipment are subject to the general development standards of division (H) below.
(E) Application requirements for towers and transmission equipment. Applications submitted under this division (E) for towers and other WCF transmission equipment shall include the following materials:
(1) Requirement for FCC documentation. The applicant shall provide a copy of the applicant’s FCC license or registration.
(2) Site plans. Complete and accurate plans and drawings to scale, prepared, signed and sealed by an Iowa-licensed engineer, land surveyor and/or architect, including:
(a) Plan views and all elevations before and after the proposed construction with all height and width measurements called out;
(b) A depiction of all proposed transmission equipment;
(c) A depiction of all proposed utility runs and points of contact; and
(d) A depiction of the leased or licensed area with all rights-of-way and/or easements for access and utilities in plain view.
(3) Visual analysis. A color visual analysis that includes to-scale visual simulations that show unobstructed before-and-after construction daytime and clear-weather views from at least four angles, together with a map that shows the location of each view.
(4) Statement of purpose. A clear and complete written statement of purpose shall minimally include:
(a) A description of the objective to be achieved; and
(b) A to scale map that identifies the proposed site location; and
(c) Full-color signal propagation maps to the extent allowed by applicable law.
(5) Design justification. A clear and complete written analysis that explains how the proposed design complies with the applicable design standards under this section to the maximum extent feasible. A complete design justification must identify all applicable design standards under this section and provide a factually detailed reason why the proposed design either complies or cannot feasibly comply.
(6) Noise study. A noise study, if requested by the city, prepared, signed and sealed by an Iowa-licensed engineer, for the proposed WCF and all associated equipment.
(7) Other published materials. All other information or materials that the city may reasonably require, from time to time, make publicly available and designate as part of the application requirements.
(8) Limitation on application information. The city shall not require an applicant to submit information about, or evaluate an applicant’s business decisions with respect to the applicant’s designed service, customer demand for service, or quality of the applicant’s service to or from a particular area or site, but may require propagation maps solely for the purpose of identifying the location of the coverage or capacity gap or need for applications for new towers in an area zoned residential.
(F) New tower application review process.
(1) An applicant that proposes to construct a new tower within the city shall submit the necessary copies and attachments of the application to the city and comply with applicable local ordinances concerning land use and the appropriate permitting processes. An applicant applying for the construction of a new tower shall provide an explanation regarding the reason for choosing the proposed location and the reason the applicant did not choose collocation. The explanation shall include a sworn statement from an individual who has responsibility over placement of the tower attesting that collocation within the area determined by the applicant to meet the applicant’s radio frequency engineering requirements for the placement of the site would not result in the same mobile service functionality, coverage, and capacity, is technically infeasible, or is economically burdensome to the applicant.
(2) All records, documents, and electronic data in the possession or custody of city personnel are subject to Iowa Code Chapter 22. Disclosure of such records shall be consistent with applicable state law.
(3) The city, within 150 calendar days of receiving an application to construct a new tower, unless another date is specified in a written agreement between the city and the applicant, shall comply with the following provisions:
(a) Review the application for conformity with applicable local zoning regulations, building permit requirements, and consistency with this division (F). An application is deemed to be complete unless the city notifies the applicant in writing, within 30 calendar days of submission of the application, specifying the deficiencies in the application which, if cured, would make the application complete. The city’s timeframe to review the application is tolled beginning the date the notice is sent. The city’s timeframe of 150 days for review of the application begins running again when the applicant cures the specified deficiencies. Following the applicant’s supplemental submission, the city has ten days to notify the applicant that the supplemental submission did not provide the information identified in the original notice that specified deficiencies in the application. The city’s timeframe of 150 days to review the application is tolled in the case of second or subsequent notices in conformance with this division (F)(3). The city shall not include deficiencies in a second or subsequent notice that were not delineated in the original notice. The city’s timeframe for review does not toll if the city requests information regarding any of the considerations the city may not consider as described in division (E)(8) (Limitation on Application Information) above.
(b) Make its final decision to approve or disapprove the application, including an application for a conditional use permit. An applicant will still need to pull the requisite building and other applicable permits which can be after the 150-day time period or such other date specified in a written agreement between the city and the applicant.
(c) Advise the applicant in writing of its final decision.
(4) If the city fails to act on an application to construct a new tower within the timeframe for review specified under division (F)(3)(a) above, the application shall be deemed approved.
(5) A party aggrieved by the final action of the city, either by its affirmative disapproval of an application under the provisions of this division (F) or by its inaction, may bring an action for review in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(G) Transmission equipment and other tower applications.
(1) The city may exercise zoning, land use, planning, and permitting authority within the city’s territorial boundaries with regard to an application for initial placement or installation of transmission equipment on wireless support structures, for modification of an existing tower or existing base station that constitutes a substantial change, or for a request for construction or placement of transmission equipment that does not constitute an eligible facilities request, subject to the provisions of this division (G) and federal law.
(2) An applicant that proposes an initial placement or installation of transmission equipment on wireless support structures, a modification of an existing tower or existing base station that constitutes a substantial change, or a request for construction or placement of transmission equipment that does not constitute an eligible facilities request, within the city shall submit the necessary copies and attachments of the application to the city and comply with such applicable local ordinances, rules, or regulations concerning land use and zoning and the appropriate local permitting processes.
(3) All records, including but not limited to documents and electronic data, in the possession or custody of city personnel are subject to Iowa Code Chapter 22. Disclosure of such records shall be consistent with applicable state law.
(4) The city, within 90 calendar days of receiving an application pursuant to division (G)(2) above, unless another date is specified in a written agreement between the city and the applicant, shall comply with the following provisions:
(a) Review the application for conformity with applicable local zoning ordinances, rules, or regulations, building permit requirements, and consistency with this division (G). An application is deemed to be complete unless the city notifies the applicant in writing, within 30 calendar days of submission of the application, specifying the deficiencies in the application which, if cured, would make the application complete. The city’s timeframe for review is tolled beginning the date the notice is sent. The city’s 90-day timeframe for review of the application begins running again when the applicant cures the specified deficiencies. Following the applicant’s supplemental submission, the city has ten days to notify the applicant that the supplemental submission did not provide the information identified in the original notice that specified deficiencies. The city’s 90-day timeframe to review the application is tolled in the case of second or subsequent notices in conformance with this division (G)(4). The city shall not include deficiencies in a second or subsequent notice that were not delineated in the original notice. The city’s 90-day timeframe for review does not toll if the city requests information regarding any of the considerations the city may not consider as described in division (E)(8) (Limitation on Application Information) above.
(b) Make its final decision to approve or disapprove the application.
(c) Advise the applicant in writing of its final decision.
(5) If the city fails to act on an application for an initial placement or installation of transmission equipment on wireless support structures, for a modification of an existing tower or existing base station that constitutes a substantial change, or for a request for construction or placement of transmission equipment that does not constitute an eligible facilities request within the review period specified under division (G)(4) above, the application shall be deemed approved.
(6) A party aggrieved by the final action of the city, either by its affirmative disapproval of an application under the provisions of this division (G) or by its inaction, may bring an action for review in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(H) General tower and WCF standards. The following criteria shall be applied in approving, approving with conditions or denying a WCF. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter, or applicable law, WCF construction shall be consistent with the development standards of the zoning district in which it is located.
(1) Height. Towers shall not exceed the maximum height allowed for such towers by the zoning district in which it is located, and in no case a height greater than 150 feet, except in an industrial zoning district upon approval of a conditional use permit by the Board of Adjustment or as otherwise provided herein. Towers exceeding a height of 80 feet shall be able to accommodate collocation of one additional provider at roughly equal or better capacity and position as the applicant’s antennas. Additional height to accommodate additional collocation may be approved if the applicant submits information certifying the tower has capacity for at least two additional providers, at least one of which shall provide roughly equal or better capacity and position as the applicant’s antennas for a like user. The applicant shall provide a letter indicating their good faith intent to encourage collocation on the tower. A lightning rod, not to exceed ten feet in height, shall not be included within the height limitations.
(a) Towers and accessory buildings shall meet the setbacks of the zoning district in which they are located or those required by § 160.25, unless greater setbacks are required by the Board of Adjustment. All towers, except those designed as an architecturally compatible element in terms of material, design, and height to the existing or proposed use of the property, shall be set back 200 feet from any property which is zoned for residential development, including Planned Unit Developments, or designated for such use by the Comprehensive Plan. Provided, however, that the distance may be reduced or waived by the Board of Adjustment if the residentially zoned land is used for a nonresidential use or for residential buildings having four or more stories.
(b) Notwithstanding the setbacks provided for in this division (H)(2), when a residence is located on an adjacent parcel, the minimum side setback from the lot line for a new tower must be equal to the height of the proposed tower, unless:
1. The setback is waived by the owner of the residence and approved by the Board of Adjustment; or
2. The tower is constructed with breakpoint design technology. If the tower has been constructed using breakpoint design technology, the minimum setback distance may, at the city’s discretion, be equal to 110% of the distance from the top of the structure to the breakpoint level of the structure, or the applicable zone’s minimum side setback requirements, whichever is greater. (For example, on a 100-foot tall monopole with a breakpoint at 80 feet, the minimum setback distance would be 22 feet (110% of 20 feet, the distance from the top of the monopole to the breakpoint) or the minimum side yard setback requirements for that zone, whichever is greater.)
(3) Separation requirements. Towers, except small cells and those designed as an architecturally compatible element of the existing or proposed use of the property in terms of material, design, and height, shall comply with the following separation requirements, with the separation between towers of differing heights to conform to the requirement for the taller tower:
Conform to District Maximum
More than District, Less than 60 ft.
60 ft. to 99 ft.
100 ft. or more
(4) Landscaping. A landscaping plan shall be provided, and all plant materials shall conform to § 160.28. If located in any residential zoning district or area designated for residential use by the Comprehensive Plan or a Planned Unit Development, a continuous landscaped area with a width of not less than 25 feet shall be provided around the perimeter of the tower and any accessory buildings or security fencing or walls and planted with a row of coniferous overstory trees at not more than 13-foot spacing between individual trees with a minimum eight-foot height at the time of planting, together with other plant materials as may be required to effectively screen the installation. Where the visual impact of the tower and any accessory structures would be minimal because of existing vegetation or structures, the landscaping requirement may be reduced or waived by the Board of Adjustment or City Council.
(5) Fencing or screening. The base of the tower shall be screened from view with a solid screening fence a minimum of six feet in height, unless waived by the City Council. The City Council shall have the ability to waive the required screening where the design of the accessory building is architecturally compatible with the primary use of the property; the installation is adequately screened by landscaping; or the building and tower base are not visible from other properties or public streets.
(6) Visual impact. All WCFs in residential zones and within 200 feet of residential zones, including equipment enclosures, shall be sited and designed to minimize adverse visual impacts on surrounding properties and the traveling public to the greatest extent reasonably possible, consistent with the proper functioning of the WCF. Such WCFs and equipment enclosures shall be integrated through location and design to blend in with the existing characteristics of the site. Such WCFs shall also be designed to either resemble the surrounding landscape and other natural features where located in proximity to natural surroundings, or be compatible with the urban, built environment, through matching and complimentary existing structures and specific design considerations such as architectural designs, height, scale, color and texture or be consistent with other uses and improvements permitted in the relevant zone.
(7) Use of stealth design/technology. The applicant shall make an affirmative showing as to why they are not employing stealth technology. More specifically: Stealth design is required in residential zones, and concealment techniques must be appropriate given the proposed location, design, visual environment, and nearby uses, structures, and natural features. Stealth design shall be designed and constructed to substantially conform to surrounding building designs or natural settings, so as to be visually unobtrusive. Stealth design that relies on screening wireless communication facilities in order to reduce visual impact must screen all substantial portions of the facility from view. Stealth and concealment techniques do not include incorporating faux-tree designs of a kind that are not native to the state.
(8) Lighting. No lights shall be mounted on a tower or antenna, and the tower and antennas shall not be illuminated, unless required by the Commission or the Federal Aviation Administration or expressly permitted by the Board of Adjustment, as may be the case for a multiple-use installation such as a tower that is also used as a light standard for an athletic complex. Security lighting may be provided around the base of a tower if zero cut-off luminaries with a maximum mounting height of 12 feet are used to limit such lighting to the tower site.
(9) Color. All towers shall maintain a galvanized finish or light gray color, unless otherwise required by the Federal Aviation Administration, Commission, Board of Adjustment or City Council, and shall not be painted in a manner which conveys a company identity. All antennas shall be of a color that matches the tower, poles or building unless otherwise required by the Federal Aviation Administration, Commission, Board of Adjustment or City Council, and shall not be painted in a manner which conveys a company identity.
(10) Signage. No signage shall be permitted except for directional or warning signs, as regulated by the Sign Code. No facilities may bear any signage or advertisement(s) other than signage required by law or expressly permitted/required by the city.
(11) Code compliance. All facilities shall at all times comply with all applicable federal, state and local building codes, electrical codes, fire codes and any other code related to public health and safety.
(12) Building-mounted WCFs.
(a) In residential zones, all transmission equipment shall be concealed within existing architectural features to the maximum extent feasible. Any new architectural features proposed to conceal the transmission equipment shall be designed to mimic the existing underlying structure, shall be proportional to the existing underlying structure or conform to the underlying use and shall use materials in similar quality, finish, color and texture as the existing underlying structure.
(b) In residential zones, all roof-mounted transmission equipment shall be set back from all roof edges to the maximum extent feasible consistent with the need for “line-of-sight” transmission and reception of signals.
(c) In all other zones, antenna arrays and supporting transmission equipment shall be installed so as to camouflage, disguise or conceal them to make them closely compatible with and blend into the setting and/or host structure.
(13) WCFs in the public rights-of-way.
(a) Preferred locations. Facilities shall be located as far from residential uses as feasible, and on main corridors and arterials to the extent feasible.
(b) Tower-mounted equipment. All tower-mounted transmission equipment shall be mounted as close as possible to the tower so as to reduce the overall visual profile to the maximum extent feasible. All tower-mounted transmission equipment shall be painted with flat, non-reflective colors that blend with the visual environment.
(c) For all WCFs to be located within the right-of-way, prior to submitting for a building permit, the applicant must have a valid municipal permit, municipal franchise, or exemption otherwise granted by applicable law.
(14) Accessory uses.
(a) Accessory uses shall be limited to such structures and equipment that are necessary for transmission functions, and shall not include broadcast studios, offices, vehicles or equipment storage, or other uses not essential to the transmission function.
(b) All accessory buildings shall be constructed of building materials equal to or better than those of the primary building on the site and shall be subject to site plan approval. Where there is no primary use other than the tower, the building materials for the accessory building shall be subject to the review and approval of the City Council.
(c) No equipment shall be stored or parked on the site of the tower, unless used in direct support of the antennas or the tower or antennas are being repaired.
(15) Accessory equipment. In residential zones, all accessory equipment located at the base of a WCF shall be located or placed (at the applicant’s choice) in an existing building, underground, or in an equipment shelter that is:
(a) Designed to blend in with existing surroundings, using architecturally compatible construction and colors; and
(b) Located so as to be unobtrusive as possible consistent with the proper functioning of the WCF.
(16) Parking areas. All parking areas and drives shall comply with § 160.29.
(17) Site design flexibility. Individual WCF sites vary in the location of adjacent buildings, existing trees, topography and other local variables. By mandating certain design standards, there may result a project that could have been less intrusive if the location of the various elements of the project could have been placed in more appropriate locations within a given site. Therefore, the WCF and supporting equipment may be installed so as to best camouflage, disguise them, or conceal them, to make the WCF more closely compatible with and blend into the setting and/or host structure, upon approval by the city. A formal exception from standards under division (J) below is not required for proposals meeting this division (H)(17) by being a less intrusive design option.
(18) Structural assessment. The owner of a proposed tower shall have a structural assessment of the tower conducted by a professional engineer, licensed in the State of Iowa, which shall be submitted with the application for building permit.
(19) Exceptions. The Board of Adjustment may grant a variance from the height, setback and separation standards set forth in the zoning district or in this division (H), if the applicant submits a technical study acceptable to the city which confirms that the variance is essential to the provision of service and that no alternative is available which conforms to the requirements.
(20) Utility poles. The city shall not mandate, require, or regulate the installation, location, or use of transmission equipment on a utility pole, unless allowed by applicable law.
(21) Distributed antenna systems or small cells. Although the city cannot dictate the type of transmission equipment or technology to be used by an applicant or discriminate between different types of infrastructure or technology, the city encourages applicants to consider distributed antenna systems (“DAS”) or small cells because they mitigate visual impacts.
(I) Public notice . Applicants for all conditional use permits must provide notification to the city, upon submitting an application with the following: Names and mailing addresses of all surrounding property owners (for towers, provide names and addresses within 300 feet of the property but not more than 1,300 feet from the tower site). An abstractor must certify accuracy of the ownership list within 30 days of the application date. After city staff receives a complete application, the item will be placed on the agenda for the next available Board of Adjustment meeting. Notice shall be given no less than seven days and no more than 20 days prior to the meeting. Notice will be published in the local newspaper in accordance with Iowa Code §§ 362.3 and 414.4. Affected surrounding property owners will be mailed a copy of the notice by the city. Prior to the meeting, the meeting agenda will also be posted.
(J) Exception from standards.
(1) Applicability. Except as otherwise provided, no WCF shall be used or developed contrary to any applicable development standard unless an exception has been granted pursuant to this section.
(2) Submittal requirements. In addition to the general submittal requirements for an application, an application for a wireless communication facility exception shall include:
(a) A written statement demonstrating how the exception would meet the criteria.
(b) A site plan that includes:
1. Description of the proposed facility's design and dimensions, as it would appear with and without the exception.
2. Elevations showing all components of the wireless communication facility as it would appear with and without the exception.
3. Color simulations of the wireless communication facility after construction demonstrating compatibility with the vicinity, as it would appear with and without the exception.
(3) Criteria. An application for a wireless communication facility exception shall be granted if the following criteria are met:
(a) The exception is consistent with the purpose of the development standard for which the exception is sought.
(b) Based on a visual analysis, the design minimizes the visual impacts through mitigating measures, including, but not limited to, building heights, bulk, color, and landscaping.
(K) Final inspection.
(1) A certificate of occupancy will only be granted upon satisfactory evidence that the WCF was installed in substantial compliance with the approved plans and photo simulations.
(2) Failure to comply. If it is found that the WCF installation does not substantially comply with the approved plans and photo simulations, the applicant shall make any and all such changes required to bring the WCF installation into compliance promptly and in any event prior to putting the WCF in operation.
(1) All wireless communication facilities must comply with all standards and regulations of the FCC and any other state or federal government agency with the authority to regulate wireless communication facilities.
(2) The site and the wireless communication facilities, including all landscaping, fencing and related transmission equipment must be maintained at all times in a neat and clean manner and in accordance with all approved plans.
(3) All graffiti on wireless communication facilities must be removed at the sole expense of the permittee after notification by the city to the owner/operator of the WCF.
(4) If any FCC, state or other governmental license or any other governmental approval to provide communication services is ever revoked as to any site permitted or authorized by the city, the permittee must inform the city of the revocation within 30 days of receiving notice of such revocation.
(M) Discontinuation of use.
(1) Any tower or transmission equipment that is no longer needed and its use is discontinued shall be reported immediately by the service provider to the city.
(2) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that any tower or transmission equipment that is regulated by this section and that is not operated for a continuous period of 12 months shall be considered abandoned. This presumption may be rebutted by a showing that such transmission equipment is an auxiliary back-up or emergency utility or device not subject to regular use or that the transmission equipment is otherwise not abandoned. For those towers and transmission equipment deemed abandoned, all related equipment shall be removed within 90 days of the cessation of operation. Irrespective of any agreement among them to the contrary, the owner or operator of such unused facility and the owner of a building or land upon which the tower or transmission equipment is located, shall be jointly and severally responsible for the removal of abandoned WCFs. If the tower or transmission equipment is not thereafter removed within 90 days of written notice from the city, the city may remove the WCF at the owner of the property’s expense or at the owner of the WCF’s expense, including all costs and attorneys’ fees. If there are two or more wireless communications providers collocated on a single support structure, this provision shall not become effective until all providers cease using the WCF.
(N) Independent technical review.
(1) Although the city intends for city staff to review administrative matters to the extent feasible, the city may retain the services of a third-party entity of its choice to provide technical evaluation of permit applications for WCFs, including administrative and conditional use permits. The third party review may include, but is not limited to:
(a) The accuracy and completeness of the items submitted with the application;
(b) The applicability of analysis and techniques and methodologies proposed by the applicant;
(c) The validity of conclusions reached by the applicant; and
(d) Whether the proposed WCF complies with the applicable approval criteria set forth in this section.
(2) Fees imposed by the city or by a third-party entity providing review or technical consultation to the city shall be based on actual, direct, and reasonable administrative costs incurred for the review, processing, and approval of an application. In no case shall total charges and fees exceed those provided pursuant to Iowa law.
(O) Exempt facilities. The following are exempt from this section:
(1) FCC licensed amateur (ham) radio facilities;
(2) Satellite earth stations, dishes and/or antennas used for private television reception not exceeding one meter in diameter;
(3) A government-owned WCF installed upon the declaration of a state of emergency by the federal, state or local government, or a written determination of public necessity by the city; except that such facility must comply with all federal and state requirements. The WCF shall be exempt from the provisions of this section for up to one month after the duration of the state of emergency;
(4) A temporary, commercial WCF installed for providing coverage of a special event such as news coverage or sporting event, subject to administrative approval by the city. The WCF shall be exempt from the provisions of this section for up to one week before and after the duration of the special event; and
(5) Eligible facilities requests, except as provided for under division (Q) below.
(P) Indemnification. Each permit issued shall have as a condition of the permit a requirement that the applicant defend, indemnify and hold harmless the city and its officers, agents, employees, volunteers, and contractors from any and all liability, damages, or charges (including attorneys’ fees and expenses) arising out of claims, suits, demands, or causes of action as a result of the permit process, granted permit, construction, erection, location, performance, operation, maintenance, repair, installation, replacement, removal, or restoration of the WCF.
(Q) Eligible facilities request applications.
(1) Purpose. This division (Q) implements § 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act, as interpreted by the Commission in its report and order, which requires a state or local government to approve any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing tower or base station that does not result in a substantial change to the physical dimensions of such tower or base station. Eligible facilities requests shall be governed solely by the provisions in this division (Q) and federal law.
(2) Application review.
(a) Application. The city shall prepare and make publicly available an application form which shall be limited to the information necessary for the city to consider whether an application is an eligible facilities request. The city may not require an applicant to submit any other documentation intended to illustrate the need for any such wireless facilities or to justify the business decision to modify such wireless facilities.
(b) Review. Upon receipt of a complete application for an eligible facilities request pursuant to this division (Q), the city shall review such application, make its final decision to approve or disapprove the application, and advise the applicant in writing of its final decision.
(c) Timeframe for review. Within 60 days of the date on which an applicant submits a complete application seeking approval of an eligible facilities request under this division (Q), the city shall review and act upon the application, subject to the tolling provisions below.
(d) Tolling of the timeframe for review. The 60-day review period begins to run when the application is filed, and may be tolled only by mutual agreement between the city and the applicant, or in cases where the city determines that the application is incomplete. The timeframe for review is not tolled by a moratorium on the review of applications.
1. To toll the timeframe for incompleteness, the city must provide written notice to the applicant within 30 days of receipt of the application, specifically delineating all missing documents or information required in the application.
2. The timeframe for review begins running again when the applicant makes a supplemental submission in response to the city’s notice of incompleteness.
3. Following a supplemental submission, the city will notify the applicant within ten days that the supplemental submission did not provide the information identified in the original notice delineating missing information. The timeframe is tolled in the case of second or subsequent notices pursuant to the procedures identified in this division (Q). Second or subsequent notices of incompleteness may not specify missing documents or information that were not delineated in the original notice of incompleteness.
(e) Failure to act. In the event the city fails to approve or deny a complete application under this division (Q) within the timeframe for review (accounting for any tolling), the request shall be deemed granted provided the applicant notifies the city in writing after the review period has expired (accounting for any tolling) indicating the basis for its belief that the application must be deemed granted.
(Ord. 2016-09, passed 8-16-2016)