Chapter 20.13
WIRELESS COMMUNICATION FACILITIES

Sections:

20.13.010    Purpose.

20.13.020    Definitions.

20.13.030    Applicability/exemptions.

20.13.040    Nonconforming uses and structures.

20.13.050    Priority of location and prohibited locations.

20.13.060    Development standards.

20.13.070    Additional standards for residential single and residential multi districts.

20.13.080    Additional standards for commercial districts.

20.13.090    Additional standards for industrial districts.

20.13.100    Additional standards for institutional districts.

20.13.110    Additional provisions for public zones.

20.13.120    Temporary uses.

20.13.130    Wireless communication facility permit.

20.13.140    Special exceptions.

20.13.150    Application requirements and conditions of issuance.

20.13.160    General criteria for issuance of permits.

20.13.170    Federal requirements.

20.13.180    Removal of antennas and support structures.

20.13.190    Third party review.

20.13.010 Purpose.

In addition to accomplishing the general purposes of the land use development ordinance and the comprehensive plan, the purpose of this chapter is to set forth the regulations for the placement, development, permitting, and removal of personal wireless communications facilities including support structures and antennas. These standards were designed to comply with the Telecommunications Act of 1996. They are intended to protect property values and minimize visual impact while furthering the development of enhanced telecommunication services in the city.

The provisions of this chapter are not intended to and shall not be interpreted to prohibit or to have the effect of prohibiting personal wireless services. This chapter shall not be applied in such a manner as to unreasonably discriminate between providers of functionally equivalent personal wireless services.

In reviewing any application to provide personal wireless service or to install personal wireless service facilities, the city shall act within a reasonable period of time, taking into account the nature and scope of the application and the required notice and review process. Any decision to deny an application shall be in writing, supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meaning. Other words and terms shall have the meaning assigned to them by Chapter 20.08 BMC or if not defined in this chapter or Chapter 20.08 BMC, the meaning customarily assigned to them.

“Accessory equipment structure” shall mean an unstaffed structure used to house and protect the equipment necessary for processing wireless communications signals. Associated equipment may include air conditioning and emergency generators.

“Amateur or ham radio” shall mean radio facilities operated for noncommercial purposes by individuals licensed by the FCC with an interest in construction and operation of radio equipment, usually as a hobby or vocation.

“Antennas” shall mean any system of poles, panels, rods, reflecting discs or similar devices used for the transmission or reception of radio frequency signals. Types of antennas include, but are not limited to:

A. Directional antenna (also known as a panel antenna) which transmits signals in a directional pattern of less than 360 degrees.

B. Omni-directional antenna (also known as a whip antenna) which transmits signals in a 360 degree pattern.

C. Parabolic antenna (also known as a dish antenna) is a bowl shaped device that receives and transmits signals in a specific directional pattern (e.g., point-to-point).

“Attached antenna” is a wireless communication antenna that is affixed to an existing structure other than a wireless communication support structure. Examples of attached antennas include antennas affixed to or erected upon existing buildings, water tanks, or other existing structures.

“Citizens bank radio” shall mean two-way radio facilities operated for short-range personal and business communications, without necessity of a federal license, pursuant to 47 CFR Part 95.

“Clustering” shall mean the placement of more than one wireless communication support structure on a single site.

“Collocation” shall mean the use of a single wireless communications support structure, or the use of a site by more than one wireless communications provider.

“Direct-to-home satellite service” shall mean the distribution or broadcasting of programming or services by satellite directly to the subscriber’s premises without use of ground receiving or distribution equipment, except at the subscriber’s premises or in the uplink process to the satellite.

“FAA” shall mean the Federal Aviation Administration.

“FCC” shall mean the Federal Communications Commission.

“Satellite earth station” shall mean the facilities used for reception and processing of programming services from a satellite prior to transfer to terrestrial distribution systems or for processing of programming and services from a terrestrial source before transmission via satellite.

“Unlicensed wireless services” means commercial mobile services that operate on public frequencies and do not need an FCC license.

“Wireless communications facilities” shall mean the site, wireless communications support structures, antennas, accessory equipment structures, and appurtenances used to transmit, receive, distribute, provide or offer personal wireless communications services. Wireless communications facilities include, but are not limited to antennas, poles, towers, cables, wires, conduits, ducts, pedestals, vaults, buildings, electronic and switching equipment.

“Wireless communications service” or “personal wireless communication service” shall mean the sending and receiving of radio or microwave signals used for communication, including but not limited to cellular telephone, personal communications services (PCS), enhanced/specialized mobile radio (ESMR), commercial paging services, and any other technology which provides similar wireless services licensed by the FCC and unlicensed wireless services.

“Wireless communications support structure” (or “wireless tower”) shall mean a structure erected to support wireless communications antennas and connecting appurtenances. The primary purpose is to elevate an antenna above the surrounding terrain or structures and may be attached to an existing building or other permanent structures or constructed as a freestanding structure. Wireless communications support structures may include, but are not limited to:

A. “Lattice tower” shall mean a wireless communications support structure which consists of a network of vertical and horizontal supports and crossed metal braces, forming a tower which is usually triangular or square in cross-section.

B. “Monopole tower” shall mean a wireless communications support structure consisting of a single pole to support antennas and connecting appurtenances.

C. “Guyed tower” shall mean any variety of wireless communication support structure, including but not limited to lattice towers or monopoles, using wire guys connecting above grade portions of a communication support structure diagonally with the ground or structure on which the tower is placed to provide support for wireless communications towers, antennas, and connecting appurtenances. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.030 Applicability/exemptions.

The requirements of this chapter shall apply to all new personal wireless communications facilities within the city of Bellingham and the expansion and/or alteration of any existing personal wireless communications facilities. The following are exempt from the provisions of this chapter:

A. Satellite earth stations using antenna(s) not more than two meters in diameter in commercial and industrial districts and direct-to-home satellite services.

B. Send and receive citizen band radio antennas or antennas operated by federally licensed amateur (“ham”) radio operators.

C. Industrial, scientific and medical equipment using frequencies regulated by the FCC.

D. Military and government radar antennas and associated communication towers used for navigational purposes as regulated by the FCC by 47 CFR Parts 97 and 95, respectively.

E. Military and federal, state and local government communications facilities used for emergency preparedness and public safety purposes; and

F. Normal, routine and emergency maintenance and repair of existing wireless communications facilities and related equipment which do not increase the size, footprint or bulk of such facilities and which otherwise comply with the city, state, and federal law and regulations. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.040 Nonconforming uses and structures.

Wireless communications uses and structures in existence as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter which are nonconforming as to the use or development standards of this chapter shall be subject to the nonconforming provision of Chapter 20.14 BMC. Routine maintenance shall be permitted on existing towers and antennas. However, new construction other than routine maintenance on existing towers, antennas, buildings or other facilities shall comply with the requirements of this chapter. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.050 Priority of location and prohibited locations.

In reviewing applications for new personal wireless communication facilities, preference shall be given to locations in the following order:

A. Attachment on existing structures shall be preferred to the construction of new support structures. In all cases, sites that are in areas identified in the neighborhood plan as having a special condition of “view,” “historic” or “design review” will have a lower priority than other sites in the same zone. Attachment to nonresidential structures will have a higher priority than attachment to residential structures. In all cases, antennas should not have a negative impact on views from public recreational areas such as parks or trails. Locations for attached antennas are prioritized as follows:

1. Existing Towers. Collocation on an existing tower where a legal wireless communication facility is currently located.

2. Industrial Zones. Public zones on structures used for utility functions. On structures in industrial zones if the facility will not have a negative impact on water views. Public zones (particularly utility or governmental services zones) or sites containing similar government services if the facility will not have a negative impact on water views or views from recreational areas and the use does not adversely affect other public uses on the site.

3. Commercial Zones, Institutional Zones and Other Public Zones. Neighborhood and waterfront commercial zones are a lower priority than other commercial zones.

4. Residential multi multiple, mixed zones allowing offices or commercial uses.

5. Residential Zones. Nonresidential structures will have priority over residential structures.

B. A new support structure should only be considered when the applicant demonstrates that it is necessary to provide acceptable service and there are no suitable and available locations on existing structures. Support structures are prohibited within (1) the Shoreline Management Act jurisdictional area, (2) sites in any general use type, other than Industrial, designated with a “historic” special condition in the neighborhood plan, (3) sites in any general use type, other than sites owned by the city of Bellingham, designated with a “view” special condition in the neighborhood plan and (4) sites in the Fairhaven design review district as identified in Figure 20.25.020(A). Sites that contain residential structures will have a lower priority than other sites in the same zone. In all cases, towers should not be visible from public recreational areas such as parks and trails. Locations for support structures are prioritized as follows:

1. Heavy industrial zones located east of Interstate 5.

2. Clustering on existing tower sites when additional impacts will be negligible.

3. Industrial Zones. In Industrial zones if the WCF will not have a negative impact on waterfront views and the area is not developed primarily for commercial uses. Generally these areas will be located east of Interstate 5.

4. Planned Commercial and Institutional Zones. Public zones on sites already used for utility structures when the tower will not be visible from public recreational facilities.

5. Other commercial zones.

6. Residential and other public zones. Sites that are not used for residential purposes are preferred. [Ord. 2012-08-041 § 5; Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.060 Development standards.

The following minimum development standards shall apply to all wireless communications facilities in addition to any development standards or project review process which applies in the underlying district in which a wireless communication facility is located. In the event of a conflict between the standards of this section and the general development standards of the land use development ordinance or project review process or of the wireless development standards of this chapter for a particular land use designation, the more stringent standards shall govern.

A. Anti-Climbing Devices. All wireless communications support structures and required fencing shall be equipped with appropriate anti-climbing devices.

B. Attachment to Trees Prohibited. It is prohibited to attach any wireless communication facility or portion thereof to any tree.

C. Signage. All wireless communications support structures shall be identified with a nonilluminated sign not exceeding four square feet. The sign shall list the wireless service provider’s name and emergency telephone number and shall be posted in a place visible to the general public. No advertising signs shall be located on support structures or antennas; however, antennas may be camouflaged as otherwise permitted signs.

D. Historical Registry/District. Wireless communications facilities locating on any site or existing building that is registered as a local landmark through Chapter 17.90 BMC or is located in the Fairhaven design review district, or any other design review district regulated by the city of Bellingham, shall be subject to the applicable design standards and shall obtain necessary approvals prior to the issuance of building permits.

E. Lighting. Wireless communications facilities shall not be illuminated except where required by the FAA.

F. Painting. Wireless communications facilities shall be painted or finished in a manner which blends with the dominant color of the background except where otherwise required by the FAA. The applicant and the operator of the facility shall have a continuing duty to maintain such paint or finish.

G. Noise from Accessory Equipment. Facilities shall comply with state noise level standards under Chapter 173-60 WAC, as amended. Generators may only be permitted for emergency operation purposes. If air conditioning or other noise generating equipment is proposed, the applicant shall provide information detailing the expected noise level and any proposed abatement measures. The city may require noise attenuation devices or other mitigation measures to minimize impacts.

H. General Design Standards.

1. Attached antennas (excluding collocated antennas on existing WCF structures) shall be designed or placed to blend with the predominant background or architectural features as seen from abutting residential uses, roadways or other public rights-of-way.

2. When located on buildings, panel antennas shall be placed closely against walls or parapets and not extend above the wall or parapet unless an alternative design is required to (a) achieve better compatibility with the building design or (b) to obtain antenna function.

3. Accessory equipment structures shall be placed underground or wholly enclosed in an existing structure or building, or designed to blend into the architecture and landscaping of the surrounding buildings or structures. When equipment boxes are placed at ground level, landscaping shall be used to screen them.

4. Ground-mounted dishes shall be located outside of any required landscaped area and preferably located in service areas or other less visible locations. They shall be solidly screened to at least as high as the center of the dish when viewed from off the site. Solid screening shall be provided as high as the top of the dish on sides adjacent residential zones.

Roof-mounted dishes shall be solidly screened at least as high as the center of the dish. The screening shall be of a material and design compatible with the building, and can include penthouse screening, parapet walls, or other similar screening. They should be placed as close to the center of the roof as possible.

5. Antennas on utility poles shall be limited to whip antennas no more than two feet in length and no more than one per pole. No utility pole shall be extended in height in order to accommodate an antenna. No antennas shall be allowed on light standards.

I. Setbacks Applicable. The following setback standards shall apply to wireless communications facilities:

1. Accessory equipment structures shall comply with the setback requirements for main buildings in the underlying district. Support structures attached to buildings or permanent structures shall comply with the setback requirements for main buildings in the underlying district that are determined by the director to be those applicable to a building of a height equal to that of the combined building/structure and antenna.

2. Freestanding wireless communications support structures located in a residential district shall be set back from any property line by a distance equal to the height of the wireless communications support structure or the setback of the underlying use district, whichever is greater.

3. Freestanding wireless communications support structures located in any other type of district shall be set back from any WCF site property line abutting or adjacent to a residential use district by a distance equal to the height of the wireless communications support structure or the setback of the underlying use district, whichever is greater.

4. Setbacks for freestanding wireless communications support structures shall be measured form the ground-level base of the structure.

5. The setback in any district may be reduced at the sole and absolute discretion of the city subject to satisfaction of the special exception criteria in BMC 20.13.140.

J. Landscaping Standards. Wireless communications facilities shall be subject to the following landscaping and screening standards:

1. The perimeter of the wireless communication support structure and any guyed wires and anchors shall be enclosed by a fence or wall at least six feet in height. A row of evergreen shrubs, spaced not more than five feet apart and capable of growing to form a continuous hedge at least five feet high within five years of planting, and at least one row of evergreen trees or shrubs spaced not more than 10 feet apart nor less than six feet high when planted. These materials shall be installed on the outside of fences.

2. Landscape material should be selected and sited to produce a hardy and drought-resistant landscape area.

3. Maintenance of the landscaped area shall be the responsibility of the applicant and/or operator of the facility. Required landscaping must be maintained in a healthy manner. Trees and shrubs that die must be replaced with healthy in-kind materials. Temporary irrigation shall be provided to help ensure survival during the plant establishment period.

4. The city may allow the use of any combination of existing vegetation, topography, walls, decorative fences or other features instead of landscaping, if they achieve the same degree of screening as the required landscaping. The city may waive the standards for those sides of the facility that will not be visible from public streets or adjoining properties.

5. Existing vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent practicable.

6. When landscaping installation is required, a maintenance bond, assignment of funds or other financial guarantee acceptable to the city shall be provided in the amount of 50 percent of the value of the labor and materials. The guarantee shall be in effect for two years from the date of planting.

K. General Height Standards. The following standards shall apply to wireless communications facilities:

1. The height of a wireless communications facility shall include the support structure and any attached antennas proposed at the time of application.

2. The applicant shall demonstrate that the tower and antenna is the minimum height required to function satisfactorily. No tower or antenna that is taller than this minimum height shall be approved.

3. A lightning rod, not to exceed 10 feet in height or FAA required lighting shall not be included within the height limitations.

4. The height limitation exemptions of BMC 20.10.070(B) shall not apply to wireless communications support structures and antennas.

5. The height of attached antennas may exceed the height limit of the underlying zone, provided the height limits of this chapter shall apply.

L. Parking. Each wireless communications support structure shall be provided with at least one adjacent parking space or more if needed to accommodate staff. All unstaffed facilities for antennas shall have access to parking for maintenance personnel; however, such parking may be shared or public parking at the discretion of the city. Staffed facilities shall require one parking space per staff under the standard provisions of the zone in which it is located.

M. Performance Bond. The operator of the facility shall obtain and keep in force throughout the time the facility is located on the site a performance bond payable to the city of Bellingham in the amount of 150 percent of the estimated cost of removal as determined by the director, but not less than $1,000. The bond is intended to cover the costs of removal of such facility at such time as the facility may be required to be removed pursuant to BMC 20.13.180.

N. Building and Utility Permits. The applicant for a permit pursuant to this chapter shall apply for building and any other applicable permits and obtain these permits prior to installation. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.070 Additional standards for residential single and residential multi districts.

A. Support Structures.

1. Lattice towers are prohibited. Monopole support structures are prohibited on sites containing residential uses.

2. Monopole wireless communication support structures shall not be located on sites that contain residential uses. The height limits of the zone may be exceeded by 15 feet, provided the applicant demonstrates the structure height is the minimum necessary to adequately function. An additional 15 feet may be allowed when collocation is specifically provided for on the tower.

3. Support structures shall require a conditional use permit.

B. Attached Antennas.

1. Antennas are prohibited on single-family dwellings, duplexes and their accessory structures. Dish antennas shall not be mounted on roofs without a special exception under the provisions of BMC 20.13.140.

2. The following antennas may be permitted through WCF permit:

a. Collocation on an existing wireless communication support structure, provided no more than 16 feet is added to the height of the facility.

b. Attachment to a nonresidential structure on a site not used exclusively for residential purposes, provided the antenna does not extend more than 16 feet above the roof.

c. Ground-mounted dish antennas may be located on sites not used exclusively for residential purposes, provided the antenna is not more than 15 feet in height above ground level nor more than 12 feet in diameter.

3. Antennas on a site used exclusively for residential purposes or attached to residential structures require conditional use permit approval. The height limits in subsection (B)(2) of this section shall apply.

4. Special Provisions for Planned Residential Zones. Sites without a development contract, or sites with a development contract that allows public utilities and was in effect as of the date of this code amendment, are allowed to install any facility allowed in a residential zone through a WCF permit. Any WCF facility allowed through a conditional use permit in nonplanned residential zones may be allowed through a planned development contract. [Ord. 2004-09-065; Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.080 Additional standards for commercial districts.

A. Support Structures.

1. Support structures shall require a conditional use permit. The height limit of the zone may be exceeded, provided the maximum height shall be 100 feet, with a bonus of an additional 20 feet of height if the structure provides for collocation.

B. Attached Antennas.

1. Antennas shall not be attached to single-family residences, duplexes or their accessory structures.

2. Except in commercial areas in the downtown district, antennas on sites used exclusively for residential purposes and antennas attached to residential structures shall require a conditional use permit.

3. Other attached antennas, ground-mounted dishes and collocated antennas shall require a WCF permit.

4. Antennas attached to structures shall not extend more than 16 feet above the roof or parapet. Collocated antennas shall not extend more than 16 feet above the support structure.

C. Special Provisions for Planned Commercial Zones. Sites without a development contract, or sites with a development contract that allows public utilities and was in effect as of the date of this code amendment, are allowed to install any facility allowed in a commercial zone through a WCF permit. Any WCF facility allowed through a conditional use permit in nonplanned commercial zones may be allowed through a planned development contract. [Ord. 2014-09-049 § 33; Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.090 Additional standards for industrial districts.

A. Support Structures. Support structures shall require a conditional use permit and shall not exceed a height of 100 feet. A bonus of 20 feet in height may be granted if the facility provides for collocation.

B. Attached Antennas.

1. Antennas shall not be attached to single-family residences and duplexes or their accessory structures.

2. Attached antennas shall not extend more than 16 feet above the roof or parapet.

3. Collocated antennas shall not extend more than 16 feet above the existing structure.

4. Attached antennas, ground-mounted dishes and collocated antennas shall require a WCF permit.

C. Special Provisions for Planned Industrial Zones. Sites without a development contract, or sites with a development contract that allows public utilities and was in effect as of the date of this code amendment, are allowed to install any facility allowed in an industrial zone through a WCF permit. Any WCF facility allowed through a conditional use permit in nonplanned industrial zones may be allowed through a planned development contract. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.100 Additional standards for institutional districts.

A. Any WCF facility allowed through a WCF approval in a residential zone may be allowed in an institutional zone through a WCF permit if the facility does not conflict with the provisions of the master plan, site plan approval and other agreements.

B. Any other WCF may be permitted if it is allowed under the institutional master plan and site plan approval or other applicable agreement. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.110 Additional provisions for public zones.

A. In public-utilities zones any WCF facility allowed through a WCF approval in a commercial zone may be permitted through a WCF permit and shall be subject to the same performance criteria. In other public zones, any WCF facility allowed through a WCF approval in a residential zone may be allowed through a WCF permit and shall be subject to the same performance criteria.

B. Any other WCF facility may be considered through a conditional use permit.

C. Support structures shall not exceed 100 feet in height. A bonus of 20 feet may be granted if the facility provides for collocation. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.120 Temporary uses.

Wireless communication facilities may be permitted as a temporary use with review by the director of planning and community development or his or her designate in order to facilitate continuity in wireless communications service during repair or maintenance of existing wireless communications facilities or prior to completion of construction of new wireless communications facilities. Such temporary wireless communications facilities shall operate for not more than 60 days within a six-month period commencing when transmission from such facility begins. The wireless communications facilities shall be removed within 30 days after the facility is no longer needed for telecommunications purposes. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.130 Wireless communication facility permit.

A wireless communication facility application shall follow the procedures in Chapter 21.10 BMC. If a conditional use permit is required, the application shall follow the procedures in Chapter 21.10 BMC for a conditional use. If a planned development approval is required, the application shall follow the procedures in Chapter 21.10 BMC for planned development. [Ord. 2004-09-065; Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.140 Special exceptions.

When adherence to all development standards of this section would result in a physical barrier which would block signal reception or transmission or prevent effective communication in all permissible locations, a special exception may be permitted, provided criteria outlined below are met. Exceptions do not apply to variations from the International Building Code. A variance pursuant to Chapter 20.18 or 20.38 BMC is required for variations from applicable zoning regulations not described in this section.

The approval authority for granting of the special exception shall be the same as that of the permit approving the antenna location. A request for a special exception shall be processed in conjunction with the permit approving the antenna location.

Upon review of special exception requests, the approval authority shall consider first those standards having the least effect upon the resulting aesthetic compatibility of the antenna or tower with the surrounding environment. The approval authority shall review setback, size, screening requirements, and height limits.

A. Special Exception Criteria.

1. The applicant shall justify the request for a special exception by demonstrating that the obstruction or inability to receive a communication signal is the result of factors beyond the property owner’s or applicant’s control. Pictures, scaled drawings, maps and/or manufacturer’s specifications, and other technical information as necessary, should be provided to demonstrate to the city that the special exception is necessary.

2. The applicant for a special exception shall demonstrate that the proposed materials, shape, and color of the antenna will minimize negative visual impacts on adjacent or nearby residential uses to the greatest extent possible. The use of certain materials, shapes and colors may be required in order to minimize visual impacts.

3. Attached antennas requesting a special exception for height shall be reviewed through the same process as a support structure in the zone in which the antenna is located.

4. Requests for special exceptions for setback reductions shall also be judged based on the following criteria:

a. The extent to which screening and camouflaging will be employed to mitigate the effects of the structure versus the value of the setback in providing such screening.

b. The need for the setback reduction to facilitate a location or design that better satisfies the criteria of this chapter.

c. The impact on adjacent properties.

d. Location in a street right-of-way. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.150 Application requirements and conditions of issuance.

Applicants shall submit the following information in addition to standard application materials:

A. A scaled site plan clearly indicating the location of the proposed facility, all other structures and uses on the site, adjacent roadways, proposed means of access, parking, existing and proposed landscaping and setbacks from property lines.

Elevation drawings of the proposed tower, the equipment structure, existing structure with proposed antenna, fencing, buffering/screening, type of architectural treatment, and any other feature necessary to show compliance with the applicable standards.

B. Photo-simulations of the proposed facility from adjacent residential properties, public properties and public rights-of-way.

C. Legal description and ownership of the parcel.

D. A valid agreement for collocation on an existing WCF support structure or on an existing building or structure; or a location evaluation study as described in subsection (E) of this section.

E. For new freestanding support structures, a location evaluation study shall be provided as follows:

1. A study shall be provided showing that the structure is required for present and future network coverage, that the height requested is the minimum necessary to provide for the function and potential collocated antennas and why the antennas could not be collocated on an existing structure. In residential zones, the applicant shall provide adequate proof that the facility could not be located in a nonresidential zone.

F. The applicant shall submit a letter of credit, performance bond or other security acceptable to the city, as described in BMC 20.13.060(M), to cover the future costs of removal of the antenna and/or tower.

G. A report from a licensed professional engineer documenting:

1. That the support structure is designed for collocation of other antennas (if applicable).

2. A projection of the wireless communication facilities which the applicant and/or prospective operator of the facility reasonably anticipates will be sited by his company within the Bellingham urban growth boundary during the next five years.

H. Proof of license by the FCC, if applicable.

I. A copy of the findings from the FAA’s Aeronautical Study Determination regarding the proposed wireless communication support structure.

J. A declaration under penalty of perjury or sworn statement by the applicant:

1. That the antenna usage will not interfere with other adjacent or neighboring transmission or reception communications signals.

2. That any tower will comply with all applicable federal and state laws, including specifically FCC and FAA regulations and the Bellingham Municipal Code.

K. If a leased site, a lease agreement which specifies or shows that it does not preclude the site owner from entering into leases on the site with other providers. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.160 General criteria for issuance of permits.

A. Any applicant for a land use permit (other than a building permit) proposing to install an antenna support structure or mount an antenna on an existing structure shall demonstrate by engineering evidence that:

1. The antenna must be located at the site to satisfy its function in the applicant’s local grid system. The city may require the applicant to provide feasibility studies which demonstrate that locations on existing structures and/or in higher priority locations have been explored and are not feasible or available.

2. The height requested is the minimum height necessary to fulfill the site’s function within the grid system.

B. In addition to standard criteria, the authority granting the permit shall find that:

1. The facility is to be collocated with an existing wireless communications facility; or

2. The facility is to be located on an existing building or structure; or

3. That all reasonable measures to collocate the facility or to locate the facility to an existing building or structure have been considered by the applicant and are not feasible.

C. When antennas are proposed to be located in areas with a “view” special condition in the neighborhood plan the city must find that installation design will minimize impacts on views from adjacent residential properties, public properties and public rights-of-way.

D. When antennas are proposed to be located within the Fairhaven design review district, as identified in Figure 20.25.020(A), they shall generally be considered to be “construction of a structure” or “exterior alteration of a building” and shall be subject to approval of a design review permit in the historic district and historic influence area of the district unless the director determines the installation is not externally visible or is sufficiently incorporated in an authorized feature in such a way as to exempt it from the design review process.

E. The permit may include requirements which:

1. Minimize visual impacts to the greatest extent possible by maximum feasible use of camouflage or screening, including but not limited to fencing, landscaping, strategic placement adjacent to existing buildings or live or simulated vegetation, undergrounding of accessory equipment structures, incorporation of wireless communications support structures, antennas and other appurtenances into the architectural features of existing buildings or structures and by requiring compatibility with key design elements in the surrounding area; for example: use of brick or other material similar to that used in adjacent buildings or structures; incorporation of support structures into compatible architectural features such as flag poles, bell towers or cornices; or use of simulated vegetation to camouflage support structures.

2. Locate wireless communication facilities so as to minimize the visibility of the facility to residentially zoned land and so as to minimize the obstruction of scenic views from residentially zoned land.

3. Require the mounting of the facility on existing buildings or structures, or use of other alternatives with less visual, aesthetic or safety impacts, as an alternative to use of a monopole or lattice tower. [Ord. 2012-08-041 § 6; Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.170 Federal requirements.

All wireless communications support structures 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 wireless communications support structures and antennas. If such standards and regulations are changed, owners of the wireless communication support structure, antennas and electronic equipment governed by this chapter shall bring such wireless communication support structure, antennas and electronic equipment into compliance with such revised standards and regulations within the compliance schedule of the federal agency. Failure to bring wireless communication support structures and antennas into compliance with such revised standards and regulations shall constitute grounds for the removal of the wireless communication support structure, antenna or electronic equipment at the owner’s expense. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.180 Removal of antennas and support structures.

No less than 30 days prior to the date that a personal wireless service provider plans to abandon or discontinue operation of a facility, the provider must notify the city of Bellingham planning and community development director by certified U.S. mail of the proposed date of abandonment or discontinuation of operation. The owner of the facility shall then remove the antenna within 90 days of discontinuation or abandonment unless an additional period of time is authorized by the city. In any case, if the city finds that any antenna or wireless communication support structure has not operated for a continuous period of six months, the owner or lessee of the property on which the wireless communication support structure or antenna is situated or the owner of the wireless communications antenna or support structure shall remove the facility within 90 days of receipt of notice to remove from the city. If the antenna and/or wireless communication support structure is not removed within said time period, the city may remove the antenna or wireless communication support structure at the owner’s expense. If there are two or more wireless communications providers on a single wireless communication support structure, this provision shall not become effective until all providers cease using the wireless communication support structure. [Ord. 1998-07-057].

20.13.190 Third party review.

Personal wireless service providers use various methodologies and analyses, including geographically based computer software, to determine the specific technical parameters of their services and low power mobile radio service facilities, such as expected coverage area, antenna configuration, topographic constraints that affect signal paths, etc. In certain instances, a third party expert may need to review the technical data submitted by a provider. The city may require a technical review as part of a permitting process. The cost of the technical review shall be borne by the provider.

The selection of the third party expert may be by mutual agreement between the provider and the city, or at the discretion of the city, with a provision for the provider and interested parties to comment on the proposed expert and review its qualifications. The expert review is intended to address interference and public safety issues and be a site-specific review of technical aspects of the facilities or a review of the providers’ methodology and equipment used and not a subjective review of the site which was selected by a provider. Based on the results of the expert review, the city may require changes to the provider’s application. The expert review shall address the following:

A. The accuracy and completeness of the submissions;

B. The applicability of analysis techniques and methodologies;

C. The validity of conclusions reached; and

D. Any specific technical issues designated by the city. [Ord. 1998-07-057].