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Chapter 19.255
PERSONAL WIRELESS SERVICE FACILITIES

Sections:

19.255.010    Personal wireless service facilities (PWSF).

19.255.020    Development standards.

19.255.030    Nonconformance.

19.255.040    Temporary personal wireless service facilities.

19.255.050    Application requirements.

19.255.060    Collocation.

19.255.070    Removal of facility.

19.255.080    Revocation of permit.

 

19.255.010 Personal wireless service facilities (PWSF).

(1) Purpose. This section addresses the issues of location and appearance associated with personal wireless service facilities. It provides adequate siting opportunities through a wide range of locations and options which minimize safety hazards and visual impacts sometimes associated with wireless communications technology.

(2) Definitions. Any words, terms or phrases used in this section which are not otherwise defined shall have the meanings set forth in Chapter 19.05 FWRC.

(3) Exemptions. The following antennas and facilities are exempt from the provisions of this section and shall be permitted in all zones consistent with applicable development standards as outlined in the use zone charts, FWRC Title 19, Division VI, Zoning Regulations:

(a) Wireless communication facilities used by federal, state, or local public agencies for temporary emergency communications in the event of a disaster, emergency preparedness, and public health or safety purposes.

(b) Industrial processing equipment and scientific or medical equipment using frequencies regulated by the FCC; provided such equipment complies with all applicable provisions of FWRC 19.110.050, Compliance generally, 19.110.060, Exceptions, and 19.110.070, Rooftop appurtenances – Required screening.

(c) Citizen band radio antennas or antennas operated by federally licensed amateur (“ham”) radio operators; provided such antennas comply with all applicable provisions of FWRC 19.110.050, Compliance generally, 19.110.060, Exceptions, and 19.110.070, Rooftop appurtenances – Required screening.

(d) Satellite dish antennas less than two meters in diameter, including direct-to-home satellite services, when used as a secondary use of the property; provided such antennas comply with all applicable provisions of FWRC 19.110.050, Compliance generally, 19.110.060, Exceptions, and 19.110.070, Rooftop appurtenances – Required screening.

(e) Automated meter reading (AMR) facilities for the purpose of collecting utility meter data for use in the sale of utility services, except for whip or other antennas greater than two feet in length; provided the AMR facilities are within the scope of activities permitted under a valid franchise agreement between the utility service provider and the city.

(f) Routine maintenance or repair of a wireless communication facility and related equipment excluding structural work or changes in height, dimensions, or visual impacts of the antenna, tower, or buildings; provided, that compliance with the standards of this title is maintained.

(g) Equipment cabinet additions or upgrades within existing equipment enclosures or buildings, so long as there is no material area expansion of the equipment enclosure or building, or change to the approved architectural design of the existing equipment enclosure or building.

(4) Prioritized locations. The following sites shall be the required order of locations for proposed PWSFs, including antenna and equipment shelters. In proposing a PWSF in a particular location, the applicant shall analyze the feasibility of locating the proposed PWSF in each of the higher priority locations and document, to the city’s satisfaction, why locating the PWSF in each higher priority location and/or zone is not being proposed. In order of preference, the prioritized locations for PWSFs are as follows:

(a) Structures located in the BPA trail. A PWSF may be located on any existing support structure currently located in the easement upon which are located U.S. Department of Energy/ Bonneville Power Administration (“BPA”) Power Lines regardless of underlying zoning.

(b) Existing broadcast, relay and transmission towers. A PWSF may be located on an existing site or tower where a legal wireless telecommunication facility is currently located regardless of underlying zoning. If an existing site or tower is located within a one-mile radius of a proposed PWSF location, the applicant shall document why collocation on the existing site or tower is not being proposed, regardless of whether the existing site or tower is located within the jurisdiction of the city.

(c) Institutional structures. If the city, institutional uses, or other public agency consents to such location, a PWSF may be located on existing structures, such as water towers, utility structures, fire stations, bridges, churches, schools and other public buildings within all zoning districts, provided the public facilities are not located within public rights-of-way.

(d) Appropriate zoning districts. A PWSF may be located on private buildings or structures within nonresidential zoning districts as allowed by the zoning chart.

(e) Appropriate public rights-of-way. For the purposes of this section, appropriate public rights-of-way shall be defined as including those public rights-of-way with functional street classifications of principal arterial, minor arterial, and principal collector. A PWSF may be located on existing structures in appropriate public rights-of-way. Structures proposed for location of PWSFs shall be separated by at least 330 linear feet. Location of a PWSF on an existing structure in an appropriate public right-of-way shall require a right-of-way permit in addition to the required use process approval.

If the PWSF is proposed to be located in an appropriate public right-of-way and the surrounding uses or zoning are not the same, that portion of the right-of-way with the most intensive use and/or zoning shall be the preferred location.

If the PWSF is proposed to be located in an appropriate public right-of-way and surrounding uses or zoning are the same, the preferred location shall be that portion of the right-of-way with the least adverse visual impacts.

(f) If the applicant demonstrates to the city’s satisfaction that it is not technically possible to site in a prioritized location, the city reserves the right to approve alternative site locations if a denial would be in violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, as determined by the city.

(Ord. No. 09-633, § 3, 11-17-09; Ord. No. 08-585, § 3(Exh. A), 11-4-08; Ord. No. 01-399, § 3, 8-7-01; Ord. No. 00-363, § 14, 1-4-00; Ord. No. 97-300, § 3, 9-16-97. Code 2001 § 22-966.)

19.255.020 Development standards.

The following development standards shall be followed in the design, siting, and construction of a personal wireless service facility:

(1) Building- or structure-mounted PWSFs on existing buildings or structures in or out of the public right-of-way. PWSFs mounted on existing buildings and structures shall conform to the following development standards:

(a) The PWSF shall consist only of the following types of facilities:

(i) A microcell or a minor facility; or

(ii) A PWSF that exceeds the minor facility thresholds for number of antennas, dimensions, and/or area, but creates no more adverse impacts than a minor facility, as determined by the director of community development services, subject to meeting all of the following standards:

(A) The facility shall not create substantially more adverse visual impact than a minor facility; and

(B) The equipment cabinet for the PWSF shall meet all requirements of subsection (4) of this section; and

(C) The maximum size of the PWSF panels and number of antennas shall be determined by the director of community development services, based on the specific project location, surrounding environment, and potential visual impacts; and

(D) The PWSF shall comply with all other applicable standards of the Federal Way Revised Code.

(b) The combined antennas and supporting structure may extend up to, but not exceed, 15 feet above the existing or proposed roof or other structure regardless of whether the existing structure is in conformance with the existing maximum height of the underlying zone as outlined in the use zone charts, FWRC Title 19, Division VI, Zoning Regulations. Antennas may be mounted to rooftop appurtenances, as identified in FWRC 19.110.070, provided they do not extend beyond 15 feet above the maximum height of the structure as defined per FWRC 19.05.080, H definitions.

(c) For PWSFs located in the right-of-way, the combined antennas may extend up to the minimum necessary height to meet safety clearances required by the operator of the existing structure, but not exceed 15 feet above the existing structure, plus the height of the proposed antennas as specified in subsection (1)(e) of this section. The maximum allowable height of the new structure with the PWSF antennas shall be determined by the director of community development services, depending upon the antenna type, design, location on the structure, and the proposed method of attachment. An existing structure can be increased in height only once per a 12-month period. Any structure, whether a new or replacement structure, located in a public right-of-way must be similar in terms of size (except height), shape, color, material, and location to the existing and surrounding structures, as determined by the director of community development services. The antenna extension may be permitted regardless of whether the existing structure is in conformance with the maximum height of the underlying zone as outlined in the use zone charts, FWRC Title 19, Division VI, Zoning Regulations.

(d) The antennas are mounted on the building or structure such that they are located and designed to minimize visual and aesthetic impacts to surrounding land uses and structures and shall, to the greatest extent practical, blend into the existing environment pursuant to subsection (3) of this section. Panel and parabolic antennas shall be screened from residential views and public rights-of-way unless meeting the provision of FWRC 19.110.070(2)(b).

(e) It is the applicant’s responsibility to prove that the maximum size of the PWSF panels and number of antennas is the minimum size necessary. The maximum size of antennas to be located on existing structures in a public right-of-way shall be two feet in diameter for parabolic antennas, eight feet in height for panel antennas, and 15 feet in height for whip antennas.

(f) Required setbacks shall not pertain to PWSFs within public rights-of-way. Within residential zones, equipment enclosures, and buildings to house equipment cabinets located above ground on properties adjacent to the public right-of-way shall meet all applicable setback requirements for residential development of the underlying zone. For developed sites in nonresidential zones, the setback requirements for the equipment enclosure shall be those of the principal use of the subject property. For undeveloped sites in nonresidential zones, the setback requirements for the equipment enclosure shall be 20 feet for front, side, and rear yards.

(2) New freestanding PWSFs. All requirements of the associated land use zoning charts must be met. Additionally, these structures shall conform to the following site development standards:

(a) Placement of a freestanding PWSF shall be denied if placement of the antennas on an existing structure can meet the applicant’s technical and network location requirements.

(b) Monopoles shall be the only freestanding structures allowed in the city; except that a lattice tower may be used to accommodate the collocation of four or more providers as part of a joint permit application.

(c) In no case shall a freestanding PWSF be located closer than 500 feet to an existing freestanding PWSF whether it is owned or utilized by the applicant or another provider.

(d) A freestanding PWSF, including the support structure and associated electronic equipment, shall comply with all required setbacks of the zoning district in which it is located. For developed sites, the setback requirements shall be those of the principal use of the subject property. For undeveloped sites, the setback requirements for new freestanding PWSFs shall be 20 feet for front, side, and rear yards.

(e) Freestanding PWSFs shall be designed and placed on the site in a manner that takes maximum advantage of existing trees, mature vegetation, and structures so as to:

(i) Use existing site features to screen as much of the total PWSF as possible from prevalent views; and/or

(ii) Use existing site features as a background so that the total PWSF blends into the background with increased distances.

(f) In reviewing the proposed placement of a facility on the site and any associated landscaping, the city may condition the application to supplement existing trees and mature vegetation to more effectively screen the facility.

(g) Support structures, antennas, and any associated hardware shall be camouflaged to blend in harmoniously within the existing site through the use of faux-structural designs, or when not technologically or aesthetically feasible, painted in a nonreflective color scheme appropriate to the background against which the PWSF would be viewed from a majority of points within its viewshed. The proposed color or color scheme shall be approved by the hearing examiner or director of community development services.

(3) Screening standards for all PWSFs. PWSFs shall be screened or camouflaged through employing the best available technology and design, as determined by the city. This may be accomplished by use of compatible materials, location, landscaping, color, stealth techniques such as, but not limited to, artificial trees and hollow flag poles, and/or other methods or techniques to achieve minimum visibility of the facility as viewed from public streets or residential properties. In addition, the provisions for landscaping as outlined in the use zone charts, FWRC Title 19, Division VI, Zoning Regulations, shall apply.

(4) Standards for electronic cabinets.

(a) Electronic cabinets shall either:

(i) Be placed in a new or existing completely enclosed building. It is the applicant’s responsibility to prove that the maximum size of the building is the minimum size necessary to house the equipment; or

(ii) Be placed above ground in a new or existing equipment enclosure. It is the applicant’s responsibility to prove that the maximum size of the building is the minimum size necessary to house the equipment.

(b) Equipment enclosures shall be screened with one or a combination of the following methods, which shall be acceptable to the city: fencing, walls, landscaping, structures, buildings or topography which will block the view of the equipment enclosure to the greatest extent possible from any street and/or adjacent properties, as determined by the director of community development services. Screening may be located anywhere between the enclosure and the above-mentioned viewpoints. Landscaping for the purposes of screening shall be maintained in a healthy condition, pursuant to FWRC 19.125.090(2).

(c) If the equipment cabinet is located within a new enclosed building, the building shall conform to all applicable development standards and design guidelines for the underlying zone. The enclosed building shall be architecturally designed and shall be compatible with existing buildings on the site. The enclosed building shall be screened to the greatest extent possible from any street and/or adjacent properties by landscaping and/or topography.

(5) Standards for equipment enclosures.

(a) Electronic equipment enclosures shall not be allowed within the right-of-way.

(b) In residential zones, equipment enclosures located above ground on properties adjacent to the public right-of-way shall meet all applicable setback requirements for residential development of the underlying zone. For developed sites in nonresidential zones, the setback requirements for the equipment enclosure shall be those of the principal use of the subject property. For undeveloped sites in nonresidential zones, the setback requirements for the equipment enclosure shall be 20 feet for front, side, and rear yards. However, for undeveloped sites in nonresidential zones, if the applicant can demonstrate that the equipment enclosure can blend in harmoniously with the existing site and complement the landscape buffer requirements of the underlying zone, as determined appropriate by the director of community development services, the equipment enclosure can be located inside of the 20-foot setback but outside of the required landscaping buffer of the underlying zone.

(c) Equipment enclosures shall be designed, located, and screened to minimize adverse visual impacts from the public right-of-way and adjacent properties.

(d) Equipment enclosures shall be designed, located, and screened to minimize adverse visual and functional impacts on the pedestrian environment.

(e) Equipment enclosures and screening shall not adversely impact vehicular sight distance.

(6) Security fencing.

(a) No fence shall exceed six feet in height as stipulated in FWRC 19.125.160(5).

(b) Security fencing shall be effectively screened from view through the use of appropriate landscaping materials.

(c) Chain-link fences shall be painted or coated with a nonreflective color.

(7) Cumulative effects. The city shall consider the cumulative visual effects of PWSFs mounted on existing structures and/or located on a given permitted site in determining whether additional permits may be granted so as to not adversely affect the visual character of the city.

(8) Signage. No wireless equipment shall be used for the purpose of mounting signs or message displays of any kind, except for small signs used for identification, hazard warning, and name of provider.

(9) Use zone charts, height and permit process.

(a) The final approval authority for applications made under this section shall be defined by the appropriate permit process as outlined in the use zone charts, FWRC Title 19, Division VI, Zoning Regulations.

(b) Allowed heights shall be established relative to appropriate process as outlined in the use zone charts, FWRC Title 19, Division VI, Zoning Regulations.

(Ord. No. 09-633, § 4, 11-17-09; Ord. No. 08-585, § 3(Exh. A), 11-4-08; Ord. No. 01-399, § 3, 8-7-01; Ord. No. 00-363, § 14, 1-4-00; Ord. No. 97-300, § 3, 9-16-97. Code 2001 § 22-967.)

19.255.030 Nonconformance.

Permit applications made under this section to locate a PWSF on property on which a nonconformance is located shall be exempt from the requirements of Chapter 19.30 FWRC, Nonconformance, to bring the property into conformance as follows:

(1) To provide the public improvements required by Chapter 19.135 FWRC, Development Improvements, as stipulated in FWRC 19.30.110.

(2) To bring the property into conformance with the development regulations prescribed in FWRC Title 16 relating to water quality as stipulated in FWRC 19.30.120(1)(g). All other requirements of FWRC 19.30.120 to bring the property into conformance with the development regulations prescribed in FWRC Title 16 relating to water quality shall apply.

(Ord. No. 08-585, § 3(Exh. A), 11-4-08; Ord. No. 00-363, § 14, 1-4-00; Ord. No. 97-300, § 3, 9-16-97. Code 2001 § 22-968.)

19.255.040 Temporary personal wireless service facilities.

As determined by the director of community development services, a temporary personal wireless service facility, or cell-on-wheels, may be deployed and operated as follows:

(1) For a period of 90 days during the construction of a freestanding PWSF which has been approved through the appropriate permit process; provided, that the temporary personal wireless service facility or cell-on-wheels creates no more adverse impacts than the PWSF which was approved through the appropriate permit process. Only one temporary personal wireless service facility or cell-on-wheels shall be permitted for a single site.

(2) For a period of time determined to be appropriate by the director of community development services, during an emergency declared by the city, state, or federal government that has caused a freestanding PWSF which has been approved through the appropriate permit process to become involuntarily nonoperational; provided, that the temporary personal wireless service facility or cell-on-wheels creates no more adverse impacts than the PWSF which was approved through the appropriate permit process.

(3) Prior to installation of the temporary PWSF, the applicant shall provide the city with a cash bond in an amount to be determined by the director of community development services in order to guarantee performance of future removal and restoration of the site.

(Ord. No. 09-633, § 5, 11-17-09; Ord. No. 08-585, § 3(Exh. A), 11-4-08; Ord. No. 00-363, § 14, 1-4-00; Ord. No. 97-300, § 3, 9-16-97. Code 2001 § 22-969.)

19.255.050 Application requirements.

(1) Except for temporary personal wireless facilities, permit applications made under this section shall include the following minimum information in addition to that required for the underlying permit review process:

(a) A diagram or map showing the primary viewshed of the proposed facility.

(b) Photosimulations of the proposed facility from affected properties and public rights-of-way at varying distances. These photo simulations should include examples of camouflage and stealth installation options.

(c) Architectural elevations of proposed facility and site.

(d) A coverage chart of the proposed PWSF at the requested height and an explanation of the need for that facility at that height and in that location.

(e) An inventory of other PWSF sites operated by the applicant or other providers within a one-mile radius of the proposed PWSF location.

(f) A site/landscaping plan showing the specific placement of the PWSF on the site; showing the location of existing structures, trees, and other significant site features; and indicating type and locations of plant materials used to screen PWSF components.

(g) If the PWSF electronic equipment cabinet is proposed to be located above ground, an explanation of why it is impracticable to locate the cabinet underground.

(h) Documentation of efforts to collocate on existing facilities.

(i) The city may require the applicant, at the applicant’s expense, to provide any additional information, mapping, studies, materials, inspections, or reviews that are reasonably necessary to implement this chapter and to require that such information, studies, mapping, materials, inspections, and reviews be reviewed by a qualified professional under contract to the city, also at the applicant’s expense.

(2) Permit applications for temporary personal wireless service facilities shall include the following minimum information:

(a) Documentation of previously permitted facility.

(b) Site plan showing proposed location of temporary facility in relationship to the location of the previously permitted facility and property boundaries, including dimensions from the property lines and height of proposed facility.

(c) Photographs of the proposed facility.

(Ord. No. 09-633, § 6, 11-17-09; Ord. No. 08-585, § 3(Exh. A), 11-4-08; Ord. No. 01-399, § 3, 8-7-01; Ord. No. 00-363, § 14, 1-4-00; Ord. No. 97-300, § 3, 9-16-97. Code 2001 § 22-970.)

19.255.060 Collocation.

(1) A permittee shall cooperate with other PWSF providers in collocating additional antennas on support structures and/or on existing buildings and sites, provided said proposed collocatees have received a permit for such use at said site from the city. A permittee shall allow other providers to collocate and share the permitted site, provided such shared use does not give rise to a substantial technical level impairment of the permitted use (as opposed to a competitive conflict or financial burden). In the event a dispute arises as to whether a permittee has exercised good faith in accommodating a new applicant, the city may require a third party technical study at the expense of the permittee. Failure to comply with this provision may result in a revocation of the permit.

(2) A signed statement indicating that the applicant agrees to allow for the potential collocation of additional PWSF equipment by other providers on the applicant’s structure or within the same site location shall be submitted by the applicant as part of the permit application. If an applicant contends that future collocation is not possible on their site, they must submit a technical study documenting why.

(3) Collocation requirements shall not apply to PWSFs located on existing structures in appropriate public rights-of-way within residential zones, neighborhood business (BN) zones and professional office (PO) zones.

(Ord. No. 08-585, § 3(Exh. A), 11-4-08; Ord. No. 00-363, § 14, 1-4-00; Ord. No. 97-300, § 3, 9-16-97. Code 2001 § 22-971.)

19.255.070 Removal of facility.

(1) Abandonment and removal. The owner or operator of a PWSF shall provide the city with a copy of the notice of intent to cease operations required by the FCC at the time it is submitted to the FCC. Additionally, the owner or operator of a PWSF shall notify the city in writing of the abandonment of a particular facility within 30 days of the date the PWSF is abandoned. The abandoned PWSF shall be removed by the facility owner within 90 days of the date the PWSF is abandoned, the permit is revoked, or if the facility falls into disrepair and is not maintained, as determined by the city. Disrepair includes structural features, paint, landscaping, or general lack of maintenance which could result in adverse safety or visual impacts. If there are two or more users of a single tower, then the city’s right to remove the tower shall not become effective until all users abandon the tower.

(2) Partial abandonment and removal. If the abandoned antennas on any PWSF are removed or relocated to a point where the top 20 percent or more of the height of the supporting structure is no longer in use, the PWSF shall be considered partially abandoned. The owner or operator of any partially abandoned PWSF shall notify the city in writing of the partial abandonment of a particular facility within 30 days of the date the PWSF is partially abandoned. The owner of the PWSF shall have 120 days from the date of partial abandonment to collocate another service on the PWSF. If another service provider is not added to the PWSF within the allowed 120-day collocation period, the owner shall in 210 days of partial abandonment, dismantle and remove that portion of the supporting structure which exceeds the point at which the highest operational antenna is mounted.

(3) Removal and lien. If the provider fails to remove the abandoned or partially abandoned facility upon 210 days of its abandonment or partial abandonment, the responsibility for removal falls upon the property owner on which the abandoned or partially abandoned facility is located. The city may enforce this subsection using the procedures as set forth in FWRC 1.15.010.

(Ord. No. 09-633, § 7, 11-17-09; Ord. No. 08-585, § 3(Exh. A), 11-4-08; Ord. No. 00-363, § 14, 1-4-00; Ord. No. 97-300, § 3, 9-16-97. Code 2001 § 22-973. Formerly 19.255.080.)

19.255.080 Revocation of permit.

A permit issued under this chapter may be revoked, suspended or denied for any one or more of the following reasons:

(1) Failure to comply with any federal, state or local laws or regulations;

(2) Failure to comply with any of the terms and conditions imposed by the city on the issuance of a permit;

(3) When the permit was procured by fraud, false representation, or omission of material facts;

(4) Failure to cooperate with other PWSF providers in collocation efforts as required by this chapter;

(5) Failure to comply with federal standards for EMF emissions; and

(6) Failure to remedy localized interference with the reception of area television or radio broadcasts or the functioning of other electronic devices.

(7) Pursuant to FWRC 19.05.300(3), the city, as the applicant, shall use the same process to determine if the permit shall be revoked as it used to grant the permit.

(Ord. No. 09-633, § 8, 11-17-09; Ord. No. 08-585, § 3(Exh. A), 11-4-08; Ord. No. 00-363, § 14, 1-4-00; Ord. No. 97-300, § 3, 9-16-97. Code 2001 § 22-975. Formerly 19.255.100.)

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The Federal Way Revised Code is current through Ordinance 17-831, passed January 17, 2017.

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