Chapter 11.20
COMMUNICATION ANTENNAS AND TOWERS

Sections:

11.20.010    Title/purpose.

11.20.020    Definitions.

11.20.030    Permit application required.

11.20.040    Processing procedures/issuing authority and appeals.

11.20.050    Permit fees.

11.20.060    Submittal requirements.

11.20.070    Development standards for accessory antennas.

11.20.080    Development standards for attached facilities.

11.20.090    Development standards for freestanding facilities.

11.20.100    Additional conditional use permit and administrative approval criteria for WCF antennas and towers.

11.20.140    Exemption.

11.20.150    Obsolescence.

11.20.160    Colocation considerations.

11.20.170    Administrative modifications – Variances from standards.

11.20.010 Title/purpose.

A.    Title. This chapter shall be entitled “Communication Antennas and Towers.”

B.    Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to establish appropriate locations, site development standards, and permit requirements for wireless communication facilities and services within the city, in a manner which facilitates location of various types of wireless communication facilities in permitted locations so they are consistent with the residential character of the city. The requirements of this chapter integrate land use requirements of TMC Title 18 (Zoning) with permit process requirements of TMC Title 14 (Development Code Administration) to:

1.    Ensure compatibility of proposed facilities with surrounding areas by establishing standards for location, height, structural integrity, design review, landscaping, visual screening;

2.    Sustain the peaceful character of the city by establishing standards to reduce the potential of wireless communications facilities to produce disruptive noise, vibrations, or illumination; and to assist in identification of potential sources of interference with existing telephone, radio, television, or electronic computing systems currently in use in the area; and

3.    Reduce the apparent quantity of wireless communications facilities by providing incentives and other inducements to utilize colocation and “stealth” technologies, thereby lessening adverse visual impacts of these facilities on developed residential areas and natural surroundings.

This chapter is intended to allow wireless communication facilities which are sufficient to allow adequate service to citizens, the traveling public, and others within the city; and to accommodate the need for connection of such services to wireless facilities in adjacent and surrounding communities.

(Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.020 Definitions.

A.    “Accessory wireless communication antenna” is a ground mounted (freestanding) or building mounted (attached) antenna for the sole use of residents, patrons of a business, or other occupants of property for the original transmission or final reception of communications or data as an accessory to a permitted use on the property which the antenna is located. Types of accessory wireless communication antennas include:

1.    “Category I (radio and television)”: “receive-only” radio and television antennas, or parabolic (“dish”) antennas not exceeding one meter (39.4 inches) in diameter, usually supported by a single pole, post, or mast, with an antenna height not exceeding fifteen feet above grade for freestanding antennas or ten feet above the height of the building upon which mounted for attached antennas; or

2.    “Category II (amateur radio antenna)”: “send and receive” citizen band radio antennas or similar antennas operated by a federally licensed amateur (“ham”) radio operator at a dwelling, with an antenna height not exceeding the maximum height for buildings on the property upon which the antenna is located, except as provided otherwise in TMC 11.20.070(F).

3.    “Category III (accessory mobile antenna device)”: is an antenna such as a mobile test antenna, global positioning satellite (GPS) equipment, or mobile radio or television antennas which are less than twelve inches in height or width, excluding the support structure.

4.    “Category IV (minor telecommunications antenna)”: “send and receive” data transmission or communication antennas or parabolic (dish) antennas (other than category I and II antennas) not exceeding one meter (39.4 inches) in diameter, usually supported by a single pole, post, or mast, with an antenna height not exceeding fifteen feet above grade for freestanding antennas or the height of the building upon which mounted for attached antennas.

B.    “Antenna” is any system of poles, panels, rods, reflecting discs or similar devices used for the transmission or reception of radio frequency signals (see examples on Figure 11.20.020-1). Types of antennas include, but are not limited to:

1.    “Omnidirectional antenna” (also known as a whip antenna) transmits and receives radio frequency signals in a three-hundred-sixty-degree radial pattern. For the purpose of this chapter, an omnidirectional antenna is up to twenty feet in height and up to four inches in diameter.

2.    “Directional antenna” (also known as a panel antenna) transmits and receives radio frequency signals in a specific directional pattern of less than three hundred sixty degrees.

3.    “Parabolic antenna” (also known as a dish antenna) is a bowl-shaped device for the reception and/or transmission of radio frequency communications signals in a specific directional pattern.

C.    “Attached wireless communication facility” is a wireless communication facility that is affixed to an existing structure other than a wireless communication support structure. Examples of attached wireless communication facilities include antennas affixed to or erected upon existing buildings, water tanks, or other existing structures (see Figure 11.20.020-1).

D.    “Colocation” exists when more than one wireless communications provider mounts equipment on a single support structure (i.e., building, monopole, lattice tower); see also: examples in Figure 11.20.020-1.

E.    “Equipment shelter or cabinet” is a room, cabinet, or building used to house equipment for utility or service providers.

F.    “Freestanding wireless communication facility” is a wireless communication facility that is affixed to a wireless communication support (see definitions in subsections I and J of this section). Examples of freestanding wireless communication facilities include antennas installed on lattice or monopole towers, with or without guys (see Figure 11.20.020-1).

G.    WCF Permits. Required prior to construction for any “wireless communication facility” uses defined by subsection I of this section; or for any “accessory wireless communication antennas” uses described in subsections (A)(1) through (4) of this section which are proposed to exceed size, height, or location specifications defined therein.

H.    “WCF related equipment” is all equipment ancillary to the transmission and reception of voice or data via radio frequencies. Such equipment may include, but is not limited to cable, conduit, and connectors.

I.    “Wireless communication facility” is a public or private land use (other than an accessory use; see definitions in subsections (A)(1) through (4) of this section) that transmits and/or receives radio frequency signals, including but not limited to directional, omnidirectional, or parabolic antennas (see definition in subsection B of this section, “antenna”), transmitting devices and related equipment, transmission towers and other support structures, connecting appurtenances, accessory equipment shelters and cabinets, or other related structures or development. Wireless communication facilities are either “freestanding” (equipment mounted on a “wireless communication support structure”) or “attached” (equipment affixed to or erected upon existing buildings, water tanks, or other existing structures).

J.    “Wireless communication support structure (or transmission tower)” is a freestanding structure erected to support wireless communication antennas and connecting appurtenances (see also: examples in Figure 11.20.020-1). Support structures include, but are not limited to:

1.    “Lattice tower” is a wireless communication support structure which consists of vertical and horizontal supports and metal crossed strips or bars to support antennas and connecting appurtenances. Lattice towers may or may not be supported by wire guys (see guyed tower).

2.    “Monopole tower” is a wireless communication support structure which consists of a single pole structure to support antennas and connecting appurtenances.

3.    “Guyed tower” is any variety of wireless communication support structures (usually over one hundred feet tall) using wire guys connecting above grade portions of a communication support structure diagonally with the ground to provide support for wireless communication towers, antennas, and connecting appurtenances.

(Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.030 Permit application required.

A.    Permit Required. A wireless communication permit (WCF permit) must be obtained prior to construction, installation, and/or placement within the city of Tumwater of any:

1.    “Wireless communication facility” (WCF), as defined by TMC 11.20.020(I); including both “attached” and “freestanding” wireless communications facilities; and

2.    “Accessory wireless communication antennas” uses which exceed height, size, or use limits described in TMC 11.20.070(B).

B.    Exemption for Accessory Wireless Communication Antennas. “Accessory wireless communication antennas” uses which do not exceed height, size, or use limits described in TMC 11.20.070(B) are exempt from WCF permit requirements.

C.    Permit Applications. Applications for WCF permits shall be submitted to and processed by the community development department. Developers of wireless communication facilities and nonexempted accessory wireless communication antenna uses must obtain a WCF permit prior to construction of the facility. A WCF permit may include conditions to mitigate potential impacts that result from the facility. WCF permit applications are processed and reviewed by the community development department using procedures adopted for administrative site plan review and conditional use permit processes.

D.    Compliance with Zoning Provisions Required. Pursuant to requirements of TMC Title 18 (Zoning), communications antennas and towers must comply with the requirements of each zoning district for permitted, accessory, and conditional uses. Figure 11.20.030-1 illustrates allowable permitted uses, accessory uses, and conditional uses for each district.

Permitted uses are uses specifically authorized in a zoning district subject to limitations of regulations for such zoning district, and applicable limitations of this chapter. Applications for WCF permits for permitted uses are subject to administrative review by the development review committee to determine compliance with applicable development standards and criteria, and approval by the director.

Accessory uses are uses which are secondary and incidental to permitted uses specifically authorized in the respective zoning district.

Conditional uses are uses which because of special requirements or unusual characteristics related to particular zoning district, or because of possible detrimental effects on surrounding properties, may be permitted in use districts if found to be appropriate under the conditional use section of the zoning code (TMC Title 18) and applicable provisions of this chapter, and after the granting of a conditional use permit therefor by the hearing examiner. Applications for site plan review and conditional use permits shall be administered and processed by the community development department in a manner similar to that for other project permits pursuant to requirements of TMC Chapter 14.02.

E.    Building and Utility Permits. In addition to WCF permits and conditional use permits, an applicant for a “wireless communication facility” must submit an application, plans, specifications, and other materials necessary to obtain a building permit and any applicable utility permits. Building and utility permits may be applied for either concurrently with or after site plan or conditional permit approvals. “Accessory wireless communication antennas,” exempted from WCF permits, are not required to obtain building permits unless alteration of a structure is required to accommodate the equipment. “Accessory wireless communication antennas,” not exempt from WCF permits, are exempt from building permit requirements unless the director determines during review of the WCF permit that additional analysis of the supporting structure or structural elements of the equipment are necessary.

(Ord. O2011-002, Amended, 03/01/2011; Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.040 Processing procedures/issuing authority and appeals.

Fully complete applications for WCF permits shall be processed in accordance with the project permit processing requirements of TMC Chapter 14.02. Final decisions and appeal authorities for such permits are as described in TMC 14.08.030.

(Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.050 Permit fees.

A.    WCF Permit Fees. Permit fees for WCF permits shall be set by resolution of the city council.

B.    Related Fees. Where the WCF proposed requires issuance of a conditional use permit, permit fees shall be as set by resolution of the city council plus all reasonable consulting costs incurred by the city to verify technical data and information supplied by the applicant in conjunction with the processing of the permit. Provided, however, the WCF permit fee shall be reduced – excluding consulting costs – for an applicant who is colocating on an existing freestanding WCF support structure that does not require an increase in height or significant structural modification.

(Ord. O2011-002, Amended, 03/01/2011; Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.060 Submittal requirements.

A.    WCF Permits – General Submittal Requirements. Applicants for WCF permits for “wireless communication facilities” or for nonexempt “accessory wireless communication antennas” (see TMC 11.20.030(A) and (B) and 11.20.070(C)) shall submit:

1.    A completed application; and

2.    Site and elevation drawings showing the type, size, height, and location of the proposed antenna.

B.    Submittal Requirements – Attached and Freestanding WCFs. In addition to “general submittal requirements” for WCF permits in subsection A of this section, the following submittals are required with applications for WCF permits involving all attached and freestanding wireless communication facilities.

1.    Coverage information for “wireless communication facilities” consisting of:

a.    Computer model overlay maps (three color predictive coverage models) showing existing WCF sites operated by the applicant which are close enough to impact service within the city and their current coverage (if applicable), and another showing the effects of the proposed site on coverage; and

b.    Drive test field results mapping actual coverage. Coverage information is to be included in the application as “proprietary information” for review only and will not be subject to public disclosure.

2.    Information identifying radio frequencies to be transmitted from the facility, and technical documentation demonstrating compliance with Federal Communications Commission standards for radio frequency emissions.

C.    Submittal Requirements – Freestanding WCFs. In addition to submittal requirements for WCF permits in subsections A and B of this section, the following submittals are required with applications for WCF permits involving freestanding wireless communication facilities.

1.    A completed conditional use permit application (except in ARI, LI, and HI zone districts where freestanding WCFs are permitted uses; see TMC 11.20.090(A)).

2.    A diagram or map showing the viewshed of the proposed facility.

3.    Photo simulations of the proposed facility from affected residential properties and public rights-of-way at varying distances.

4.    A site/landscaping plan showing the specific placement of the WCF on the site; showing locations of existing structures, trees, and other significant site features; and indicating type and location of plant materials used to screen WCF components and proposed colors for the WCF.

5.    A statement in a form approved by the city attorney signed by the WCF service provider and the property owner of the proposed site agreeing:

a.    To potential colocation of additional WCF service providers on the applicant’s structure or within the same site location; and

b.    That the WCF service provider will remove the facility and related equipment if the site is abandoned as a result of discontinued use for six months or if the site falls into disrepair; and

c.    That if a WCF service provider fails to remove the facility within ninety days after notice of abandonment by the city of Tumwater, responsibility for removal shall fall upon the landholder (see TMC 11.20.150, Obsolescence).

D.    Building Permits. In addition to submittal requirements in subsections A, B and C of this section, applicants for WCF permits for “wireless communication facilities” or for nonexempt “accessory wireless communication antennas” requiring building permits (see TMC 11.20.030(E)) shall submit:

1.    A completed building permit application and payment of applicable plan review fees; and

2.    Structural plans prepared by and bearing the seal of a structural engineer licensed to practice in the state of Washington.

(Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.070 Development standards for accessory antennas.

A.    Allowed as Accessory Uses. Accessory wireless communication antennas are allowed by TMC Title 18 (Zoning) as accessory uses to permitted uses specified in each zoning district (see Figure 11.20.030-1). Accessory antenna uses involve the original transmission or final reception of telecommunications by and for the sole use of residents, patrons of a business, or other occupants of property as an accessory to a permitted use on the property which the antenna is located.

B.    Categories/Use Limits/Maximum Size and Height. Accessory wireless communication antennas consist of ground mounted (freestanding) or building mounted (attached) antenna for the sole use of residents, patrons of a business, or other occupants of property sending or receiving communications or data as an accessory to a permitted use on the property which the antenna is located. Categories of accessory wireless communication antennas include:

1.    Category I (radio and television): “receive-only” radio and television antennas, or parabolic (“dish”) antennas not exceeding one meter (39.4 inches) in diameter, usually supported by a single pole, post, or mast, with an antenna height not exceeding fifteen feet above grade for freestanding antennas or ten feet above the height of the building upon which mounted for attached antennas; or

2.    Category II (amateur radio antenna): “send and receive” citizen band radio antennas or similar antennas operated by a federally licensed amateur (“ham”) radio operator at a dwelling, with an antenna height not exceeding the maximum height for buildings on the property upon which the antenna is located, except as provided otherwise in subsection F of this section; or

3.    Category III (accessory mobile antenna device): is an antenna such as a mobile test antenna, global positioning satellite (GPS) equipment, or mobile radio or television antennas which are less than twelve inches in height or width, excluding the support structure; or

4.    Category IV (minor telecommunications antenna): “send and receive” data transmission or communication antennas or parabolic (dish) antennas (other than category I and II antennas) not exceeding one meter (39.4 inches) in diameter, usually supported by a single pole, post, or mast, with an antenna height not exceeding fifteen feet above grade for freestanding antennas or the height of the building upon which mounted for attached antennas.

C.    Nonexempt Accessory Wireless Communication Antennas. “Accessory wireless communication antennas” uses which do not exceed height, size, or use limits described in subsection B of this section are exempt from the requirement to obtain a WCF permit by TMC 11.20.030(B). In cases where proposed devices exceed height, size, or use limits, and a WCF permit is required, such proposals shall be conditioned on approval of an administrative modification pursuant to provisions of TMC 11.20.170.

D.    Location. No freestanding accessory wireless communication antennas, support structures for antennas, nor metal guys attached to any antennas shall be located in a required front, side, or rear yard. In cases where the principal building on a lot is set back a greater distance from a front or side street than required by zoning regulations for yards, no antenna nor antenna support shall be located between the principal building and a public street.

E.    Landscaping. Wherever feasible, freestanding parabolic (dish) antennas shall be screened from views on public rights-of-way by trees, shrubs, or other appropriate means of landscaping.

F.    Amateur Radio. In accordance with federal preemptive rulings, antennas and support structures used primarily for federally licensed amateur (“ham”) radio activities may exceed the maximum allowable height for buildings provided a determination is made by the development review committee in a formal review, that the proposed tower height is technically necessary to successfully engage in amateur radio communications.

(Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.080 Development standards for attached facilities.

A.    Attached Wireless Communication Facilities Allowed. Attached wireless communication facilities are permitted uses in all zone districts, except HC (historic commercial), GB (greenbelt), and OS (open space) districts; except that it is prohibited to attach a nonaccessory wireless communication antenna on a single-family or two-family dwelling.

B.    Types of attached wireless communication facilities include, but are not limited to, antennas, equipment, and connecting appurtenances devices affixed to the wall or mounted on the top of an existing building, water tank, or other similar structure not constructed specifically to support an antenna.

C.    Design Requirements.

1.    Camouflage Required. Whenever practical, attached wireless communication antennas shall be designed where feasible to blend into the architecture of the building or structure on which placed through the use of color and camouflaging treatments, except where color is otherwise dictated by federal or state authority.

2.    Attachment to Trees Prohibited. It is prohibited to use any tree as a support for any attached wireless communication antennas; or to use any tree to attach any metal guy or cable supporting any attached antenna.

3.    Colocation. Construction of new attached wireless communication facilities on existing structures shall be designed, engineered, and constructed to facilitate colocation of additional wireless communication facilities by other WCF providers on the same structure.

D.    Setbacks for Attached Facilities. Attached wireless communication facilities shall conform to the following setback requirements:

1.    Property Lines and Required Yards. Wireless communication antennas and equipment mounted on building walls or roofs shall not extend over property lines nor into required front, side or rear yard areas; provided, that the development review committee may approve an encroachment into a required yard up to two feet for an antenna mounted on the face or wall of a building or structure (see Figure 11.20.020-1) if the antenna is camouflaged to blend into the architecture of the building or structure on which placed.

2.    Antennas Mounted Atop Structures. Antennas on rooftops or atop water tanks shall be set back horizontally from the vertical edge of the structure one foot for every foot of elevation above the roof or tank. Whenever practical, antennas on rooftops must be either located or camouflaged so as not to be visible from adjacent roadways or other public rights-of-way.

E.    Maximum Heights. Attached wireless communication facilities in any zone district shall not exceed the maximum height allowed for buildings in the same zone by TMC Title 18 (Zoning); except that:

1.    Antennas and related equipment mounted on rooftops which are at or near the maximum allowable height may extend above the height limit upon approval of an administrative modification pursuant to provisions of TMC 11.20.170; and

2.    Freestanding WCFs in the LI (light industrial), HI (heavy industrial), and ARI (airport related industry) may exceed the height limitation in the zone with maximum tower heights of one hundred feet; except that freestanding WCFs shall not penetrate imaginary airspace surfaces as defined by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 77. A map that provides detailed information on ground and imaginary airspace surface elevations is available for inspection in the community development department.

(Ord. O2011-002, Amended, 03/01/2011; Ord. O2004-009, Amended, 12/07/2004; Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.090 Development standards for freestanding facilities.

A.    Conditional Use Permit Required. Freestanding wireless communication facilities are permitted by conditional use permit in all zone districts, except in:

1.    Prohibited Districts. No freestanding wireless communication facilities are allowed in HC (historic commercial), GB (greenbelt), and OS (open space) districts; and

2.    Permitted Use Districts. Freestanding wireless communication facilities in LI (light industrial), HI (heavy industrial), and ARI (airport related industrial) are allowed as permitted uses (See TMC 11.20.030(D) and Figure 11.20.030-1).

However, no conditional use permit shall be required for colocation of additional wireless communications on existing legally established wireless communications support structures by other service providers; provided, that the colocation does not result in an increase in height of the existing support structure, and the proposed addition otherwise complies with standards described herein.

B.    Types of freestanding wireless communication facilities include, but are not limited to, monopole and lattice towers, and may utilize metal guys of cables to provide support for towers, antennas, and connecting appurtenances.

C.    Design Requirements.

1.    Color and Camouflage Required. Whenever practical freestanding towers and antennas shall be designed to blend into the surrounding environment through the use of color and camouflaging architectural treatment, except where color is otherwise dictated by federal or state authority.

2.    Attachment to Trees Prohibited. It is prohibited to use any tree as a support for any freestanding wireless communication antennas; or to use any tree to attach any metal guy or cable supporting any freestanding antenna.

3.    Colocation. Whenever practical new freestanding wireless communication towers shall be designed, engineered, and constructed to facilitate colocation of additional wireless communication facilities by other WCF providers on the same structure. Monopole towers shall be designed to facilitate at least one additional colocated facility, and lattice towers shall be designed to facilitate at least two additional colocated facilities.

D.    Setbacks for Freestanding Facilities. Freestanding towers and antennas shall conform to the following setback requirements:

1.    Rights-of-Way. Freestanding towers and antennas shall be set back from all public rights-of-way, a distance no less than one foot for every foot of tower height.

2.    Residential Properties. Freestanding towers and antennas shall be set back from all adjacent properties zoned RSR (residential/sensitive resource), SFL (single-family low density), SFM (single-family medium density), MFM (multifamily medium density), and MFH (multifamily high density) a distance no less than two feet for every foot of tower height.

3.    Nonresidential Properties. Freestanding towers and antennas shall be set back from all adjacent properties zoned NC (neighborhood commercial), MU (mixed use), GC (general commercial), CD (commercial development), CS (community services), HC (historic commercial), BP (business park), GB (greenbelt), OS (open space), ARI (airport related industry), LI (light industrial), and HI (heavy industrial) a distance no less than one foot for every foot of tower height.

Provided however, that the minimum setback may be reduced upon approval of an administrative modification pursuant to provisions of TMC 11.20.170.

E.    Maximum Heights. Freestanding towers and antennas in any zone district exclusive of industrial zone districts shall not exceed the maximum allowable heights for buildings in the same zone district by TMC Title 18 (Zoning) or fifty feet, whichever is less; provided, however, that the maximum allowable height may be increased upon approval of an administrative modification pursuant to provisions of TMC 11.20.170. The maximum allowable height for freestanding towers and antennas shall be one hundred feet in the LI (light industrial), HI (heavy industrial), and ARI (airport related industry) zoning districts; provided, however, that freestanding WCFs shall not penetrate imaginary airspace surfaces as defined by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 77. A map that provides detailed information on ground and imaginary airspace surface elevations is available for inspection in the community development department.

F.    Separation Between Facilities. Except for the light industrial (LI), heavy industrial (HI) and airport related industry (ARI) zones, no new freestanding wireless communication facility may be constructed within one thousand three hundred twenty feet of any other wireless communication facility except upon approval of an administrative modification pursuant to provisions of TMC 11.20.170.

G.    WCF Accessory Structures and Equipment. The shelter or cabinet used to house radio electronics equipment and the associated cabling connecting the equipment shelter or cabinet to the freestanding wireless communication facility shall be concealed, screened, camouflaged or placed underground.

H.    Landscaping and Tree Protection. Applications for development of a site for freestanding antenna towers shall include tree protection and landscaping plans to assure that:

1.    Trees and other vegetation are retained and adequately protected pursuant to provisions of TMC Chapter 16.08 (tree protection).

2.    To the greatest extent feasible, existing trees and other vegetation and new landscaping are utilized to screen wireless communications antennas, support structures, and related buildings and equipment from view from adjacent properties and rights-of-way.

3.    Applicable landscaping and buffering requirements of TMC Title 18 (Zoning) are met.

(Ord. O2011-002, Amended, 03/01/2011; Ord. O2004-009, Amended, 12/07/2004; Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.100 Additional conditional use permit and administrative approval criteria for WCF antennas and towers.

In addition to the conditional use permit criteria specified in TMC Chapter 18.56, the following specific criteria shall be met before a conditional use permit or administrative approval for a WCF antenna or tower can be granted:

A.    Visual Impact.

1.    Antennas may not extend more than fifteen feet above their supporting structure, monopole lattice tower, building or other structure.

2.    Site location and development shall preserve the preexisting character of the surrounding buildings and land uses and the zone district to the extent consistent with the function of the communications equipment. Wireless communication towers shall be integrated through location and design to blend in with the existing characteristics of the site to the extent practical. Existing on-site vegetation shall be preserved or improved, and disturbance of the existing topography shall be minimized, unless such disturbance would result in less visual impact of the site to the surrounding area.

3.    Accessory equipment facilities used to house wireless communications equipment should be located within buildings or placed underground when possible. When they cannot be located in buildings, equipment shelters or cabinets shall be screened and landscaped in conformance with buffer requirements specified in TMC Chapter 18.47 (Landscaping).

B.    Noise. No wireless communication equipment shall be operated to produce noise levels above forty-five dB as measured from any adjacent property or right-of-way line. Backup generators shall only be used during power outages and for testing and maintenance purposes. Testing and maintenance shall only take place on weekdays between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

C.    Lighting. A transmission tower shall not be lighted except to the extent required by federal and state aviation or telecommunications agencies.

D.    Electromagnetic Radio Frequency Emissions. The Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sole jurisdiction of the field of regulation of radio frequency (RF) emissions.

1.    Wireless communications facilities shall not be conditioned nor denied on the basis of RF impacts.

2.    Applicants for WCF permits shall be required to provide information on the projected power density of the facility, and demonstrate how the facility complies with FCC standards.

E.    Air Navigation Height Limitation. In addition to height limitations imposed elsewhere in this code, no wireless communication facility tower may pierce the civil airport imaginary surface of the Olympia airport, pursuant to Federal Aviation Administration, Title 14, Part 77 rules, without express support by the FAA and the Port of Olympia.

F.    Access to Site. Wireless communication sites shall be fenced by a security fence not less than six feet in height to prevent access to areas of the site, transmission towers, or structures. Buildings and similar structures used for telecommunications equipment shall be locked and secured to prevent unauthorized entry. Towers and other support structures shall be designed with anti-climbing features to prevent easy climbing by intruders.

G.    Site Identification. Wireless communication sites shall be identified by means of a sign no larger than two square feet affixed to the equipment building or fence enclosure which identifies each firm using the site and provides a contact name and telephone number.

H.    Structural Requirements. Any wireless communication facility antenna, tower, structure, or other equipment placed on the tower, building or other support structure shall not cause applicable wind and dead load standards of the building code as adopted in TMC Title 15 to be exceeded.

I.    View Obstruction. Wireless facilities shall be located as to minimize the obstruction of scenic views from residentially zoned land. Determinations of the significance of potential view obstructions shall be based on submittal materials and field examinations by city staff during review processes, and approvals shall consider comments from owners and/or residents of affected properties.

J.    Public Notice. In addition to public notice requirements in TMC Chapter 14.06, required notification for public meetings, hearings or pending actions involving WCF permits shall be extended to owners of property within six hundred feet of the boundaries of the property proposed for a WCF site.

(Ord. O2010-017, Amended, 12/21/2010; Ord. O97-024, Amended, 03/03/1998; Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.140 Exemption.

The following are exempt from the requirement of a conditional use permit, and shall be considered a permitted use in all zones where wireless and attached wireless communications facilities are permitted: minor modifications of existing wireless communications facilities and attached wireless communications facilities, whether emergency or routine, so long as there is little or no change in the visual appearance. “Minor modifications” are those modifications, including the addition of antennas, to conforming wireless and attached wireless communications facilities that meet the performance standards set forth in this chapter.

(Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.150 Obsolescence.

A wireless communications facility may be determined to be abandoned for discontinued use or if the facility falls into disrepair or noncompliance due to neglect of maintenance.

A.    Abandonment Due to Discontinued Use. A wireless communication facility shall be determined to be abandoned if use of the facility is discontinued for six months. Within ninety days after notice from the city of Tumwater that a facility has been determined to be abandoned due to discontinued use, the owner of the wireless communications facility shall either reestablish use of the site or remove all equipment, support structures, and appurtenances and restore the site. In the event two or more wireless communication service providers are colocated on a freestanding WCF support structure, the facility shall not be considered abandoned due to discontinued use unless all users cease use of the facility.

B.    Abandonment Due to Disrepair or Noncompliance. In the event a wireless communication facility falls into disrepair or noncompliance due to neglect of maintenance, the facility shall be determined to be abandoned if repairs are not effected to restore compliance within thirty days after notice of noncompliance from the city of Tumwater. Failure to comply within thirty days shall result in expiration by limitation of prior approvals for the facility.

C.    Expiration of Prior Approvals. Failure of a wireless communication facility owner to reestablish use of a facility within ninety days after notice of abandonment due to discontinuance, or failure of an WCF owner to effect repairs to restore compliance within thirty days after notice of noncompliance due to disrepair or neglect of maintenance, shall result in expiration of all prior approvals for the facility by the city of Tumwater. Any proposal to reestablish a WCF facility after such expiration shall be treated as a new application subject to reviews, approvals, and fees required by this code.

D.    Liability for Noncompliance. No time period stated herein shall relieve the owner of a wireless communication facility from responsibility to maintain a facility safely.

E.    Responsibility of the Property Owner. In addition to the responsibility of the owner of a wireless communication facility for repair or removal of a facility, the owner of the property upon which the wireless communication facility is placed retains ultimate responsibility for care and custody of the premises, and may be required in cases of abandonment to remove unused or noncomplying facilities.

(Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.160 Colocation considerations.

A.    Colocation Efforts Required. A permittee shall cooperate with other WCF providers in colocating additional antennas on support structures and/or on existing buildings provided said proposed colocators have received a WCF permit for such use at said site from the city. A permittee shall exercise good faith in colocating with other providers and sharing the permitted site, provided such shared use does not give rise to a substantial technical level impairment of the ability to provide the permitted use (i.e., a significant interference in broadcast or reception capabilities as opposed to a competitive conflict or financial burden). Such good faith shall include sharing technical information to evaluate the feasibility of colocation. In the event a dispute arises as to whether a permittee has exercised good faith in accommodating other users, the city may require a third party technical study at the expense of either or both the applicant and permittee.

B.    Demonstration of Colocation Efforts Required. All applicants shall demonstrate reasonable efforts in developing a colocation alternative for their proposal. Applicants for facilities which are not proposed to be colocated with another wireless communication facility shall provide a written explanation why the proposed facility is not a candidate for colocation.

C.    Proposals Not Providing for Colocation. It shall be the obligation of any applicant for either a WCF permit or conditional use permit for a wireless communication facility not providing for colocation to demonstrate that colocation is not a feasible alternative for the proposal. Failure to comply with colocation requirements of this chapter may result in the denial of a permit request or revocation of an existing permit.

(Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

11.20.170 Administrative modifications – Variances from standards.

A.    Administrative Modifications – Generally. As a result of special difficulties associated with:

1.    Matching potential wireless communication facility sites with adjacent properties;

2.    Prescribing generally the appropriate level of compatibility with land uses on other properties in the vicinity; and

3.    The variability of conditions where a wireless communication facility may present a potential hazard or produce an adverse impact on adjacent land uses or on the community in general, the development standards contained herein establish basic parameters for compliance which may be varied from by administrative modification.

B.    Basis for Administrative Modification. In cases where the final approval authority finds that strict adherence to height, size, setback, separation, or other standards for communications antennas and towers:

1.    Precludes effective transmission or reception of signals; or

2.    Results in conditions contrary to the purposes of communication antennas and tower regulations specified in TMC 11.20.010(B) or otherwise renders compliance impractical; or

3.    Creates unnecessary hardship to the owners or users of lands or buildings or providers of wireless communications services, then the final approval authority may approve an administrative modification varying from requirements and standards.

C.    Final Approval Authority.

1.    Accessory Wireless Communication Antennas. Final approval authority for administrative modification of accessory wireless communication antennas is the community development director based on findings of the development review committee after completion of a feasibility review.

2.    Attached Wireless Communication Facilities. Final approval authority for administrative modification of an attached wireless communication facility is the community development director based on findings of the development review committee after completion of administrative site plan review.

3.    Freestanding Wireless Communication Facilities. Final approval authority for administrative modification of a freestanding wireless communication facility is the Tumwater hearing examiner based on findings from a public hearing on a conditional use permit, except in industrial zone districts. In the LI (light industrial), HI (heavy industrial), and ARI (airport related industry), the final approval authority is the community development director based on findings of the development review committee after completion of administrative site plan review.

D.    Scope of Administrative Modifications. The administrative modification process for communication antennas and towers applies to:

1.    Height, size, or use limits described in TMC 11.20.070(B) for accessory wireless communication antennas; or

2.    Setbacks, maximum height, size, or separation requirements for attached and freestanding wireless communication facilities; or

3.    Any other location standard, colocation requirement, or other regulatory provisions of this chapter, when considered in conjunction with applicant’s site specific request, where the final approval authority finds such provisions inconsistent with purposes of these regulations or contrary to requirements of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Approval of a request for administrative modification shall be narrowly construed and shall be based on an evaluation of the operational needs of the wireless communications provider, alternative locations, alternative existing facilities upon which a proposed antenna array might be located, and colocation opportunities on existing support towers within one mile of the proposed site. Evidence shall demonstrate that no practical alternative is reasonably available to the applicant.

E.    Necessary Findings for Granting of an Administrative Modification. An administrative modification may be granted by the final approval authority for communications antennas and towers upon findings of fact, as follows:

1.    Nonresidential Properties. Antennas or towers on properties zoned NC (neighborhood commercial), MU (mixed use), GC (general commercial), CD (commercial development), CS (community services), ARI (airport related industry), LI (light industrial), or HI (heavy industrial) may exceed applicable limits contained herein by administrative modification based on findings of each of the following that a proposed antenna, tower, and related structures or equipment:

a.    Is the least height and proximity to adjacent properties necessary to provide the coverage by the communications service provider and to achieve the purposes of TMC 11.20.010(B); and

b.    Employs all reasonable measures to provide visual mitigation that screen the facility from views of adjacent residences or undeveloped residential properties; and

c.    Will not produce noise, vibration, odors, or illumination which will adversely impact other properties in the vicinity; and

d.    By means of design or location, does not present a hazard to adjacent properties; and

e.    Does not penetrate imaginary airspace surfaces as defined by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 77. A map that provides detailed information on ground and imaginary airspace surface elevations is available for inspection in the community development department.

f.    For reductions of setbacks for freestanding towers and antennas, the structure is designed and engineered, in the event of structural failure, not to fall beyond the radius of the reduced setback; and

g.    Does not otherwise result in significant adverse impact on the property on which the facility is located, on other properties in the vicinity, or on the community in general.

2.    Residential Properties. Antennas or towers on properties zoned RSR (residential/sensitive resource), SFL (single-family low density), SFM (single-family medium density), MFM (multifamily medium density), or MFH (multifamily high density) may exceed applicable limits contained herein by administrative modification based on findings of each of the following that a proposed antenna, tower, and related structure or equipment:

a.    Each of the above findings necessary for facilities in nonresidential districts applies; and provided further, that

b.    The final approval authority may hold the applicant for an administrative modification at a proposed site in a residential zone to a higher standard than in nonresidential zones to demonstrate visual mitigation, elimination of potential adverse impacts, and protection of health and safety necessary to preserve the residential character of the vicinity.

(Ord. O2011-002, Amended, 03/01/2011; Ord. O2004-009, Amended, 12/07/2004; Ord. O97-018, Added, 06/17/1997)

Figure 11.20.020-1

Figure 11.20.030-1

Zoning Ordinance (TMC Title 18) Provisions for Permitted Uses, Accessory Uses, and Conditional
Uses in Tumwater Zoning Districts Regarding Uses of Various Categories of Communications Towers and Antennas

ZONING CODE SECTION

ZONE DISTRICT

TUMWATER MUNICIPAL CODE TITLE 18: ZONING ORDINANCE DISTRICT DESCRIPTION

ACCESSORY ANTENNAS

ATTACHED FACILITIES

FREESTANDING FACILITIES

§ 18.08

RSR

Residential/Sensitive Resource

A

P

C

§ 18.10

SFL

Single-Family Low Density

A

P

C

§ 18.12

SFM

Single-Family Medium Density

A

P

C

§ 18.14

MFM

Multifamily Medium Density

A

P

C

§ 18.16

MFH

Multifamily High Density

A

P

C

§ 18.18

NC

Neighborhood Commercial

A

P

C

§ 18.19

CS

Community Services

A

P

C

§ 18.20

MU

Mixed Use

A

P

C

§ 18.21

CD

Commercial Development

A

P

C

§ 18.22

GC

General Commercial

A

P

C

§ 18.24

LI

Light Industrial

A

P

P

§ 18.25

HI

Heavy Industrial

A

P

P

§ 18.34

AR

Airport Related Industry

A

P

P

§ 18.26

HC

Historic Commercial

A*

§ 18.28

BP

Business Park

A

P

C

§ 18.30

GB

Greenbelt

A

§ 18.31

OS

Open Space

A

OVERLAY DISTRICTS

§ 18.32

AP

Airport Overlay

n/a

n/a

n/a

§ 18.36

PUD

Planned Unit Development Overlay

n/a

n/a

n/a

§ 18.38

FP

Floodplain Overlay

n/a

n/a

n/a

§ 18.39

AQP

Aquifer Protection Overlay

n/a

n/a

n/a

A = accessory use    P = permitted use C = conditional use

*Uses in HC zone require compliance with “development regulations” in TMC 18.26.040.

(Amended during 2011 reformat)