Chapter 17.69
WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES AND SATELLITE DISH ANTENNAS

Sections:

17.69.010    Purpose.

17.69.020    Exemptions.

17.69.030    Development Standards (All Property Other Than City Right-Of-Way).

17.69.035    Development Standards (City Right-of Way).

17.69.040    Abandonment.

17.69.050    Additional Submittal Requirements.

17.69.060    Satellite Dish Antennas.

17.69.010 Purpose.

It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to regulate wireless communications facilities in order to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the City and to establish reasonable and uniform regulations to properly review and construct public wireless communications facilities in the City, thereby reducing or eliminating any adverse effects from such facilities. The provisions of the chapter have neither the purpose nor effect of imposing a limitation or restriction on the activity nor the operation of such facilities. However, regulating the aesthetics of wireless communications facilities is a core objective. (Ord. 13-8 § 4 (Exh. A), 6/11/13)

17.69.020 Exemptions.

A.    Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, the following uses shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter until such time as Federal regulations are repealed or amended to eliminate the necessity of the exemption:

1.    Any antenna structure that is one (1) meter (thirty-nine and thirty-seven-hundredths (39.37) inches) or less in diameter and is designed to receive direct broadcast satellite service, including direct-to-home satellite service, as defined by Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and any interpretive decisions thereof issued by the Federal Communications Commission; and

2.    Any antenna structure that is two (2) meters (seventy-eight and seventy-four-hundredths (78.74) inches) or less in diameter, is designed to transmit or receive radio communication by satellite antenna, and is located in commercial or industrial zones within the City; and

3.    Any antenna structure that is one (1) meter (thirty-nine and thirty-seven-hundredths (39.37) inches) or less in diameter or diagonal measurement and is designed to receive multipoint distribution service, as defined by Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and Section 1.400 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations; provided, that no part of the antenna structure extends more than twelve (12) feet above the principal building on the same lot.

B.    The following uses shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter at all times; provided, that structures meet the setback requirements of the underlying zone:

1.    Any antenna structure that is designed to receive over-the-air UHF and/or VHF television broadcast transmission.

2.    Any antenna structure that is designed to receive over-the-air AM and/or FM radio broadcast transmission.

3.    Any antenna structure that is used by authorized amateur radio stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. (Ord. 13-8 § 4 (Exh. A), 6/11/13)

17.69.030 Development Standards (All Property Other Than City Right-Of-Way).

All wireless communications facilities which are installed, erected, or modified following the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter (besides those exempted in Section 17.69.020 (Exemptions)) shall conform to the following requirements:

A.    General Wireless Communications Facilities Standards.

1.    Wireless communications facilities shall not bear any signs or advertising devices other than certification, warning, or other required seals or required signage.

2.    No permittee shall unreasonably restrict access to an existing antenna location if required to co-locate by the City, and if feasible to do so.

3.    All antennas shall be designed to prevent unauthorized climbing.

B.    Aesthetic and Screening Standards.

1.    All facilities shall be screened from public view by landscaping to the extent possible.

2.    Public wireless communications facilities shall be located where the existing topography, vegetation, building, or other structures provide the greatest amount of screening.

3.    All building and roof-mounted wireless telecommunications facilities and antennas shall be designed to appear as an integral part of the structure and located to minimize visual impacts.

4.    All antennas and support structures shall be painted and/or textured to achieve architectural compatibility with the structures for which they are attached and/or located. If ground-mounted, the antenna and support structure shall be painted, textured, landscaped or otherwise camouflaged as much as possible to integrate the structure into the environment.

5.    All accessory equipment associated with the operation of the public wireless communication facility shall be located within a building, enclosure or underground vault that complies with the development standards of the zoning district in which the accessory equipment is located. If the equipment is to be located above ground, it shall be visually compatible with the surrounding buildings and include sufficient landscaping to screen the structure from view.

6.    Wireless communications facilities shall have subdued colors and nonreflective materials which blend with surrounding materials and colors.

7.    All screening for building-mounted facilities shall be compatible with the existing architecture, color, texture and/or materials of the building.

8.    All electrical support equipment located within cabinets, shelters or similar structures shall be screened from public view with lattice, vegetation, grading or other appropriate screening. Roof-mounted electrical support equipment shall be concealed.

9.    The placement of new antennas and facilities shall not be physically obstructive or visually intrusive.

10.    All ground-mounted facilities shall be designed to be consistent with the design, color and environmental aesthetics in the area where they are located to mitigate visual impacts.

C.    Siting Standards.

1.    Antennas may be located on existing utility poles provided the antennas do not exceed the height of the utility pole.

2.    All antennas shall meet the minimum siting distances to habitable structures required for compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations and standards governing the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions.

D.    Noise Standards.

1.    Within residential zones and properties adjacent to residential zones, sound proofing measures shall be used to reduce noise caused by the operation of wireless facilities and all accessory equipment to a level which would have a no-net increase in ambient noise level.

2.    All wireless communications facilities and accessory wireless facility equipment shall comply with the applicable provisions of the City’s noise ordinance.

E.    Development Guidelines. Public wireless communications facilities should conform to the following development guidelines unless the approving authority determines, in its discretion, that sufficient justification exists to the contrary:

1.    Co-located with other public wireless communications facilities;

2.    On existing structures such as buildings, communication towers, church steeples and utility facilities;

3.    Stealth facilities, flush-mounted and concealed antennas should be used whenever possible;

4.    In industrial/business park zoning districts;

5.    In commercial zoning districts;

6.    No antenna or facility should be located within five hundred (500) feet from a lot containing a residential structure or a lot zoned for residential use unless a conditional use permit is approved. Co-located facilities shall be subject to a minor use permit;

7.    Ground-mounted facilities should be located only in close proximity to existing above-ground utilities, such as electrical tower or utility poles (which are not scheduled for removal or undergrounding in the next eighteen (18) months), light poles, trees of comparable heights, water tanks and in areas where they will not detract from the image of the City;

8.    Major public wireless communications facilities are encouraged to locate beyond five hundred (500) feet of any existing, legally established major public or private wireless communication facility except when co-located on the same building or structure;

9.    Applicants proposing new wireless telecommunications facilities must demonstrate that reasonable efforts have been made to locate on existing facilities. The applicant must provide written documentation of all efforts to co-locate the proposed facility on an existing facility, or antenna-mounting structure, including copies of letters or other correspondence sent to other carriers or tower owners requesting such location and any responses received. This should include information on lack of existing towers in the area, topography, frequency or signal interference, line of site problems and available land zoning restrictions as applicable;

10.    All new wireless communications facilities shall be designed to accommodate co-location, when feasible.

a.    Co-location shall occur in a competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory manner.

b.    No more than three (3) wireless communications facilities may co-locate at a single site unless the approving authority finds:

i.    The net visual effect of locating an additional facility at a co-location site will be less than establishing a new location; or

ii.    Based on evidence submitted by the applicant, there is no available feasible alternate location for a proposed new facility;

11.    In order to encourage co-location of wireless telecommunications facilities and maintain community aesthetics, applicants for conditional use permit or to install a tower or antenna mounting structure at the time of original application submittal may request subsequent applicants to be co-located on the same facility. Should the applicant make such a request, the following shall be provided:

a.    Documentation identifying the total capacity of the structure, including the number and type of antennas that can be accommodated over the life of the project,

b.    Written statement of willingness to lease space on proposed support structure to other uses,

c.    Reciprocal access agreement for accessory facilities, including but not limited to, poles, towers, parking areas, access roads, utilities and equipment buildings.

Upon approval of a conditional use permit by the approving authority, the Director may approve a subsequent request to co-locate on the same facility as a minor use permit where no increase in height is proposed. Unless the facility is located in a residential zone or within five hundred (500) feet of a lot containing a residential structure or use, which shall require a conditional use permit;

12.    Facilities that mimic building architecture (church steeples, clock towers, tented windows, building treatments) in their immediate vicinity are encouraged;

13.    Monopoles, monopalms, monopines and similar facilities are discouraged.

F.    Co-locations and Modifications on All Property Other Than City Right-of-Way. For the purpose of proposed co-locations and modifications, a “substantial change” shall mean any of the following as applied to an existing wireless communications facility on all property other than City right-of-way.

1.    Wireless Tower.

a.    Height.

i.    The proposed co-location or modification would increase the height by more than ten percent (10%) of the height of the existing wireless tower; or

ii.    The height of one (1) additional antenna array would be more than twenty (20) feet above the height of the nearest existing antenna (whichever is greater).

b.    Width.

i.    The proposed co-location or modification would protrude from the edge of the tower more than twenty (20) feet; or

ii.    The proposed co-location or modification would protrude more than the width of the tower structure at the level of the appurtenance (whichever is greater).

2.    Base Station.

a.    Height. The proposed co-location or modification would increase the height of the base station more than ten percent (10%) or ten (10) feet (whichever is greater) above the originally approved height.

b.    Width. The proposed co-location or modification would protrude from the edge of the originally approved structure by more than six (6) feet.

3.    The proposed co-location or modification would involve more than the standard number of new equipment cabinets for the technology involved, but not to exceed four (4) equipment cabinets.

4.    A proposal that includes excavation or deployment of equipment outside the current wireless communications facility site. For the purposes of this provision, “outside of the current wireless communications facility site” means:

a.    Outside the boundaries of the controlled, leased or owned property surrounding the wireless tower and base station and any access or utility easements related to the site as shown on the approved plans with respect to a facility outside of a public right-of-way; and

b.    Outside the proximity of the footprint of the existing ground-mounted transmission equipment with respect to a facility that extends into the public right-of-way.

5.    A proposal to alter or expand the exterior of any wireless communications facility or base station that was originally approved as stealth or camouflaged that defeats the originally approved stealth or camouflaged design elements. For the purposes of this provision, the term “defeat” means to change a stealth or camouflaged wireless communications facility in such a manner so that it may no longer be considered stealth or camouflaged.

6.    The proposed co-location or modification would violate an existing condition of approval, unless the noncompliance is due to an increase in height, increase in width, addition of cabinets, new excavation, or aesthetic change that does not exceed the corresponding “substantial change” thresholds identified in subsections (F)(1) through (5) of this section with respect to a wireless tower or base station.

7.    Any proposed co-location or modification that would constitute a “substantial change” under Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, as it may be amended, as such term is defined or interpreted by any rule, order, ruling, or other decision of the FCC or decision of a court with jurisdiction over the area of the City.

8.    A proposal that would prevent or obstruct full implementation of the City’s standard street or parkway sections.

9.    A proposal that would alter required access, parking, or landscaping from that shown on the approved site plans.

10.    A proposal to replace the wireless tower or foundation.

11.    A proposal to alter the width, bulk, or arrangement of a wireless communications facility that may violate any law, rule, regulation, or other requirement intended to protect public health and safety. (Ord. 13-8 § 4 (Exh. A), 6/11/13; Ord. 15-11 § 5 (Exh. A), 12/8/15)

17.69.035 Development Standards (City Right-of Way).

All wireless communications facilities which are installed, erected, co-located, or modified within City right-of-way following the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter (besides those exempted in Section 17.69.020 (Exemptions)) shall conform to the following requirements:

A.    General Wireless Communications Facilities Standards.

1.    Wireless communications facilities shall not bear any signs or advertising devices other than certification, warning, or other required seals or required signage.

2.    No permittee shall unreasonably restrict access to an existing antenna location if required to co-locate by the City, and if feasible to do so.

3.    All antennas shall be designed to prevent unauthorized climbing.

4.    All antennas shall meet the minimum siting distances to habitable structures required for compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations and standards governing the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions.

B.    Wireless Communications Facilities within City Right-of-Way. The following procedures and design standards shall be required for issuance of a public works encroachment permit for the installation of wireless telecommunications facilities within City rights-of-way. These criteria are intended to guide and facilitate applicants in locating and designing facilities and supporting equipment in a manner that will be compatible with the purpose, intent, and goals of this section. It is the intent of the City to use its time, place, and manner authority to protect and preserve the aesthetics of the City and the health and safety of pedestrians and occupants of vehicles in City rights-of-way.

1.    Permit and Insurance Required. Installation of wireless communications facilities within City rights-of-way will be permitted subject to issuance of an encroachment permit and payment of applicable permit fees. The City Engineer or his designee will review and approve encroachment permit applications from carriers which hold a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), subject to the criteria contained in this section. A certificate of general liability insurance and commercial automobile liability insurance in a form and amount acceptable to the City must be submitted prior to issuance of the permit, and maintained for as long as the facilities exist within the City right-of-way.

2.    Design Standards.

a.    Location. Facilities may be located on major highways, secondary highways, limited secondary highways, collector streets or local streets with no direct residential access, as defined by the General Plan. Facilities shall be prohibited within two hundred fifty (250) feet of any parcel of land zoned or used for residential habitation and shall not be permitted on any local street or local/collector street within a residential area which provides direct residential driveway access unless location of a facility on private property is not feasible to address a demonstrated significant gap in coverage. Encroachment permits will not be issued for proposed facilities which:

i.    Conflict with existing utilities;

ii.    Interfere with traffic visibility;

iii.    Result in vehicular access problems;

iv.    Result in a safety hazard;

v.    Interfere with existing or future City use of the right-of-way; and

vi.    Are inconsistent with Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements or any other State or Federal law, code, or regulation.

b.    Undergrounding of Equipment. To preserve community aesthetics, all facility equipment, excluding antennas, above ground vents, and the smallest possible electrical meter boxes, shall, to the greatest extent possible, be required to be located underground, flush to the finished grade, shall be fully enclosed, and not cross property lines. Equipment may include, but is not limited to, the following: meter pedestals, fiber optic nodes, radio remote units or heads, power filters, cables, cabinets, vaults, junction or power boxes, and gas generators. Wherever possible, electrical meter boxes related to wireless communications facilities shall be appropriately screened, not visible to the general public, and located in less prominent areas within the public right-of-way. Where it can be demonstrated that undergrounding of equipment is infeasible due to conflict with other utilities, the City Engineer may approve alternative above-grade equipment mounting, including pole mounting as described in subsection (B)(3)(g) of this section, when adequately screened from public view. Any approved above-grade equipment must be located so as not to cause any physical or visual obstruction to pedestrian or vehicular traffic, or to otherwise inconvenience public use of the right-of-way, or create safety hazards to pedestrians or motorists.

c.    Within residential zones, and properties adjacent to residential zones, sound proofing measures shall be used to reduce noise caused by the operation of wireless communications facilities and all accessory equipment to a level which would have a no-net increase in ambient noise level.

3.    Antennas and Other Pole-Mounted Equipment. Antennas located above ground on an existing joint utility pole, as defined by CPUC General Order 95 Section II, shall conform to the following criteria:

a.    Facilities installed on existing utility poles or street lights shall be appropriately scaled and aesthetically designed such that the new facility is not substantially larger, more obtrusive, or more readily visible than the existing facilities or utility devices affixed to utility poles in the immediate vicinity of the proposed installation.

b.    No more than one (1) antenna array may be attached to a utility or street light pole unless it is a co-location.

c.    An antenna enclosure attached to a utility or street light pole shall be cylindrical in shape, and shall not have a diameter greater than thirty-six (36) inches, or the width of the pole, whichever is greater.

d.    An antenna enclosure shall be attached directly to the top of the pole or mounted around the main pole circumference. Antenna enclosures shall not be mounted perpendicular to the main pole structure and shall not be mounted on cross members or outrigger structures extending from the main pole.

e.    Antennas may not exceed six (6) feet above the pole tip height, unless additional separation is required for conformance with CPUC General Order 95 clearance requirements.

f.    No portion of the antenna or transmission equipment mounted on a pole may be less than sixteen (16) feet above any road surface.

g.    Pole-mounted equipment, other than the antenna, may not exceed six (6) cubic feet in volume and must be compatible in structure, scale, color and proportion to the existing street light or utility pole equipment.

h.    No new poles may be installed except as replacements for existing poles.

i.    No poles may be installed on a public right-of-way where there are presently no overhead utility facilities unless the CPUC has authorized the applicant to install such facilities and the applicant demonstrates that no other feasible options exist.

j.    All wireless communications facilities mounted on a utility pole must comply with CPUC General Order 95, as it may be amended.

k.    All facilities may only have subdued colors and nonreflective materials that blend with the surrounding area.

l.    Conduits shall not be exposed and must be concealed within the support pole.

C.    Additional Modification Standards. The following additional development and design standards apply to co-location and modifications to existing wireless communications facilities:

1.    The co-location of facilities, and support equipment, located in the public right-of-way, shall be disfavored if that co-location substantially changes the physical dimensions of the facility or if the co-location reduces the existing camouflage or does not match the existing facility. For the purposes of this section, a substantial change in the physical dimensions of a wireless tower or base shall be measured against the wireless tower or base station as originally approved. The intent of this provision is to disfavor serial changes that cumulatively constitute a substantial change to the physical dimensions of the wireless communications facility.

2.    The modified facility must comply with all applicable approvals and conditions of the permit for the host wireless communications facility.

3.    The stealth or camouflage techniques approved and used for the existing wireless communications facility must be extended to all proposed new transmission equipment. (Ord. 15-11 § 5 (Exh. A), 12/8/15)

17.69.040 Abandonment.

Lawfully erected public wireless communications facilities that are no longer being used shall be removed from the premises no later than ninety (90) days after the discontinuation of use. A public wireless communication facility is considered abandoned if it no longer provides wireless communication service. Such removal shall be in accordance with proper health and safety requirements.

A.    A written notice of the determination of abandonment shall be sent or delivered to the operator of the public wireless communication facility and the property owner. The operator shall have thirty (30) days, from the date of the notice, to remove the facility or provide the Director with evidence that the use has not been discontinued.

B.    All facilities determined to be abandoned and not removed within the required thirty (30) day period from the date of notice shall be in violation of the code, and operators of the facility and the owners of the property shall be subject to penalties for violations under the enforcement and penalties provisions of the code. (Ord. 13-8 § 4 (Exh. A), 6/11/13)

17.69.050 Additional Submittal Requirements.

A.    As part of the application process, applicants for wireless communications facilities shall be required to provide a master plan that identifies the location of the proposed facility and all existing and potential facilities maintained by the applicant within the City of Santa Clarita.

1.    The master plan shall reflect all potential locations that are anticipated for system build-out within a minimum of one (1) year with application submittal.

2.    Applicants shall update master plans with every application while wireless telecommunications facilities are owned or operated within the City of Santa Clarita.

B.    As a part of the application submittal, applicants for a wireless communications facility shall be required to submit a radio frequency emissions study and confirmation that proposed facility will meet Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations and standards governing the environmental effects of radio frequency (EMF) emissions.

C.    As part of the application submittal, applicants for a wireless communications facility shall be required to submit a minimum of three (3) photo simulations from various locations in the proposed project’s vicinity, depicting the existing view and proposed changes to the visual environment.

D.    As part of the application submittal, applicants for a wireless communications facility shall be required to submit propagation maps, depicting the existing and proposed cellular reception coverage at and around the project site.

E.    As part of the application process, applicants for public wireless communications facilities shall be required to provide written documentation demonstrating a good faith effort to locate facilities in accordance with the development guidelines (Section 17.69.030(E) (Development Standards)). (Ord. 13-8 § 4 (Exh. A), 6/11/13; Ord. 15-11 § 5 (Exh. A), 12/8/15)

17.69.060 Satellite Dish Antennas.

Satellite dish antennas shall conform to the following requirements:

A.    The height of dish antennas shall be measured from the highest point of the finished grade adjacent to the structure if ground-mounted or from the point of mounting if roof-mounted.

B.    All dish antennas shall be treated as accessory structures and shall meet the height and setback requirements of the respective zone.

C.    Architectural review shall be required for all dish antennas in excess of six (6) feet in diameter and/or height.

D.    In commercial, industrial and business zones dish antennas may be roof-mounted or ground-mounted. In either case, all dish antennas located within these zones, regardless of height or diameter, shall be screened from (1) on-site parking areas, (2) adjacent public streets and (3) adjacent residentially zoned property. Roof-mounted dish antennas shall be screened architecturally, while ground-mounted dish antennas shall be screened architecturally or with landscaping. (Ord. 13-8 § 4 (Exh. A), 6/11/13)