Chapter 5.32
TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITY AND ANTENNA CRITERIA

Sections:

5.32.010    Purpose.

5.32.020    Definitions.

5.32.030    General requirements.

5.32.040    Exempt from city review.

5.32.050    Registration required.

5.32.060    Prohibited facilities.

5.32.070    Permits.

5.32.080    Minimum application requirements.

5.32.090    Life of permits.

5.32.100    Co-located and multiple-user facilities.

5.32.110    Structural, design and environmental standards.

5.32.120    NIER exposure.

5.32.130    Enforcement.

5.32.140    Penalty.

5.32.150    Appeal procedures.

5.32.010 Purpose.

The purpose and intent of this chapter is to provide a uniform and comprehensive set of standards for the development and installation of telecommunication and related facilities. The regulations contained herein are designed to protect and promote public health, safety, community welfare and the aesthetic quality of Sonoma as set forth within the goals, objectives and policies of the Sonoma general plan, while at the same time not unduly restricting the development of needed telecommunications facilities and encouraging managed development of telecommunications infrastructure.

It is furthermore intended that the city shall apply these regulations to accomplish the following:

A. Ensure against the creation of visual blight within or along the city’s scenic corridors;

B. Protect the inhabitants of Sonoma from the possible adverse health effects associated with exposure to levels of NIER (nonionizing electromagnetic radiation) in excess of recognized national standards;

C. Ensure that a competitive and broad range of telecommunications services and high quality telecommunications infrastructure are provided to serve the community, as well as serve as an important and effective part of Sonoma’s emergency response network; and

D. Simplify and shorten the process for obtaining necessary permits for telecommunication facilities while at the same time protecting the legitimate interests of Sonoma citizens. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.020 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms and phrases shall have the meaning ascribed to them in this section:

A. “Antenna” means any system of wires, poles, rods, reflecting discs, or similar devices used for the transmission or reception of electromagnetic waves when such system is either external to or attached to the exterior of a structure. Antennas shall include devices having active elements extending in any direction, and directional beamtype arrays having elements carried by and disposed from a generally horizontal boom that may be mounted upon and rotated through a vertical mast or tower interconnecting the boom and antenna support, all of which elements are deemed to be a part of the antenna;

B. “Antenna – Building mounted” means any antenna, other than an antenna with its supports resting on the ground, directly attached or affixed to a building, tank, tower, building mounted mast less than 10 feet tall and six inches in diameter, or structure other than a telecommunication tower;

C. “Antenna – Ground mounted” means any antenna with its base placed directly on the ground or a mast less than 10 feet tall and six inches in diameter;

D. “Antenna – Vertical” means a vertical type antenna without horizontal cross-sections greater than one-half inch in diameter;

E. “Inhabited areas” means any residence, any other structure regularly occupied by people, or any outdoor area used by people on a regular basis;

F. “NIER” means nonionizing electromagnetic radiation (i.e., electromagnetic radiation primarily in the visible; infrared, and radio frequency portions of the electromagnetic spectrum);

G. “Public service use or facility” means a use operated or used by a public body or public utility in connection with any of the following services: water, waste water management, public education, parks and recreation, fire and police protection, solid waste management, or utilities;

H. “Quasi-public use” means a use serving the public at large, and operated by a private entity under a franchise or other similar governmental authority designed to promote the interests of the general public or operated by a recognized civic organization for the benefit of the general public;

I. “Readily visible” means an object that stands out as a prominent feature of the landscape when viewed with the naked eye;

J. “Satellite dish” means any device incorporating a reflective surface that is solid, open mesh, or bar configured that is shallow dish, cone, horn, or cornucopia shaped and is used to transmit and/or receive electromagnetic signals. This definition is meant to include, but is not limited to, what are commonly referred to as satellite earth stations, TVROs and satellite microwave antennas;

K. “Silhouette” means a representation of the outline of the towers and antenna associated with a telecommunication facility, as seen from an elevation perspective;

L. “Structure ridgeline” means the line along the top of a roof, or along the top of a structure if it has no roof;

M. “Telecommunication facility” means a facility that transmits and/or receives electromagnetic signals. It includes antennas, microwave dishes, horns, and other types of equipment for the transmission or receipt of such signals, telecommunication towers or similar structures supporting said equipment, equipment buildings, parking area, and other accessory development;

N. “Telecommunication facility – Co-located” means a telecommunication facility comprised of a single telecommunication tower or building supporting one or more antennas, dishes, or similar devices owned or used by more than one public or private entity;

O. “Telecommunication facility – Commercial” means a telecommunication facility that is operated primarily for a business purpose or purposes;

P. “Telecommunication facility – Multiple users” means a telecommunication facility comprised of multiple telecommunication towers or buildings supporting one or more antennas owned or used by more than one public or private entity;

Q. “Telecommunications facility – Noncommercial” means a telecommunication facility that is operated solely for a nonbusiness purpose;

R. “Telecommunications towers” means a mast, pole, monopole, guyed tower, lattice tower, free-standing tower, or other structure designed and primarily used to support antennas. A ground or building mounted mast less than 10 feet tall and six inches in diameter supporting a single antenna shall not be considered a telecommunications tower. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.030 General requirements.

The following requirements shall be met for all telecommunications facilities in any zoning district:

A. Any applicable general plan goals, objectives, programs and policies, specific plan, PUD standards, design guidelines, and the permit requirements of any agencies which have jurisdiction over the project;

B. All the requirements established by the other chapters of the Sonoma Municipal Code and Sonoma zoning ordinance, as amended, which are not in conflict with the requirements contained in this chapter;

C. The Uniform Building Code, National Electrical Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, Uniform Mechanical Code, and Uniform Fire Code, as amended, where applicable;

D. Any applicable easements or similar restrictions on the subject property;

E. Telecommunication facilities, with the exception of those exempt from city review, shall not be located in any required yard setback area of the zoning district in which it is located with the exception of possible encroachment of the antenna array into airspace over said setback;

F. All setbacks shall be measured from the base of the tower or structure closest to the applicable property line or structure;

G. All telecommunication facilities shall comply at all times with all FCC rules, regulations, and standards;

H. All telecommunication facilities shall maintain in place a security program, when determined necessary by and subject to the review and approval of the police chief, that will prevent unauthorized access and vandalism;

I. Satellite dish and parabolic antennas shall be situated as close to the ground as possible to reduce visual impact without compromising their function. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.040 Exempt from city review.

The following shall be permitted without city approvals; provided that: (1) the primary use of the property is not a telecommunications facility and that the antenna use is accessory to the primary use of the property; and (2) no more than one support structure in excess of 40 feet for licensed amateur radio operators, or one satellite dish, is allowed on the parcel:

A. A single ground- or building-mounted receive-only radio or television antenna not exceeding 35 feet, including any mast, or a receive-only radio or television satellite dish antenna, not exceeding 36 inches in diameter or exceeding the height of the ridgeline of the primary structure on said parcel, for the sole use of the tenant occupying a residential parcel on which said antenna is located;

B. Mobile services providing public information coverage of news events of a temporary nature;

C. All citizens band radio antenna or antenna operated by a federally licensed amateur radio operator as part of the Amateur Radio Service which existed at the time of the adoption of this ordinance;

D. A ground- or building-mounted citizens band radio antenna, including any mast, or a ground-, building- or tower-mounted antenna operated by a federally licensed amateur radio operator as part of the Amateur Radio Service, subject to the following requirements:

1. Antennas installed on, or attached to, any existing building or other structure may be installed without a permit of any kind when the height of the antenna and its supporting tower, pole or mast does not exceed a height of 30 feet above the highest part of the building or structure to which it is attached;

2. Antennas installed on, or attached to, any existing building or other structure will be subject to the application for and issuance of a conditional use permit and a building permit when the height of the antenna and its supporting tower, pole or mast exceeds a height of 30 feet above the highest part of the building or structure to which it is attached;

3. Free standing antennas (not supported on or attached to a building) and their supporting towers, poles or masts may be installed without a building permit when the overall height of the antennas and their supporting structures do not exceed a height of 40 feet above the grade level at the site of the installation, excluding vertical antennas;

4. Free standing antennas and their supporting towers, poles or masts may be installed, subject only to the issuance of a building permit, when the overall height of the antennas and their supporting structure exceeds 40 feet and does not exceed a height of 80 feet;

5. Free standing antennas, including vertical antennas, and their supporting towers, poles or masts over 80 feet will be subject to the application for and issuance of a conditional use permit and a building permit.

The engineering data and drawings supplied in a reproduced form by the tower and/or antenna manufacturer that address the intended installation method shall be considered sufficient engineering drawings and studies to meet all applicable building code requirements for issuance of a permit.

Any free standing antenna must comply with all applicable setback ordinances. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.050 Registration required.

A. All telecommunications carriers and providers that offer or provide any telecommunications services for a fee directly to the public, either within the city of Sonoma, or outside the corporate limits from telecommunications facilities within the city, shall register with the city pursuant to this article on forms to be provided by the community development director. The purpose of registration under this section is to:

1. Provide the city with accurate and current information concerning the telecommunications carriers and providers who offer or provide telecommunications services within the city, or that own or operate telecommunication facilities with the city;

2. Assist the city in enforcement of this chapter;

3. Assist the city in the collection and enforcement of any license fees or charges that may be due the city; and

4. Assist the city in monitoring compliance with local, state and federal laws.

B. Information Required. The following registration information shall be required for all applications:

1. The identity and legal status of the registrant, including any affiliates;

2. The name, address and telephone number of the officer, agent or employee responsible for the accuracy of the registration statement;

3. A narrative and map description of registrant’s existing or proposed telecommunications facilities within the city of Sonoma;

4. A description of the telecommunications services that the registrant intends to offer or provide, or is currently offering or providing, to persons, firms, businesses or institutions within the city; and

5. Such other information as the community development director may reasonably require.

C. Registration Fee. Each application for registration as a telecommunications carrier or provider shall be accompanied by a fee as set forth by resolution of the city council.

D. Amendment. Each registrant shall inform the city within 60 days of any change of the information set forth in subsection B of this section. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.060 Prohibited facilities.

No telecommunications facilities that both transmit and receive electromagnetic signals shall be permitted in any residential zone, except for those facilities designated in SMC 5.32.040 to be exempt from city review, unless technical evidence acceptable to the planning commission is submitted showing a clear need for this facility and the infeasibility of co-locating it elsewhere. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.070 Permits.

Except for those facilities designated in SMC 5.32.040 to be exempt from city review or designated in SMC 5.32.060 to be prohibited, telecommunications facilities (including but not limited to equipment cabinets) may be located in all zones in accordance with the following procedures:

A. Conditional Use Permit.

1. Whip antennas which are less than four inches wide, have no reflector, and are no higher from the ground than 35 feet (including pole), shall be permitted on existing poles, including street lamps, subject to the approval of a use permit by the planning commission;

2. Except for proposed facilities on any of the city-owned properties identified in subsection C of this section, any other telecommunications facility (including but not limited to any related facilities) that is readily visible from any public place or residential use immediately adjacent to the proposed location shall be permitted subject to the approval of a use permit by the planning commission. The determination with regard to visibility shall be made by the planning director. Proposed facilities on any of the city-owned properties identified in subsection C of this section shall be subject only to administrative review as described in subsection B of this section.

B. Administrative Review. Any telecommunications facility that both transmits and receives electromagnetic signals (including but not limited to any related facilities), which is not readily visible to the naked eye, from any public place or residential use immediately adjacent to the proposed location, shall be permitted, subject to the approval of a zoning clearance from the planning director. Written notice of any such application shall be provided to all property owners within 100 feet of the proposed site. The determination with regard to visibility shall be made by the planning director.

C. Facilities on City-Owned Property. The city of Sonoma encourages the co-location of telecommunications facilities on the following city-owned properties, subject to administrative review; provided, that the operation of said facilities will not disrupt normal city communications or operations. The city council from time to time may establish standards, by resolution separate from the ordinance codified in this section, relative to the location of telecommunications facilities on city-owned properties.

1. City corporation yard;

2. City police station;

3. City fire station;

4. Well sites.

D. Encroachment. All telecommunications facilities shall obtain an encroachment permit from the city engineer if so required under the terms of Chapter 12.20 SMC.

E. Public Notice and Hearing. The planning commission shall conduct a public hearing on an application for a use permit as required in this chapter. Notice of the public hearing shall be provided and the hearing shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 19.88 SMC. In addition to the standard notice requirements, for applications involving the installation of a telecommunications facility on or within 500 feet of properties developed or used for recreation, education and public assembly uses, the applicant shall be responsible for verifying that additional notice has been provided to those uses as deemed necessary by the planning department. Such noticing may include, but is not limited to, on-site signs/posters, distribution of leaflets and/or direct mailings to students, student guardians, athletic teams, club members, congregants, employees or other site users. In addition, the site manager shall be notified for those sites with transient users. For purposes of this section, recreation, education and public assembly uses shall be limited to the following: parks, playgrounds, religious facilities, schools (public and private), clubs, lodges, private meeting halls, community centers, libraries, museums, theaters, auditoriums, recreational facilities, community gardens, outdoor commercial recreation, and indoor amusement/entertainment facilities. (Ord. 08-2009 § 1; Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.080 Minimum application requirements.

A. Submittal Information. For all telecommunication facilities, except exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040, the community development director shall establish and maintain a list of information that must accompany every application. Said information may include, but shall not be limited to, completed supplemental project information forms, a silhouette illustration of the facility; service area maps, network maps, alternative site analysis, NIER (nonionizing electromagnetic radiation) exposure studies, title reports identifying legal access, security considerations, lists of other nearby telecommunication facilities known to the city, master plan for all related facilities within the city limits of Sonoma and within one-quarter mile therefrom; and facility design alternatives to the proposal and deposits for peer review, if deemed necessary by the director. The community development director may release an applicant from having to provide one or more of the pieces of information on this list upon a finding that in the specific case involved said information is not necessary to process or make a decision on the application being submitted.

B. Visual Analysis. Except for exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040, the applicant shall submit a visual analysis, which may include photo montage, field mockup or other techniques, which identifies the potential visual impacts of the proposed facility. Consideration shall be given to views from public areas as well as from private residences. The analysis shall assess the cumulative impacts of the proposed facility and other existing and foreseeable telecommunication facilities in the area, and shall identify and include all feasible mitigation measures consistent with the technological requirements of the proposed telecommunication service. All costs for the visual analysis, and applicable administrative costs, shall be borne by the applicant.

C. Technical Review. The community development director is explicitly authorized at his/her discretion to employ on behalf of the city an independent technical expert to review any technical materials submitted including, but not limited to, those required under this section and in those cases where a technical demonstration of unavoidable need or unavailability of alternatives is required. The applicant shall pay all the costs of said review, including any administrative costs incurred by the city. Any proprietary information disclosed to the city or the expert hired shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to any third party. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.090 Life of permits.

A. Permit Review. A use permit or administrative approval granted pursuant to this chapter authorizing establishment of a telecommunication facility, except exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040, shall be reviewed every five years. Costs associated with the review process shall be borne by the telecommunication facility owner/provider. Grounds for revocation of the conditional use permit, pursuant to SMC 19.54.040, shall be limited to one of the following findings:

1. The use involved is no longer allowed in the applicable zoning district;

2. The facility fails to comply with the relevant requirements of this chapter as they exist at the time of renewal and the permittee has failed to supply assurances acceptable to the community development director that the facility will be brought into compliance within 120 days;

3. The permittee has failed to comply with the conditions of approval imposed;

4. The facility has not been properly maintained; or

5. The facility has not been upgraded to minimize its impact, including community aesthetics, to the greatest extent permitted by the technology that exists at the time of renewal and is consistent with the provisions of universal service at affordable rates. The grounds for appeal of denial of a renewal shall be limited to a showing that one or more of the situations listed above does in fact exist or that the notice required under SMC 5.32.090(B) was not provided.

B. Expiration. If a use permit or other entitlement for use is not renewed, it shall become null and void upon notice and hearing by the planning commission five years after it is issued or upon cessation of use for more than a year and a day, whichever comes first. Unless a new use permit or entitlement of use is issued, within 120 days thereafter all improvements installed including their foundations down to three feet (three feet below ground surface) shall be removed from the property and the site restored to its natural pre-construction state within 180 days of nonrenewal or abandonment. Any access road installed shall also be removed and the ground returned to its natural condition unless the property owner establishes to the satisfaction of the community development director that these sections of road are necessary to serve some other allowed use of the property that is permitted or is currently present or to provide access to adjoining parcels. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.100 Co-located and multiple-user facilities.

A. Alternatives Analysis. Except for exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040, an analysis shall be prepared by or on behalf of the applicant, subject to the approval of the appropriate decision making authority, which identifies all reasonable, technically feasible, alternative locations and/or facilities which would provide the proposed telecommunication service. The intention of the alternatives analysis is to present alternative strategies which would minimize the number, size, and adverse environmental impacts of facilities necessary to provide the needed services to the city. The analysis shall address the potential for co-location and the potential to locate facilities as close as possible to the intended service area. It shall also explain the rationale for selection of the proposed site in view of the relative merits of any of the feasible alternatives. Approval of the project is subject to the decision making body making a finding that the proposed site results in fewer or less severe environmental impacts than any feasible alternative site. The city may require independent verification of this analysis at the applicant’s expense.

B. Facility and Site Sharing. All co-located and multiple-user telecommunication facilities shall be designed to promote facility and site sharing. Telecommunication towers and necessary appurtenances, including but not limited to parking areas, access roads, utilities and equipment buildings, shall be shared by site users whenever possible.

C. Co-location. All facilities shall make available unused space for co-location of other telecommunication facilities, including space for these entities providing similar, competing services. Co-location is not required if the host facility can demonstrate that the addition of the new service or facilities would impair existing service or cause the host to go off-line for a significant period of time.

D. Interference. Approval for the establishment of facilities improved with an existing microwave band or other public service use or facility, which creates interference or interference is anticipated as a result of said establishment of additional facilities, shall include provisions for the relocation of said existing public use facilities. All costs associated with said relocation shall be borne by the applicant for the additional facilities. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.110 Structural, design and environmental standards.

A. Structural Requirements. A building permit shall be required for the construction, installation, repair or alteration of any support structure for communication equipment, except for the following:

1. Poles, spires, or other support structures with a diameter four inches or less, or a surface area of 16 square feet or less and not exceeding 10 feet in height;

2. Open-frame towers of trussed construction not exceeding 10 feet in height;

3. Poles, open-frame towers and other appurtenances, excluding buildings, constructed or installed by a public or private utility in the exercise of its function as a serving utility.

Exemptions from the building permit requirements shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in violation of the provisions of the technical codes or other laws or ordinances of the city of Sonoma.

B. Basic Tower and Building Design. All telecommunication facilities, except exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040, shall be designed to blend into the surrounding environment to the greatest extent feasible. To this end, all of the following measures shall be implemented:

1. Telecommunication towers shall be constructed out of metal or other nonflammable material, unless specifically conditioned by the city to be otherwise;

2. All ground-mounted telecommunication towers shall be self-supporting monopoles except where satisfactory evidence is submitted to the appropriate decision-making body that a guyed/lattice tower is required;

3. Satellite dishes other than microwave dishes shall be of mesh construction, except where technical evidence acceptable to the appropriate decision-making body is submitted showing that this is infeasible;

4. Telecommunication support facilities (i.e., vaults, equipment rooms, utilities, and equipment enclosures) shall be constructed out of nonreflective materials (visible exterior surfaces only) and shall be placed in underground vaults to the extent possible;

5. Telecommunication support facilities shall be no taller than one story (15 feet) in height, shall be designed to blend with existing architecture in the area or shall be screened from sight by mature landscaping, and shall be located or designed to minimize their visibility; and

6. All buildings, poles, towers, antenna supports, antennas, and other components of each telecommunications facility shall be initially painted and thereafter repainted as necessary with a “flat” paint. The color shall be selected by the appropriate decision-making body.

The city shall have the authority to require special design of the telecommunication facilities where findings of particular sensitivity are made (e.g., proximity to historic or aesthetically significant structures, views and/or community features).

C. Location. All telecommunication facilities shall be located so as to minimize their visibility and the number of distinct facilities present. To this end all of the following measures shall be implemented for all telecommunications facilities, except exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040:

1. No telecommunication facility shall be installed at a location where special painting or lighting will be required by the FAA regulations unless technical evidence acceptable to the community development director is submitted showing that this is the only technically feasible location for this facility;

2. No telecommunications tower shall be installed on an exposed ridgeline, a public trail, public park or other outdoor recreation area, or in property designated with a park, agricultural land, hillside, vernal pool or creek/riparian corridor on the Environmental Resources Map in the Sonoma general plan. Notwithstanding this prohibition, building-mounted antennas shall be permitted on existing facilities in these areas, subject to the approval of the community development director, who shall consider the impacts of both the antenna and any related facilities.

3. No telecommunication facility that is readily visible from off-site shall be installed on a site that is not already developed with telecommunication facilities or other public or quasi-public uses, or closer than one-half mile from another readily visible telecommunication facility unless it is a co-located facility or situated on a multiple-user site, unless technical evidence acceptable to the community development director or planning commission, as appropriate, is submitted showing a clear need for this facility and the infeasibility of co-locating it elsewhere; and

4. Proposed telecommunication towers shall be set back at least 20 percent of the tower height from all property lines and at least 100 feet from any public park or outdoor recreation area. Guy wire anchors shall be set back at least 20 feet from any property line. This section shall not apply to building-mounted antennas attached to existing facilities, but it shall apply to any related facilities associated with such antennas.

D. Height. The height of a telecommunication tower shall be measured from the natural undisturbed ground surface below the center of the base of said tower to the top of the tower itself or, if higher, to the tip of the highest antenna or piece of equipment attached thereto. In the case of building-mounted towers the height of the tower includes the height of the portion of the building on which it is mounted. In the case of “crank-up” or other similar towers whose height can be adjusted, the height of the tower shall be the maximum height to which it is capable of being raised.

E. Lighting. All telecommunication facilities shall be unlit except when authorized personnel are actually present at night, and except for exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040.

F. Roads and Parking. Except exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040, all telecommunication facilities shall be served by the minimum roads and parking areas necessary and shall use existing roads and parking areas whenever possible. Any existing roads and parking areas, if required, shall be upgraded the minimum amount necessary to meet standards specified by the fire chief and public works director.

G. Vegetation Protection and Facility Screening.

1. Except exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040, all telecommunications facilities shall be installed in such a manner so as to maintain and enhance existing native vegetation and shall include suitable mature landscaping to screen the facility, where necessary. For purposes of this section, “mature landscaping” shall mean trees, shrubs or other vegetation of a size that will provide the appropriate level of visual screening immediately upon installation.

2. No actions shall be taken subsequent to project completion with respect to the vegetation present that would increase the visibility of the facility itself or the access road and power/telecommunication lines serving it. The owner(s)/operator(s) of the facility shall be responsible for maintenance and replacement of all required landscaping.

H. Fire Prevention. All telecommunication facilities shall be designed and operated in such a manner so as to minimize the risk of igniting a fire or intensifying one that otherwise occurs. To this end all of the following measures shall be implemented for all telecommunication facilities, when determined necessary by the fire chief, except exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040:

1. At least one-hour fire resistant interior surfaces shall be used in the construction of all buildings;

2. Monitored automatic fire extinguishing systems approved by the fire chief shall be installed in all equipment buildings and enclosures;

3. Rapid entry (KNOX) systems shall be installed as required by the fire chief;

4. Type and location of vegetation, screening materials and other materials within 10 feet of the facility and all new structures, including telecommunication towers, shall have review for fire safety purposes by the fire chief. Requirements established by the fire chief shall be followed; and

5. All tree trimmings and trash generated by construction of the facility shall be removed from the property and properly disposed of prior to building permit finalization or commencement of operation, whichever comes first.

I. Environmental Resource Protection. All telecommunication facilities shall be located so as to minimize the effect on environmental resources. To that end, all facilities deemed to constitute a project as defined by CEQA shall be subject to environmental review.

J. Noise and Traffic. All telecommunication facilities shall be constructed and operated in such a manner as to minimize the amount of disruption caused to nearby properties. To that end all the following measures shall be implemented for all telecommunication facilities, except exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040:

1. Outdoor noise producing construction activities shall only take place on weekdays (Monday through Friday, nonholiday) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. unless allowed at other times by the planning commission; and

2. Backup generators shall only be operated during power outages and for testing and maintenance purposes. If the facility is located within 100 feet of a residential dwelling unit, noise attenuation measures shall be included to reduce noise levels at the facility to a maximum exterior noise level of 60 Ldn at the property line and a maximum interior noise level of 45 Ldn. Testing and maintenance shall only take place on weekdays between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

K. Visual compatibility. Facility structures and equipment shall be located, designed and screened to blend with the existing natural or built surroundings, as well as any existing supporting structures, so as to reduce visual impacts to the extent feasible. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.120 NIER exposure.

A. Public Health. No telecommunication facility shall be located or operated in such a manner that it poses, either by itself or in combination with other such facilities, a potential threat to public health. To that end no telecommunication facility or combination of facilities shall produce at any time power densities in any inhabited area that exceed the FCC-adopted standard for human exposure, as amended, or any more restrictive standard subsequently adopted or promulgated by the city, county, the state of California, or the federal government.

B. Initial Compliance with NIER Levels. Initial compliance with this requirement shall be demonstrated for any facility within 400 feet of residential uses or sensitive receptors such as schools, churches, hospitals, etc., and all broadcast radio and television facilities, regardless of adjacent land uses, through submission, at the time of application for the necessary permit or entitlement, of NIER (nonionizing electromagnetic radiation calculations) specifying NIER levels in the inhabited area where the levels produced are projected to be highest. If these calculated NIER levels exceed 80 percent of the NIER standard established by this section, the applicant shall hire a qualified electrical engineer licensed by the state of California to measure NIER levels at said location after the facility is in operation. A report of these measurements and the findings with respect to compliance with the established NIER standard shall be submitted to the community development director. Said facility shall not commence normal operations until it complies with this standard. Proof of said compliance shall be a certification provided by the engineer who prepared the original report. In order to assure the objectivity of the analysis, the city may require, at the applicant’s expense, independent verification of the results of the analysis. Because of their intermittent nature, facilities solely for personal use, such as citizens band radio antenna or antenna operated by a federally licensed amateur radio operator as part of the Amateur Radio Service, or for the incidental use of a co-located commercial activity, shall be required to comply with applicable FCC rules for NIER emissions, but they shall be routinely exempt from the submission requirements in this section unless otherwise required by the community development director.

C. Ongoing Compliance with NIER Levels. Every telecommunication facility within 400 feet of an inhabited area and all broadcast radio and television facilities shall demonstrate continued compliance with the NIER standard established by this section. Every five years a report listing each transmitter and antenna present at the facility and the effective radiated power radiated shall be submitted to the community development director. If either the equipment or effective radiated power has changed, calculations specifying NIER levels in the inhabited areas where said levels are projected to be highest shall be prepared. NIER calculations shall also be prepared every time the adopted NIER standard changes. If calculated levels in either of these cases exceed 80 percent of the standard established by this section, the operator of the facility shall hire a qualified electrical engineer licensed by the state of California to measure the actual NIER levels produced. A report of these calculations, required measurements, if any, and the author’s/engineer’s findings with respect to compliance with the current NIER standard shall be submitted to the community development director within five years of facility approval and every five years thereafter. In the case of a change in the standard, the required report shall be submitted within 90 days of the date said change becomes effective.

D. Failed Compliance. Failure to supply the required reports or to remain in continued compliance with the NIER standard established by this section shall be grounds for revocation of the use permit or other entitlement. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.130 Enforcement.

A. Standard Agreements Required. Except for exempt facilities as defined in SMC 5.32.040, a maintenance/facility removal agreement signed by the applicant and the property owner shall be submitted to the community development director prior to approval of the use permit or other entitlement for use authorizing the establishment or modification of any telecommunications facility which includes a telecommunication tower, one or more new buildings/equipment enclosures larger in aggregate than 300 square feet, more than three satellite dishes of any size, or a satellite dish larger than four feet in diameter. Said agreement shall bind the applicant and the property owner and their respective successors-in-interest to properly maintain the exterior appearance of and ultimately removal of the facility in compliance with the provisions of this chapter and any conditions of approval. It shall further bind them to pay all costs for monitoring compliance with, and enforcement of, the agreement and to reimburse the city for all costs incurred to perform any work required of the applicant by this agreement that the applicant fails to perform. It shall also specifically authorize the city and/or its agents to enter onto the property and undertake said work so long as:

1. The community development director has first provided the applicant the following written notices:

a. An initial compliance request identifying the work needed to comply with the agreement and providing the applicant at least 45 calendar days to complete it; and

b. A follow-up notice of default specifying the applicant’s failure to comply with the work within the time period specified and indicating the city’s intent to commence the required work within 10 working days.

2. The applicant has not filed an appeal pursuant to SMC 5.32.150 within 11 working days of the notice required under subsection (A)(1) above. If an appeal is filed, the city shall be authorized to enter the property and perform the necessary work only if the appeal is dismissed or final action on it is taken in favor of the city.

B. Payment Responsibility. All costs incurred by the city to undertake any work required to be performed by the applicant pursuant to the agreement referred to in SMC 5.32.050 including, but not limited to, administrative and job supervision costs, shall be borne solely by the applicant. The applicant shall deposit within 10 working days of written request therefor such costs as the city reasonably estimates or has actually incurred to complete such work. When estimates are employed, additional moneys shall be deposited as needed within 10 working days of demand to cover actual costs. The agreement shall specifically require the applicant to immediately cease operation of the telecommunication facility involved if the applicant fails to pay the moneys demanded within 10 working days. It shall further require that operation remain suspended until such costs are paid in full.

C. Agreement Fees. If the owner of the subject property declines to be a party to the standard agreement required by subsection A of this section, said agreement shall be accompanied by the payment of a fee, as established by resolution of the city council, into a trust fund established to cover expenditures for the removal, screening, enhancement or similar activities relating to the existence of telecommunication facilities within the city.

D. Agreement Stipulations. Standard agreement required by subsection A of this section shall include, but not be limited to, the following stipulations agreed to by the applicant:

1. Telecommunication facilities lessors shall be strictly liable for any and all sudden and accidental pollution and gradual pollution resulting from their use within the city of Sonoma. This liability shall include cleanup, intentional injury or damage to persons or property. Additionally, telecommunication facilities lessors shall be responsible for any sanctions, fines, or other monetary costs imposed as a result of the release of pollutants from their operations. Pollutants means any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant, include smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemicals, electromagnetic waves and waste. Waste includes materials to be recycled, reconditioned or reclaimed.

2. The telecommunication facility provider shall defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the city or any of its boards, commissions, agents, officers, and employees from any claim, action or proceeding against the city, its boards, commission, agents, officers, or employees to attack, set aside, void, or annul the approval of the project when such claim or action is brought within the time period provided for in applicable state and/or local statutes. The city shall promptly notify the provider(s) of any such claim, action or proceeding. The city shall have the option of coordinating in the defense. Nothing contained in this stipulation shall prohibit the city from participating in a defense of any claim, action, or proceeding if the city bears its own attorney’s fees and costs, and the city defends the action in good faith. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).

5.32.140 Penalty.

A. Purpose. The purpose of these regulations is to ensure compliance with this title. These provisions shall be deemed cumulative and not exclusive.

B. Official action. All departments, officials and public employees of the city vested with the authority to issue permits, certificates or licenses shall adhere to, and require conformance with, this title.

C. Inspection and right of entry. Whenever necessary to make an inspection to enforce any part of this title, or whenever there is reasonable cause to believe there exists an ordinance violation in any building or upon any premises within the jurisdiction of the city, any authorized official of the city may, upon presentation of proper credentials, enter such building or premises at all reasonable times to inspect the same or to perform any duty imposed upon him by ordinance; provided, that except in emergency situations or when consent of the owner and/or occupant to the inspection has been otherwise obtained, he shall give the owner and/or occupant, if they can be located after reasonable effort, 24 hours’ written notice of the authorized official’s intention to inspect. The notice transmitted to the owner and/or occupant shall state that the property owner has the right to refuse entry and that in the event such entry is refused, inspection may be made only upon issuance of a search warrant by a duly authorized magistrate. In the event the owner and/or occupant refuses entry after such request has been made, the official is empowered to seek assistance from any court of competent jurisdiction in obtaining such entry.

D. Abatement. Any use which is established, operated, erected, moved, altered, painted or maintained contrary to this title is unlawful and a public nuisance subject to the penalties prescribed in SMC 19.90.040. The city council may order the city attorney to commence action or proceedings for the abatement and removal of structures and the enjoinment of persons from activities contrary to the provisions of this title.

E. Civil Fine for Violation.

1. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter is liable in a civil action brought by the city attorney on behalf of the city in the amount of $5,000, but with a minimum amount of $1,000 for each such violation.

2. If two or more persons are responsible for any violation of the provisions of this chapter, they shall be jointly and severally liable for the civil penalty set forth in subsection (E)(1) of this section.

3. Amounts recovered under this section shall be deposited into a fund carried upon the financial records of the city which shall be used exclusively for the maintenance and/or removal of telecommunications facilities, including but not limited to equipment cabinets, in the city of Sonoma.

F. Criminal Penalty for Violation. A violation of any provision of this chapter is an infraction punishable by (1) a fine not exceeding $200.00 for the first violation; (2) a fine not exceeding $350.00 for a second violation within one year; (3) a fine not exceeding $500.00 for each additional violation occurring within one year.

G. Injunctions. In addition to all other actions and remedies, civil or penal, authorized by law, the city attorney is authorized to file an action in court seeking injunctive relief to enjoin a violation of any provision of this chapter or to prevent a threatened violation of any provision of this chapter. The injunctive relief sought in any such action may be prohibitory, mandatory, or both. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996; Ord. 75-5 § 1 (19-3.061 – 19-3.064), 1975).

5.32.150 Appeal procedures.

Any decision or determination made by the planning commission in the administration of this ordinance may be appealed to the city council in accordance with the procedures set forth as follows. Those same procedures shall also apply to decisions or determinations made by the staff of the community development department, except that those appeals shall be made to the planning commission.

A. Standing to Appeal. An appeal may only be made by a person or persons meeting one of the following criteria for standing:

1. The person or persons making the appeal is an applicant for a permit or other approval or action under the provisions of this ordinance;

2. The person or persons making the appeal is an owner or renter of real property within 300 feet of the site subject to the proposed application or other approval or action under the provisions of this ordinance and claims to be adversely and materially affected by said decision or action by the staff of the community development or the planning commission.

B. Timing and Manner of Appeal. All appeals shall be in writing, on the city of Sonoma’s appeal form, and in order to be deemed complete and ready for further processing, shall meet the following criteria:

1. The appeal must be filed with the city of Sonoma community development department within 11 calendar days from the date of the decision in question, unless the eleventh day falls on a weekend or city holiday, in which case the appeal deadline shall be the close of the next business day;

2. The appeal must clearly state:

a. The reasons why the appellant has standing to appeal;

b. The reasons why the decision or determination is illegal, erroneous, or arbitrary and capricious (the appellant should also, where possible, submit documentation in support of their position); and

c. The resulting action requested by the body hearing the appeal.

C. Appeal Hearing. An appeal hearing shall be a public hearing subject to the usual and customary notice procedures of the city. The date for the appeal hearing shall be set on the earliest available regular or special meeting agenda of the applicable hearing body.

D. Appeals by City Officials Prohibited. No city officer or employee, including members of the city council, planning commission or any other city commission or advisory committee appointed by the city council shall make the city a party to an appeal under this ordinance by making an appeal in either a public or private capacity, except when it can be shown that in a purely private capacity, the official or employee is clearly and materially affected by any action taken under this ordinance. (Ord. 96-23 § 1, 1996).