Chapter 18.250
COMMUNICATION TOWERS

Sections:

18.250.010    Statement of purpose.

18.250.020    Regulations.

18.250.010 Statement of purpose.

The purpose of these regulations is to establish reasonable restrictions for the siting and screening of communication towers and their related equipment in order to accommodate the growth of wireless communication systems while protecting the public against any adverse impacts on the community’s aesthetic resources and the public welfare. To balance the growth of wireless communication systems while protecting the public health, safety and welfare, these regulations establish minimum standards for construction and facility siting to minimize adverse visual effects of towers through careful design, siting, lighting and screening, avoid potential damage to adjacent properties from tower failure through engineering and appropriate siting of tower structures, encourage the joint use of any new communication tower to reduce the number of such towers needed in the future, and require the removal of abandoned towers. (Ord. 17138 § 1, 7-1-97. Code 1995 § 48-26.16.)

18.250.020 Regulations.

(a) Each application for a conditional use permit for a communication antenna or communication tower or where the same is permitted as a provisional use and where the location of the proposed communication antenna or communication tower is within the incorporated boundaries of the city, shall be accompanied by a development plan which shall include the following information:

(1) Site Development Plan. A site plan or plans drawn to scale of one inch equals 30 feet or larger and identifying the site boundary; tower(s); guy wire anchors; existing and proposed structures; vehicular parking and access; existing vegetation and proposed landscaping; and uses, structures, and land use designations on the site and abutting parcels.

(2) A report from a registered professional engineer which describes the tower’s design standards and structural capacity, including the number and type of antennas it can accommodate.

(3) A study comparing all potential host sites within an approximate one-half-mile radius of the subject site. Potential sites shall include existing structures and towers in excess of 100 feet and properties where towers are permitted under existing regulations or by conditional use permit. The study shall include a description of the surrounding sites, a discussion of the ability or inability of the site/tower to host a communications facility and the reasons why the site/tower was excluded from consideration. The planning director, the planning commission or the city council may require the review of additional sites pending review of the initial study. The applicant shall demonstrate to the city’s satisfaction that the alternative site or tower is not available due to one or more of the following reasons:

(i) Unwillingness of the owner to entertain a communications facility proposal.

(ii) Topographic limitations of the site.

(iii) Adjacent impediments that would obstruct adequate communication tower transmission.

(iv) Physical site constraints that would preclude the construction of a communication tower.

(v) Technical limitation of the system.

(vi) The planned equipment would exceed the structural capacity of existing and approved towers and facilities, considering existing and planned use for those facilities.

(vii) The planned equipment would cause frequency interference with other existing or planned equipment, which cannot be reasonably prevented.

(viii) Existing or approved towers or facilities do not have space on which proposed equipment can be placed so it can function effectively and reasonably.

(ix) The applicant demonstrates that there are other limiting factors that render the use of existing towers and structures unsuitable.

(4) A photo simulation of the proposed facility from the perspective of affected residential properties and public rights-of-way as may be required by the planning director.

(5) An explanation of the need for the facility to maintain the integrity of the communication system. A map showing the service area of the proposed tower shall be made available to the staff, the planning commission and/or the city council upon request.

(6) A signed statement from the applicant indicating their intention to share space on the tower with other providers subject to reasonable, acceptable terms and the total anticipated number of providers the communication tower can support.

(7) A copy of the lease between the applicant and the landowner. The lease shall contain the following provisions:

(i) The landowner and the applicant shall have the ability to enter into leases with other carriers for co-location.

(ii) The landowner shall be responsible for the removal of the communication tower or facility in the event the lessee fails to remove it upon abandonment as required by these regulations.

(b) An initial request for a conditional use permit shall be limited to five years. At the time of renewal the applicant shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the planning director that a good-faith effort has been made to cooperate with other providers to establish co-location at the tower site. “Good-faith effort” shall include, but is not limited to, timely response to co-location inquiries from other providers and sharing of technical information to evaluate the feasibility of establishing co-location. Failure to demonstrate that a good-faith effort has been made may result in the denial of the request for a renewal. Renewal of a conditional use permit is not required as set forth herein upon a finding by the planning director that (1) the communication tower has the capacity to support collocation of additional providers and/or collocation of additional providers has occurred during the preceding five years, and (2) that the tower and site continues to be in conformity with the development plan approved for the original conditional use permit.

(c) Height. The maximum height which may be approved for a communications tower is 320 feet. A lightning rod shall not be included within the height limitations. All new towers in excess of 250 feet shall be designed to accommodate at least three additional providers. The location of additional antenna on a legally existing tower shall not require additional approval from the planning commission or city council. The height limitation for towers may be waived as recommended by the planning commission and approved by the city council.

(d) Tower Design. All communication towers shall be designed and engineering sealed by a registered professional engineer and conform to the design standards of the Electronic Industry Association’s EIA/TIA-222-E, as amended. All communication towers of 150 feet or less shall be of a monopole design unless otherwise recommended by the planning commission and approved by the city council. Communication towers under 150 feet may be lattice or guyed tower construction, provided the tower is designed to accommodate one or more providers. Communication towers in excess of 150 feet may be a self-supporting lattice tower or guyed tower.

(e) Setbacks. Towers and accessory buildings shall meet the yard requirements of the zoning district in which they are located unless adjacent to residentially zoned property wherein the setback shall be not less than one-half the height of the tower. In the event the adjacent residentially zoned property is unplatted and not developed or used as residential property then the setback may be reduced at the request of the applicant for cause shown with the written authorization of the planning director. The setback requirement may be waived by the planning commission, subject to approval by the city council, if documentation from a registered professional engineer is submitted certifying that in the event of a tower failure or collapse, the fall zone of the tower will be contained within the proposed setback area. All guy wire anchors shall be no closer than 20 feet from any lot line wherein the adjacent property is zoned for residential use.

(f) Separation Requirements. All communication towers, except those designed as an architecturally compatible element in terms of the material, design and height to the existing or proposed use of the property, shall comply with the following separation requirements:

 

Towers in excess of 100 feet

Towers less than 100 feet

Towers in excess of 100 feet

1,500'

1,000'

Towers less than 100 feet

1,000'

1,000'

(g) Separation Deviations. The planning commission may recommend to the city council which shall have the authority to grant a deviation from the separation standards. In support of a deviation request from the separation requirements, the applicant shall submit a technical study acceptable to the city which confirms that there are not other suitable sites available within the separation requirements. The planning commission may also recommend to the city council that a deviation be granted to allow two or more communication towers within a 200-foot radius be clustered for the purpose of lessening the overall visual impacts of such towers on the community.

(h) Towers on Structures. The location of towers and antennas on existing buildings and other structures is encouraged as an alternative to placement on the ground and may be upon buildings and other structures within any zoning district where such is a lawful use, subject to the following:

(1) The height of the tower or antenna does not extend more than 20 feet above the height of the structure.

(2) The setback of the tower from a building roof edge shall be at least 10 feet.

The location of communication towers or communication antenna on existing structures pursuant to this subsection shall not require a conditional use permit or other approval from the planning commission or city council; provided, structural information is provided to the planning department which indicates the structure is physically capable of supporting the communication tower or communication antenna.

(i) Parking Areas and Drives. All parking areas and drives associated with the communication tower shall comply with applicable city design criteria except that the planning commission may recommend that the city council waive the requirements for curbing and drainage facilities when they are not needed for drainage purposes.

(j) Equipment Storage. Mobile or immobile equipment not used in direct support of a tower facility shall not be stored or parked on the site of the communication tower unless repairs to the tower are being made.

(k) Accessory Uses. Accessory uses shall include only such buildings and facilities necessary for transmission functions and satellite ground stations associated with them, but shall not include broadcast studios, offices, vehicle storage area, nor other similar uses not necessary for the transmission function. All accessory building shall be constructed of building materials consistent with the primary use of the site and shall be subject to site plan approval. Where there is not primary use other than the tower, the building materials for the accessory building shall be subject to the review and approval of the planning commission and/or city council.

(l) Lighting. Communication towers shall not be lighted except to ensure public safety as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Security lighting around the base of a tower may be provided if the lighting is shielded so that no light is directed towards adjacent properties or rights-of-way. Any lighting required by the FAA shall consist of a white flashing light during the daytime and a red flashing light during the nighttime.

(m) Screening. The base of the tower shall be screened from view with a solid screening fence a minimum of six feet in height. The materials of the fence, including security wire, shall be specified in the development plan and subject to the review and approval of the planning commission and the city council. The planning commission and the city council may waive the required screening where the design of the accessory building is architecturally compatible to the primary use of the property.

(n) Aesthetics and Advertising. All towers and accessory facilities shall be sited, designed, screened and landscaped to have the least practical adverse visual effect on the environment. Appropriate landscaping shall be provided to buffer the facility from adjacent residential areas and public streets. Existing plant material shall be preserved to the extent possible. No portion of the communication tower, antenna, or perimeter fence, shall be used for commercial advertising, provided, a sign not exceeding four square feet shall be posted on the tower, or the exterior fence around the base of the tower, noting the name and telephone number of the tower owner and operator.

(o) Removal of Abandoned Antennas and Towers. Any antenna or tower that is not operated for a period of 12 continuous months or which was operated under a conditional use permit which has expired and not renewed shall be considered abandoned, and the owner of such antenna or tower shall remove the same within 90 days of a receipt of notice from the planning director notifying the owner of such required abandonment. If such antenna or tower is not removed within said 90 days, the city council may cause the removal of such antenna or tower at the owner’s expense. If there are two or more users of a single tower, then this provision shall not become effective until all users have ceased using the tower for a period of 12 continuous months.

(p) Application of Regulations to Existing Communication Towers, Communication Antenna or Accessory Facilities. For purposes of determining fair market value pursuant with the provisions of TMC 18.220.030, it shall be based upon the combined value of the communication tower(s), communication antenna(s) and on-site principal building(s) to which accessory.

(q) Platting Requirements. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require the platting or replatting of separate lots for the location of towers that may be unrelated to another principal use located on such lot. (Ord. 17138 § 3, 7-1-97. Code 1995 § 48-26.17.)

    Cross References: City council – mayor, Chapter 2.15 TMC; planning department, TMC 2.25.090; planning commission, Chapter 2.135 TMC.