Chapter 18.175
WIRELESS COMMUNICATION TOWERS

Sections:

18.175.010    Purpose.

18.175.020    Antenna and structure types.

18.175.030    Permitted use co-location.

18.175.040    Conditional use.

18.175.050    Development requirements.

18.175.060    Maintenance and business license.

18.175.070    Abandonment of facilities.

18.175.080    Requirements for monopole antennas.

18.175.090    Requirements for wall-mounted antennas.

18.175.100    Requirements for roof-mounted antennas.

18.175.110    Requirements for other antennas.

18.175.120    Telecommunications towers not permitted.

18.175.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to plan for the rapid expansion of telecommunications facilities. In addition, other more specific purposes are as follows:

(1) Set regulations addressing the preferred placement, visual mitigation, and installation of low powered communication towers.

(2) To balance the increasing need for telecommunications technology with the interests of the property owner while protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the city’s residents. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-005.]

18.175.020 Antenna and structure types.

Communication towers are characterized both by the type and/or location of the antenna structure. This chapter shall address low powered communication towers for the following facility types: amateur “ham” radios, lattice towers, monopoles, roof mounts, wall mounts, whip antennas, and microwave or satellite dishes. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-010.]

18.175.030 Permitted use co-location.

Antennas to be located on monopole, as allowed herein, may be allowed as a permitted use if co-located on a monopole site that has been previously approved by a conditional use permit. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-015.]

18.175.040 Conditional use.

(1) General. Telecommunications towers are a conditional use in all zones except residentially zoned areas.

Telecommunications towers are prohibited in residentially zoned areas except as may be permitted with a conditional use permit upon or within any institutional use, regardless of the zoning designation. These institutional uses include, but are not limited to: churches, well sites, water tanks, city parks, city buildings (fire, police, City Hall), public schools, and quasi-public schools.

(2) Approval and Building Permit. Each tower placement shall be reviewed and approved by the city council following a recommendation from the planning commission. Each tower location will require a building permit. Co-location of any additional antenna on a preexisting tower requires a building permit through administrative approval by the planning department.

(3) Criteria for Approval of Conditional Use. In conducting its review and/or making its determination to allow a low power radio telecommunications antenna facility as a conditional use, the city council, after recommendation from the planning commission, shall, in addition to any other matters it may choose to consider, consider the following:

(a) Whether the proposed structure complies with all the required standards and criteria listed in this chapter.

(b) Compatibility of the proposed structure with the height and mass of existing buildings in the area.

(c) The location of the antenna in relation to existing vegetation, topography, and buildings to obtain the best visual screening.

(d) Visual and economic impact upon adjacent properties.

(e) Compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) emission standards.

(f) Whether placement of the structure in the proposed location will result in a significant impact to other uses or the reception or transmission of existing facilities.

(g) Each tower application shall evaluate whether co-location on other existing structures in the same vicinity such as other towers, buildings, water towers, utility poles, athletic field lights, parking lot lights, etc., is possible without significantly impacting antenna transmission or reception. However, for location on such existing structures and poles, telecommunications facilities must meet the following additional requirements:

(i) No lighting shall be placed on the site that further illuminates, advertises, or draws attention to any part of the facility; and

(ii) The mounting of such facility complies in all respects with all other provisions of this chapter.

(h) The city council may approve the conditional use application with additional conditions. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-020.]

18.175.050 Development requirements.

(1) Applicability of Building and Safety Regulations. All antenna locations shall provide assurance that the installation complies with all applicable standards and regulations, including, but not limited to, International Building Code, National Electrical Code, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency as well as all other city ordinances. Each application for a permit to build a telecommunications tower shall be certified by a licensed professional engineer that the design meets all standards herein. No communication facility shall encroach upon or block vehicular or pedestrian access at any time. Climbing pegs or access ladders shall be removed from the lower 20 feet regardless of location. Antennas shall be mounted with such standards that the structure can easily withstand wind force up to 80 miles per hour.

(2) Site Plan. Unless stated otherwise herein, all the types of antennas listed herein as permitted must make an application to the planning department for site plan approval. All applications shall adhere to the requirements for site plan approval in addition to requirements as detailed herein. The site plan shall be accompanied by a photographic example of an existing facility, the dimensions, elevation and site plan of the tower and associated electronic cabinetry and, if applicable, a prepared co-location contract in the event the facility may be shared for future antenna placement.

(3) Accessory Buildings. Accessory buildings must comply with required setback, height, and landscaping standards as required in the zoning district in which the tower is located.

(4) Grounded. All antennas and support structures shall be grounded in accordance with the National Electrical Code. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); amended during 2011 recodification; Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-025.]

18.175.060 Maintenance and business license.

(1) Maintenance. Every antenna, pole, or support structure, and all ancillary facilities, comprising low power radio telecommunications facilities, shall at all times be maintained in good structural and aesthetic condition. The owner of any property on which any such antenna, pole, support structure, or ancillary facility or facilities are located, and those responsible for or receiving benefit from its placement, shall keep the area clean and free from rubbish, flammable waste material or any other noxious or offensive substance. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-030.]

18.175.070 Abandonment of facilities.

(1) Abandonment Agreement. Upon application for a telecommunications facility, the owner or agent of the tower must supply Riverton City with a letter stating that if the tower is vacated for any reason, the owner or agent will remove the tower, all apparatus associated with it, and the top three feet of the footing and restore the site to its original condition within 60 days of vacation of the tower.

(2) Abandonment and Nonmaintenance. Any antenna structure, antenna support, and accessory structures abandoned or not properly maintained shall be required to be removed at the expense of the persons having control or receiving benefits within 60 days after receiving notice of nonmaintenance. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-035.]

18.175.080 Requirements for monopole antennas.

Monopoles are cylindrical poles used to support telecommunications equipment. There are two primary divisions among the antenna equipment found on monopoles: antenna equipment that extends less than two feet in diameter around the monopole, and those wider than two feet in diameter.

Both antenna types shall abide by the following regulations:

(1) Height. Where there is only one antenna structure proposed, the maximum height will be 80 feet. If a tower is designed to allow co-location of additional antennas on one monopole, the monopole cannot exceed 100 feet in height. Antenna equipment on a monopole shall not exceed 10 feet in height.

(2) Quantity and Co-location. Only one tower shall be permitted in a one-mile radius unless the existing tower already has at least one co-locator or it can be demonstrated that co-location on an existing tower is not practical or feasible. Provisions for co-location shall include the structural capability to hold additional co-locator antennas and adequate land area for subsequent electronic equipment cabinetry. Towers should not reach maximum allowable height until such co-locator(s) have secured an agreement with the original tower applicant.

(3) Electronic Cabinetry. The electronic cabinetry and subject enclosure shall not exceed 25 feet by 25 feet by 10 feet tall.

(4) Screening. Monopoles and electronic cabinetry shall be located to obtain the highest amount of visual screening, such as behind built structures, and screened with mature trees and shrubbery. Each application shall submit a screening plan.

Each co-locator shall place electronic cabinetry with one shared wall to the original electronic cabinetry enclosure for efficient space utilization. Where the location is limited, as in a commercial district, the first locator will be required to build housing that can adequately contain all co-locators’ electronic cabinetry. Where the location is residential in character or the site is not conducive to landscaping, the electronic cabinetry shall be encased in a structure emulating a small residential building, with gabled roof and durable exterior materials.

(5) Lighting. No portion of the antenna or appurtenant structures shall be lighted except for warning lights at the top of the structure when warranted. [Ord. 18-19 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-040.]

18.175.090 Requirements for wall-mounted antennas.

Wall-mounted antennas are antennas mounted on a vertical exterior wall.

(1) Location. Wall-mounted antennas shall only be mounted on buildings of three stories or more, having a penthouse or a mechanical room.

(2) Dimensions. Wall-mounted antennas shall not locate more than four feet from the exterior wall on which they are mounted. The width of the antenna structure shall be a maximum of 13 feet wide and not taller than eight feet. Wall-mounted antennas shall not extend more than three feet above any roofline nor shall antennas be located closer than 30 feet to the base of the building.

(3) Area. The total area for wall-mounted antennas and support structures shall not exceed 100 square feet per wall or 40 square feet for each antenna. This shall be calculated as the areas of all antennas and support structures.

(4) Quantity. A maximum of three antenna structures shall be permitted to locate on any wall.

(5) Screening and Design Guidelines. Antennas shall be painted to match color, pattern and/or materials where they are mounted. Accessory buildings or cabinetry shall also receive screening treatment to blend into the building’s architectural integrity. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-045.]

18.175.100 Requirements for roof-mounted antennas.

Roof-mounted antennas are where telecommunications equipment is mounted on a rooftop.

(1) Location. Roof-mounted antennas shall only be mounted on buildings of three stories or more, having flat roofs, a penthouse or a mechanical room. Not more than three antennas shall be located on any one rooftop.

(2) Height. The maximum height for antennas positioned on rooftops shall not exceed 10 feet above the roofline to top of antenna. However, when an antenna is attached to a mechanical room or penthouse or located 15 feet from exterior wall, the antenna may not exceed 15 feet above the roofline. Roof-mounted antennas shall be mounted a minimum of five feet back from the exterior wall.

(3) Area. The total area for roof-mounted antennas and support structures shall not exceed 200 square feet for all antenna structures on a roof or 40 square feet for each antenna.

(4) Quantity. A maximum of three antenna structures shall be permitted on any single building.

(5) Screening and Design Guidelines. Antennas shall be painted to match color, pattern and/or materials on which they are mounted. Accessory buildings or cabinetry shall also receive screening treatment to blend into the building’s architectural integrity. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-050.]

18.175.110 Requirements for other antennas.

(1) Microwave or Satellite Dish. Microwave dishes are large disks used to receive information via satellite. These are used for telecommunications where there are no ground lines available in the vicinity. Commercial microwave dishes are not permitted in city limits. Satellite dishes that are not used for telecommunications use and are under three feet in diameter are exempt from the provisions of this title.

(a) Location. Satellite dishes shall be located in the rear or side yards not facing a public street in single-family detached residential zones and on flat rooftops in all other zones. Wall-mounted satellite dishes are permitted if dishes are smaller than three feet in diameter.

(b) Height. Satellite dishes shall not be mounted in residential areas such that any part of the antenna exceeds eight feet from the ground. Satellite dishes located outside of residential zones shall not exceed over eight feet above the roofline upon which they are mounted.

(c) Quantity. Three small dishes, no greater than 18 inches in diameter, or one large dish is permitted per household in residential and agricultural zones. Each multifamily building (RM zones) may have up to three satellite dishes, if they are properly screened or camouflaged. A maximum of three satellite dishes are permitted on any one building in the commercial, office or industrial zones, and must be properly screened.

(d) Mounting. On residential property, satellite dishes and their support structure shall not be attached to or mounted on building appurtenances, such as a pillar. Antennas shall be limited to rear or side yards and shielded from any public street. Satellite dishes outside of residential zones shall prioritize rooftop-mounting or commit to heavy screening. Rooftop-mounted satellite dishes shall have a minimum setback of eight feet from the closest exterior wall.

(e) Screening and Design Guidelines. All roof-mounted satellite dishes shall be painted to match the color, patterns and/or material such that they blend with the building’s architectural integrity.

(2) Amateur “Ham” Radios Towers. Amateur radios are licensed and protected by the Federal Communication Act as part of the Emergency Broadcast System. Antennas greater than 12 feet tall with antenna and support structure exceeding 10 square feet in surface area must apply for a building permit after receiving community development approval.

(a) Quantity. No more than one amateur radio antenna shall be permitted on any lot.

(b) Height. Amateur towers may not exceed 65 feet in height without approval from the city council following a recommendation from the planning commission. Any applicant wishing to apply for an exception to the tower height shall specify the details and dimensions of the proposed antenna and its supporting structures and shall further specify why the applicant contends that such a design and height are necessary to accommodate reasonably the amateur radio communication.

(c) Mounting. Antenna and its support structure shall not be attached or mounted on any building appurtenance, such as a chimney. Antennas shall be limited to rear yards and shielded from any street. The placement of amateur radio antennas shall remain 65 feet from any neighboring house; guide wires shall not be closer than five feet from the property line on any side. The antenna shall be mounted to withstand wind force of more than 80 miles per hour without the support of guide wires. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); amended during 2011 recodification; Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-055.]

18.175.120 Telecommunications towers not permitted.

(1) Lattice Towers. A lattice tower is an open steel frame structure with multiple sides used to support telecommunications equipment. Lattice towers are not permitted in the city limits.

(2) Whip Antenna. Whip antennas are built with a flexible material that allows the antenna to bend freely. Whip antennas are not permitted in the city limits. [Ord. 13-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 9-15-98-2 § 2 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 12-165-060.]