Chapter 17.106


17.106.010    Public utilities.

17.106.020    Conditions for public utility facilities.

17.106.030    Wireless telecommunication facilities.

17.106.040    Appeals.

17.106.010 Public utilities.

Uses such as telephone exchanges, gas and water regulation stations, microwave and line-of-sight transmission stations, and other essential public facilities of this nature are permitted in all use districts by conditional use permit subject to the conditions in BMC 17.106.020. Public utility uses located on public rights-of-way are permitted outright and exempt from these conditions. This section is not intended to apply to wireless telecommunication facilities, which are regulated in BMC 17.106.030. (Ord. 2554 § 3, 2003)

17.106.020 Conditions for public utility facilities.

A. No office uses are allowed.

B. The need for the particular facility in the proposed location must be clearly demonstrated and explained in the application for the conditional use permit.

C. The proposed structure shall be compatible with the height and mass of existing buildings and utility structures. A minimum 20-foot setback for structures shall be required on all sides of such sites in residential districts. In other districts the setback is to be determined by the review authority in review of the application. Structure height shall not exceed underlying height restrictions without clearly demonstrating need and proving that such excess will not interfere with or disturb surrounding uses.

D. No outside storage of materials shall be allowed.

E. If personnel are required for operation of the facility on a day-to-day basis, off-street parking space shall be required for each employee on duty. (Ord. 2692 § 3(3), 2008; Ord. 2673 § 2, 2007; Ord. 2554 § 3, 2003)

17.106.030 Wireless telecommunication facilities.

A. Purpose.

1. The purpose of this section is to set forth the regulations for the placement, development, permitting, and removal of wireless telecommunication facilities including support structures and antennas. These standards were developed to comply with the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. They are intended to protect property values and minimize visual impact while furthering the development of enhanced telecommunication services in the city of Blaine.

2. The provisions of this section are not intended to and shall not be interpreted to prohibit or to have the effect of prohibiting wireless telecommunication services. This section shall not be applied in such a manner as to discriminate between providers of functionally equivalent wireless telecommunication services.

3. In reviewing an application to provide wireless telecommunication service or to install wireless telecommunication service facilities, the city shall act within a reasonable period of time, taking into account the nature and scope of the application and the required notice and necessary review process. Any decision to deny an application shall be in writing, supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record.

B. Wall-Mounted Antennas. A wall-mounted antenna is an antenna or series of individual antennas mounted against the vertical wall of a building. A wall-mounted antenna shall be permitted outright in all districts.

1. Wall-mounted antennas shall be placed closely against walls or parapets and not extend above the wall or parapet unless an alternative design is required to (a) achieve better compatibility with the building design or (b) to obtain antenna function. Wall-mounted antennas shall not extend above the roofline of the building more than four feet.

2. Antennas and all associated equipment shall be painted to match the color of the building.

3. Wall-mounted antennas may have a maximum area of 40 square feet. The area is determined by drawing straight lines between the outermost portions of the antennas until enclosed. The total number of wall-mounted antennas allowed is four per structure.

4. All equipment associated with the operation of the antenna shall be located within the structure to which the antenna is attached, or screened from the public view. If the associated equipment is located on the ground, it must be appropriately landscaped.

C. Roof-Mounted Antennas. A roof-mounted antenna is an antenna or series of individual antennas mounted on a flat roof, mechanical room, or penthouse of a building or atop a public utility facility such as a water reservoir. A roof-mounted antenna shall be permitted outright in nonresidential districts and conditionally in residential districts.

1. Roof-mounted facilities shall be solidly screened at least as high as the center of the antennas. The screening shall be of a material and design compatible with the building, and can include penthouse screening, parapet walls, or other similar screening. They should be placed as close to the center of the roof as possible and be painted or finished to match the structure to which they are attached. Roof-mounted antennas shall have a maximum height of 15 feet.

D. Monopole Structures. A monopole structure is a single cylindrical pole constructed of steel, wood or any other material of sufficient strength to support wireless telecommunication antennas. A monopole structure is prohibited in residential districts and allowed conditionally in nonresidential and public facility districts.

1. All towers must be of a monopole construction. No lattice-constructed towers of any kind shall be allowed.

2. All towers must be designed by a Washington State registered structural engineer to allow for co-location of multiple users on a single pole. A letter must also be supplied stating that the owners of the tower will allow for co-location and that the structure has been designed to allow for such use.

3. Co-location on an existing monopole structure is an outright permitted use and is processed administratively.

4. The applicant must supply the city with a notarized agreement stating that if technology renders the tower obsolete or the tower is vacated, the applicant will remove the tower. The agreement shall require restoration of the site to its original condition within six months of the vacation of the tower. The operator of the facility shall obtain and keep in force throughout the time the facility is located on the site an irrevocable letter of credit, performance bond or other instrument approved by the city attorney. Said instrument shall be payable to the city of Blaine in the amount of the estimated cost of removal (of all above- and below-ground components) as determined by the city.

5. Monopoles with antennas and antenna support structures shall not be located in a required front setback or front landscaped area.

6. Parking. All wireless communications facilities shall have access to parking for maintenance personnel. Such parking may be shared or public parking at the discretion of the city.

7. Setbacks.

a. Regardless of the district, wireless telecommunication towers shall be set back from habitable buildings not on the same legal lot, a distance equal to the height of the wireless telecommunication support structure or the setback of the district, whichever is greater.

b. Setbacks for wireless telecommunication towers shall be measured from the ground-level base of the structure.

c. No wireless telecommunication tower may be located within two times the height of the proposed monopole structure to the closest residential district.

8. Screening – Standards. Wireless telecommunication towers shall be subject to the following standards for visual screening:

a. The perimeter of the wireless telecommunication support structure shall be enclosed by a fence or wall at least six feet in height. A row of evergreen shrubs, spaced not more than five feet apart and capable of growing to form a continuous hedge at least five feet high within five years of planting, and a row of evergreen trees or shrubs spaced not more than 10 feet apart nor less than six feet high when planted shall be installed outside and adjacent to the fence when required by the city.

b. Landscape material used for screening should be selected and sited to produce a hardy and drought-resistant landscape area. Native plant materials are preferred.

c. Maintenance of landscaped areas shall be the responsibility of the applicant and/or operator of the facility. Required landscaping must be maintained in a healthy manner. Trees and shrubs that die must be replaced with healthy in-kind materials such that during the life of the facility the landscaping continues to satisfy the requirements of the permit. Temporary irrigation shall be provided to help ensure survival during the plant establishment period. Existing vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent practicable. If the city determines that existing vegetation provides adequate screening without the need for additional landscaping, then no action shall be taken by the facility owner or its assigns or successors that would diminish its effectiveness in screening the site. In the event that natural vegetation is removed to the extent that the area required to be screened is made more visible, the owner of the facility shall prepare a revegetation plan and submit the plan to the city for review and approval. Upon approval the owner shall implement the revegetation plan.

d. The city may approve any combination of existing vegetation, topography, walls, decorative fences or other features instead of landscaping, if they achieve the same degree of screening as the required landscaping. Either, as appropriate, may waive the requirement for the installation of screening for those sides of the facility that are naturally screened so as not to be visible from public streets or adjoining properties.

e. When landscaping is required to be installed, a maintenance bond, irrevocable letter of credit or other financial guarantee acceptable to the city shall be provided in the amount of the estimated value of the labor and materials. The guarantee shall be in effect for two years from the date of planting.

E. Additional Requirements Applying to All Wireless Telecommunication Facilities.

1. Each wireless telecommunication or cellular facility shall be considered as a separate use; and an annual business license shall be required for each such facility and any lessors located at the facility.

2. Repealed by Ord. 2692.

3. Anti-Climbing Devices. All wireless telecommunication support structures and required fencing shall be equipped with appropriate anti-climbing devices.

4. Attachment to Trees Prohibited. It is prohibited to attach any wireless communication facility or portion thereof to any tree.

5. Signage. All wireless telecommunication support structures shall be identified with nonilluminated signage not exceeding four square feet. The sign shall list the wireless service provider’s name and emergency telephone number and shall be posted in a place visible to the general public. No advertising signs shall be located on support structures or antennas.

6. Lighting. Wireless telecommunication facilities shall not be illuminated except where required by the FAA.

7. Painting. Wireless telecommunication facilities shall be painted or finished in a manner that blends with the dominant color of the background except where otherwise required by the FAA. The applicant and the operator of the facility shall have a continuing duty to maintain such paint or finish.

8. Noise from Accessory Equipment. Facilities shall comply with state noise level standards under Chapter 173-60 WAC, as amended. Generators may only be permitted for emergency operation purposes. If air conditioning or other noise-generating equipment is proposed, the applicant shall provide information detailing the expected noise level and any proposed abatement measures. The city may require noise attenuation devices or other mitigation measures to minimize impacts.

9. Copies of deeds or other instruments such as recorded lease agreements and site easements that establish the applicant’s right to use the site shall be provided at the time of application. These may be in unsigned final draft form pending the outcome of the approval process. The boundaries of a proposed wireless telecommunication facility site shall be defined in each such instrument in a manner that will provide a land surveyor sufficient information to accurately locate the site boundaries using standard survey methods.

10. Accessory equipment structures shall be placed underground or wholly enclosed in an existing structure or building, or designed to blend into the architecture and landscaping of the surrounding buildings or structures as seen from abutting residential uses, roadways or other public rights-of-way. When equipment boxes are placed at ground level, they shall be screened from view. Accessory equipment structures, antennas and attachment devices shall comply with the setback requirements for principal structures in the district.

11. Ground-mounted facilities shall be located in service areas or other less visible locations. They shall be solidly screened to at least as high as the center of the facility when viewed from off the site. Solid screening shall be provided as high as the top of the facility on sides adjoining residential districts.

12. Antennas on utility poles shall be limited to whip antennas no more than two feet in length unless the city finds that the visual impact of a longer antenna would not have an appreciable effect on surrounding uses. No more than one whip antenna is permitted per pole. No utility pole shall be extended in height in order to accommodate an antenna.

13. Setbacks Applicable. Where the setback requirement in the district is based on the height of the structure, the height used to compute the setback for the antenna array shall be the height of the structure plus the additional height that will be added by a roof-mounted antenna array and its attachment device.

14. General Height Standards. The following height standards shall apply to wireless telecommunication facilities:

a. The height of a wireless telecommunication facility shall be measured to include the support structure and any antennas proposed to be attached to the structure at the time of application. Lightning rods not exceeding 10 feet in height or FAA-required lighting shall not be included in the height measurement.

b. The height of a wireless communications facility shall be the minimum height necessary for the facility to function satisfactorily; provided, the height does not exceed a height restriction imposed elsewhere in this chapter. The applicant shall provide technical documentation that the height proposed is the minimum necessary. The city may require a third party review of this information.

c. The height of attached antennas may exceed the height limit of the district; provided, that the height does not exceed height restrictions imposed elsewhere in the Blaine Municipal Code.

15. Building and Utility Permits. Granting of zoning approval by the city does not exempt or otherwise remove any requirements for obtaining building permits and other applicable construction-related, development-related or operation-related permits, licenses or approvals for the project. It shall be the facility owner’s responsibility to secure all other necessary permits and approvals prior to beginning work on the installation of the facility.

16. Location of cellular facilities shall not create interference with existing transmission signals. (Ord. 2692 § 3(3), 2008; Ord. 2673 § 2, 2007; Ord. 2554 § 3, 2003)

17.106.040 Appeals.

Appeals of a final decision shall be submitted pursuant to BMC 17.06.180, Appeals. (Ord. 2673 § 2, 2007)