Chapter 22.24


22.24.001    Purpose.

22.24.002    Exemptions.

22.24.003    Policy statement.

22.24.004    Recognition of industry site selection criteria.

22.24.005    Site selection criteria.

22.24.006    Facility preference.

22.24.007    Priority of locations.

22.24.008    Siting priority on public property.

22.24.009    Required submittals.

22.24.010    Co-location.

22.24.011    Design criteria.

22.24.012    Permits required.

22.24.013    Variances.

22.24.014    Inspection requirements.

22.24.015    Non-use/abandonment.

22.24.016    Third party review.

22.24.001 Purpose.

(a) These standards were developed to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, to protect property values and minimize visual impact while furthering the development of enhanced telecommunication services in the city. These standards were designed to comply with the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The provisions of this chapter are not intended to and shall not be interpreted to prohibit or to have the effect of prohibiting personal wireless services. This chapter shall not be applied in such a manner as to unreasonably discriminate between providers of functionally equivalent personal wireless services.

(b) To the extent that any provision of this chapter is inconsistent or conflicts with any other city ordinance, this chapter shall control. Otherwise, this chapter shall be construed consistently with the other provisions and regulations of the city.

(c) In reviewing any application to provide personal wireless service or to install personal wireless service facilities, the city shall act within a reasonable period of time, taking into account the nature and scope of the application. Any decision to deny an application shall be in writing, supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record.  The city shall approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application in accordance with the time frames set forth in this title. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.002 Exemptions.

The following are exempt from the provisions of this chapter and shall be permitted in all zones:

(a) Industrial processing equipment and scientific or medical equipment using frequencies regulated by the FCC.

(b) Antennas and related equipment no more than three feet in height that are being stored, shipped, or displayed for sale, or which comply with all applicable design criteria contained in FMC 22.24.011.

(c) Radar systems for military and civilian communication and navigation.

(d) Wireless radio utilized for temporary emergency communications in the event of a disaster.

(e) Licensed amateur (ham) radio stations.

(f) Satellite dish antennas less than two meters in diameter when located in nonresidential districts and satellite dish antennas less than one meter in diameter when located in residential districts, including direct to home satellite services, when used as a secondary use of the property.

(g) Routine maintenance or repair of a personal wireless service facility and related equipment (excluding structural work or changes in height or dimensions of antennas, towers, or buildings); provided, that compliance with the standards of this chapter are maintained.

(h) Subject to compliance with all other applicable standards of this chapter, a building permit application need not be filed for emergency repair or maintenance of a personal wireless service facility until 30 days after the completion of such emergency activity.

(i) A COW or other temporary personal wireless telecommunications facility shall be permitted for a maximum of 90 days or during an emergency. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.003 Policy statement.

(a) The city, with increasing frequency, has been approached with requests to locate towers and antennas. The purpose of this chapter is to establish general guidelines for the siting of towers and antennas. The goals of this chapter are to: (i) enhance the ability of personal wireless service providers to provide such services throughout the city quickly, effectively, and efficiently; (ii) encourage personal wireless service providers to locate towers and antenna in nonresidential areas; (iii) encourage personal wireless service providers to co-locate on new and existing tower sites; (iv) encourage personal wireless service providers to locate towers and antennas, to the extent possible, in areas where the adverse impact on city residents is minimal; and (v) encourage personal wireless service providers to configure towers and antennas in a way that minimizes any significant adverse visual impact. Accordingly, the city finds that the promulgation of this chapter is warranted and necessary:

(1) To manage the location of towers and antennas in the city;

(2) To protect residential areas and land uses from potential adverse impacts of towers;

(3) To minimize adverse visual impacts of towers through careful design, siting, landscape screening, and innovative camouflaging techniques;

(4) To accommodate an increased need for towers to serve the wireless communications needs of city residents;

(5) To promote and encourage co-location on existing and new towers as an option rather than construction of additional single-use towers, and to reduce the number of such structures needed in the future;

(6) To consider the public health and safety of towers to the extent permitted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996; and

(7) To avoid potential damage to adjacent properties through sound engineering practices and the proper siting of antenna support structures.

(b) All new antennas shall comply with this chapter after the date of passage of the ordinance codified herein. All towers and antennas existing on the date of passage of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall be allowed to continue as they presently exist, but will be considered nonconforming uses if they do not fully comply with the requirements of this chapter. Routine maintenance shall be permitted on existing towers and antennas. However, new construction other than routine maintenance on existing towers, antennas, buildings or other facilities shall comply with the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.004 Recognition of industry site selection criteria.

In establishing a new site, the industry requires a location that is technically compatible with the established network. A general area is to be identified based upon engineering constraints and the desired area of service. Specific locations within that general area will be evaluated using the following criteria which are not listed in order of priority:

(a) Topography as it relates to line of sight transmissions for optimum efficiency in telephone service.

(b) Availability of road access.

(c) Availability of electric power.

(d) Availability of land-based telephone lines or microwave link capability.

(e) Leasable lands, and landlords who want facilities to be located on their properties consistent with zoning regulations.

(f) Screening potential of existing vegetation, structures and topographic features.

(g) Zoning that will allow low power mobile radio service facilities.

(h) Compatibility with adjacent land uses.

(i) The least number of sites to cover the desired area.

(j) The greatest amount of coverage, consistent with physical requirements.

(k) Opportunities to mitigate possible visual impact.

(l) Availability of suitable existing structures for antenna mounting. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.005 Site selection criteria.

(a) Any applicant proposing to construct an antenna support structure, or mount an antenna on an existing structure, shall demonstrate by engineering evidence that the antenna must be located at the site to satisfy its function in the applicant’s local grid system. Further, the applicant must demonstrate by engineering evidence that the height requested is the minimum height necessary to fulfill the site’s function within the grid system.

(b) Applications for necessary permits will only be processed when the applicant demonstrates either that it is an FCC-licensed telecommunications provider or that it has agreements with an FCC-licensed telecommunications provider for use or lease of the support structure.

(c) Low power mobile radio service facilities shall be located and designed to minimize any significant adverse impact on residential properties. Facilities shall be placed in locations where the existing topography, vegetation, buildings, or other structures provide the greatest amount of screening.

(d) In all zones, location and design of facilities shall consider the impact of the facility on the surrounding neighborhood and the visual impact within the zone district. In all zones, towers shall be significantly screened by placing them in trees to the extent that it does not result in significant signal degradation. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.006 Facility preference.

(a) Proposed antennas, associated structures and placement shall be evaluated, based on available technologies, for approval and use in the following order of preference:

(1) Camouflaged antennas;

(2) Building-mounted facilities or structure-mounted facilities, only when subsection (a)(1) of this section cannot be reasonably accomplished;

(3) Co-location facilities, only when subsections (a)(1) or (2) of this section cannot be reasonably accomplished;

(4) Ground-mounted facilities which extend no more than 15 feet above existing vegetation or structures, only when subsections (a)(1), (2) or (3) of this section cannot be reasonably accomplished;

(5) Ground-mounted facilities which extend more than 15 feet above existing vegetation or structures, only when subsections (a)(1) through (4) of this section cannot be reasonably accomplished.

(b) If the applicant chooses to construct new ground-mounted facilities, the burden of proof shall be on the applicant to show a facility of a higher order of preference cannot reasonably be accommodated on the same or other properties. As stated in FMC 22.24.016, the city reserves the right to retain a third party consultant, at the applicant’s expense, to review the supporting documentation for accuracy. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.007 Priority of locations.

(a) The order of priorities for locating new personal wireless service facilities shall be as follows:

(1) Public property including utility facilities, parks and other municipal facilities.

(2) Appropriate public rights-of-way.

(3) Areas designated industrial and community commercial in the comprehensive plan.

(4) Areas designated neighborhood commercial and public and quasi-public facilities in the comprehensive plan.

(5) Other nonresidential properties including commercial facilities, churches, and schools located within areas designated high density residential, medium density residential and low density residential in the comprehensive plan.

(6) Areas designated high density residential in the comprehensive plan.

(7) Areas designated medium density residential and low density residential in the comprehensive plan and developed for residential use, only if locations specified in subsections (1) through (6) are not available.

(A) An applicant that wishes to locate a new antenna support structure in a residential land use designation area shall demonstrate that a diligent effort has been made to locate the proposed communications facilities on a public facility, a private institutional structure, or within a nonresidential land use designation area, and that due to valid considerations including physical constraints, and economic or technological feasibility, no appropriate location is available.

(B) An applicant shall demonstrate that they: (i) have contacted the owners of nonresidential structures in excess of 30 feet in height within a one-quarter mile radius of the site proposed and which from a location standpoint could provide part of a network for transmission of signals; (ii) have asked for permission to install the antenna on those structures; and (iii) were denied such permission after proposing an industry standard lease agreement for the site.

(C) The information submitted by the applicant shall include: (i) a map of the area to be served by the tower or antenna; (ii) the relationship of the site to other cell sites in the applicant’s network; and (iii) an evaluation of existing buildings taller than 30 feet within one-quarter mile of the proposed tower or antenna which from a location standpoint could provide part of a network to provide transmission of signals. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.008 Siting priority on public property.

(a) Where public property is sought to be utilized by an applicant, priority for the use of city-owned land for wireless antennas and towers will be given to the following entities in descending order:

(1) City of Fircrest;

(2) Public safety agencies, including law enforcement, fire and ambulance services, which are not part of the city of Fircrest, and private entities with a public safety agreement with the city of Fircrest;

(3) Other governmental agencies, for uses which are not related to public safety; and

(4) Entities providing licensed commercial wireless telecommunication services including cellular, personal communication services (PCS), specialized mobilized radio (SMR), enhanced specialized mobilized radio (ESMR), data, internet, paging, and similar services that are marketed to the general public.

(b) Minimum Requirements. The placement of personal wireless service facilities on city-owned property must comply with the following requirements:

(1) The facilities will not interfere with the purpose for which the city-owned property is intended;

(2) The facilities will have no significant adverse impact on surrounding private property;

(3) The applicant shall obtain liability insurance deemed adequate by the city, provide proof of such insurance upon request by the city, and commit to a lease agreement which includes equitable compensation for the use of public land and other necessary provisions and safeguards. The city shall establish fees after considering comparable rates in other cities, potential expenses, risks to the city, and other appropriate factors;

(4) The applicant will submit a letter of credit, performance bond, or other security acceptable to the city to cover the costs of removing the facilities;

(5) The antennas or tower will not interfere with other users who have a higher priority as discussed in subsection (a) of this section;

(6) The lease shall provide that the applicant must agree that in the case of a declared emergency or documented threat to public health, safety or welfare and following reasonable notice, the city may require the applicant to remove the facilities at the applicant’s expense;

(7) The applicant must reimburse the city for any related costs which the city incurs because of the presence of the applicant’s facilities;

(8) The applicant must obtain all necessary land use approvals; and

(9) The applicant must cooperate with the city’s objective to encourage co-locations and thus limit the number of cell sites requested, or camouflage the site.

(c) Special Requirements for Parks. The use of city-owned parks for personal wireless service facilities brings with it special concerns due to the unique nature of these sites. The placement of personal wireless service facilities in a park will be allowed only when the following additional requirements are met:

(1) The parks and recreation director has reviewed and made a recommendation regarding proposed personal wireless service facilities to be located in the park and this recommendation must be forwarded to the hearing examiner and/or city council, as appropriate, for consideration;

(2) In no case shall personal wireless service facilities be allowed in designated critical areas (except aquifer recharge areas) unless they are co-located on existing facilities;

(3) Before personal wireless service facilities may be located in public parks, consideration shall be given to visual impacts and disruption of normal public use; and

(4) Personal wireless service facilities should be camouflaged and have a ground mount or structure mount design, if possible. (Ord. 1638 § 17, 2019; Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.009 Required submittals.

(a) Application for conditional use permit, administrative use permit, building permit, and other related requests may include any combination of site plans, surveys, maps, technical reports, or written narratives necessary to convey the following information in addition to the requirements of this title and other applicable regulations:

(1) Photosimulations of the proposed facility taken from all four sides of the proposed facility, from a distance of 100 feet or from the opposite side of the street right-of-way closest to the proposed site. The photosimulations shall be labeled as to the view depicted, the maximum height of the structure, including antennas, proposed color scheme and method of screening. Photosimulations taken from alternative locations may be provided in lieu of the locations specified above, if deemed acceptable by the city;

(2) A site plan, drawn to scale, clearly indicating the location and type of the proposed tower, antenna, antenna support structure, fencing, buffering, on-site land uses and zoning, adjacent land uses and zoning, adjacent roadways, proposed means of access, and setbacks of structures from property lines. The site plan requirement may be waived if the antenna is to be mounted on an existing structure;

(3) Elevation plans, drawn to scale, of the proposed tower and any other existing and proposed structures, including fencing. Exterior finish materials and colors, and the method of camouflage and illumination, if applicable, shall be specified;

(4) A landscape plan indicating the specific placement of the facility on the site, the location of existing structures, trees, and other significant site features, the type and location of plant materials used to screen the facility, a planting schedule, and an irrigation plan and schedule;

(5) A current map showing the location of the proposed tower or other proposed facilities, the approximate distance between the proposed tower and the nearest residential units and residentially zoned properties, and the locations of other personal wireless service facilities operated by the applicant that are within the city or outside the city but within one-half mile of the city boundary. In addition to this requirement, the city may require the submittal of an aerial photo of the proposed site and vicinity if it determines that such information will assist in the city’s review of the proposal;

(6) Legal description of the parcel, and Pierce County assessor’s parcel number, if applicable;

(7) A signed statement indicating that: (A) the applicant and landowner agree they will diligently negotiate in good faith to facilitate co-location of additional personal wireless service facilities by other providers on the applicant’s structure or within the same site location; (B) the applicant for a new tower has provided notice to all other area wireless service providers of its application to encourage the co-location of additional antennas on the structure; and (C) the applicant and/or landlord agree to remove the facility within 90 days after abandonment, unless an extension is granted by the city;

(8) A statement by the applicant as to whether construction of the tower, antenna support structure, and other related facilities will accommodate co-location of additional antennas for future users;

(9) Copies of any environmental documents required pursuant to SEPA. Project actions which are categorically exempt from SEPA shall be exempt from this requirement. Copies of any environmental documents required by any federal agency. These shall include the environmental assessment required by FCC Para. 1.1307, or, in the event that an FCC environmental assessment is not required, a statement that describes the specific factors that obviate the requirement for an environmental assessment;

(10) A letter signed by the applicant stating the tower will comply with all FAA regulations and EIA standards and all other applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations;

(11) Certification that the antenna usage will not interfere with other adjacent or neighboring transmission or reception functions;

(12) Documentation that the telecommunications company is licensed by the FCC if required to be licensed under FCC regulations;

(13) Documentation that the applicant, if not the telecommunications service provider, has a valid lease agreement with an FCC licensed telecommunications provider if such telecommunications provider is required to be licensed by the FCC;

(14) Documentation as to how the proposed site will fit into the applicant’s existing overall network within the city. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.010 Co-location.

(a) To minimize adverse visual impacts associated with the proliferation of towers, co-location of personal wireless service facilities on existing or new towers is encouraged as follows:

(1) Proposed facilities may, and are encouraged to, co-locate onto existing towers. Co-location is permitted subject to administrative use permit approval, and new or amended conditional use permit approval is not required; provided, that all other permit, license, lease, or franchise requirements are satisfied, the modified facilities do not require a variance, and the co-location is accomplished in a manner consistent with the policies, design criteria, and other requirements contained in this chapter.

(2) The city may deny an application to construct new facilities if the applicant has not shown by substantial evidence that it has made a diligent effort to mount the facilities on an existing building, existing structure or existing tower.

(3) To reduce the number of antenna support structures needed in the city in the future, new proposed support structures shall be designed to accommodate antennas for more than one user, unless the applicant demonstrates why such design is not feasible for economic, technical or physical reasons.

(4) Unless co-location is not feasible, an applicant’s site plan shall reserve an area for other providers’ equipment near the base of the applicant’s tower. A first right-of-refusal, which is either executed or maintained while the provider’s personal wireless facilities and services are in use, to lease the area at the base of the tower or mount for other providers will meet the reservation requirement. The site plan for towers in excess of 100 feet above ground level must propose space for two comparable providers, while the site plan for towers 100 feet or less must propose space for one comparable provider.

(5) To provide further incentive for co-location, an existing conforming tower may be modified subject to administrative use permit approval to accommodate co-location without a new or amended conditional use permit, provided the following conditions are met:

(A) An existing tower may be modified or rebuilt to a taller height, not to exceed 20 feet over the tower’s existing height and subject to the other provisions of this chapter. The height change may occur only once per tower;

(B) The additional antenna is of the same general type and size as that on the existing tower;

(C) The modifications do not increase the height of the tower and/or antenna beyond the height threshold which requires a variance.

(6) While co-location and the requirements herein are encouraged, co-location shall not take precedence over the construction of shorter towers with appropriate screening. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.011 Design criteria.

(a) As provided in FMC 22.24.010, new facilities shall be designed to accommodate co-location, unless the applicant demonstrates why such design is not feasible for economic, technical, or physical reasons.

(b) Facilities shall be architecturally compatible with the surrounding buildings and land uses and screened or otherwise integrated, through location and design, to blend in with the existing characteristics of the site.

(1) Setback. Antennas and associated support structures shall comply with the minimum setback requirements specified in the underlying zone district and shall not be located within the area between the front setback line and the front of the main building(s) on a lot; provided, however, that the city may reduce such requirements if:

(A) There are unusual geographical limitations which preclude the placement of the facilities in full compliance with the specified setback requirement;

(B) The placement of the facilities within the required setback will allow for more effective screening and camouflaging of the facilities; and

(C) There will be no significant adverse impact on adjoining properties resulting from the reduced setback.

The city may, on a case-by-case basis, increase the required setbacks for antennas and associated support facilities, if necessary, to ensure that potential impacts on adjoining properties are effectively mitigated.

(2) Right-of-Way Setback Exception. The setback requirement may be waived if the antenna and antenna support structure are located in the city right-of-way.

(3) View Corridors. Due consideration shall be given so that placement of towers, antennas, and personal wireless service facilities does not obstruct or significantly diminish views of Mt. Rainier or the Olympic Mountains.

(4) Color. Towers shall have a color generally matching the surroundings or background that minimizes their visibility unless a different color is required by the FCC or FAA.

(5) Lights, Signals and Signs. No signals, lights, or signs shall be permitted on towers unless required by the FCC or FAA. Should lighting be required, in cases where there are residents located within a distance which is 300 percent of the height of the tower, then dual mode lighting shall be requested from the FAA.

(6) Equipment Structures. Ground level equipment, buildings, and the tower base shall be screened from public view. The standards for the equipment buildings are as follows:

(A) The maximum floor area is 300 square feet and the maximum height is 12 feet. Except in unusual circumstances or for other public policy considerations the equipment building may be located no more than 250 feet from the tower or antenna. Depending upon the aesthetics and other issues, the city, in its sole discretion, may approve multiple equipment structures or one or more larger structures.

(B) Ground-level buildings shall be screened from view by landscape plantings, fencing, or other appropriate means, as specified herein or in the city’s design guidelines or other applicable standards, unless it can be demonstrated that such screening will create a greater negative visual impact than an unscreened building.

(C) Equipment buildings mounted on a roof shall have a finish similar to the exterior building walls. Equipment for roof-mounted antenna may also be located within the building on which the antenna is mounted.

(D) Equipment buildings shall comply with setback requirements specified in the underlying zone district and shall be designed so as to conform in appearance with nearby residential structures if located within a residential land use designation area.

(E) Equipment buildings, antennas, and related equipment shall occupy no more than 25 percent of the total roof area of the building the facility is mounted on, which may vary in the city’s sole discretion if co-location and an adequate screening structure are used.

(7) Federal Requirements. All towers must meet or exceed current standards and regulations of the FAA, the FCC, and any other agency of the federal government with the authority to regulate towers and antennas. If those standards and regulations are changed, then personal wireless service providers governed by this chapter shall bring their towers and antennas into compliance with the revised standards and regulations within three months of their effective date or the timelines provided by the revised standards and regulations, whichever time period is longer. The revised standards and regulations are not retroactively applicable to existing providers, unless otherwise provided or permitted by federal law. Failure to bring towers and antennas into compliance with the revised standards and regulations shall constitute grounds for the city to remove a provider’s facilities at the provider’s expense.

(8) Building Codes, Safety Standards. To ensure the structural integrity of towers, the provider/owner of a tower shall ensure that it is maintained in compliance with standards contained in applicable city building codes and the applicable standards for towers that are published by the EIA, as amended from time to time. If, upon inspection, the city concludes that a tower fails to comply with such codes and standards and constitutes a danger to persons or property, then upon notice being provided to the provider/owner of the tower, the owner shall have 30 days to bring the tower into compliance with such standards. If the provider/owner fails to bring its tower into compliance within 30 days, the city may remove the tower at the provider’s/owner’s expense.

(9) Structural Design. Towers shall be constructed to the EIA standards, which may be amended from time to time, and to all applicable construction/building codes. Further, any improvements or additions to existing towers shall require submission of plans stamped by a licensed structural engineer which demonstrate compliance with the EIA standards and all other good industry practices. The plans shall be submitted and reviewed at the time building permits are requested.

(10) Fencing. A well-constructed wall or wooden fence not less than six feet in height from the finished grade shall be provided around each personal wireless service facility. Access to the tower shall be through a locked gate. The use of chain link, plastic, vinyl, or wire fencing is prohibited unless it is fully screened from public view by a minimum eight-foot-wide landscaping strip. All landscaping shall comply with the city’s design guidelines and other applicable standards.

(11) Landscaping/Screening.

(A) Landscaping, as described herein, shall be required to screen personal wireless service facilities, as much as possible, to soften the appearance of the cell site. The city may permit 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. If the antenna is mounted flush on an existing building, and other equipment is housed inside an existing structure, landscaping shall not be required.

(B) The visual impacts of a personal wireless service facility shall be mitigated through landscaping or other screening materials at the base of the tower and ancillary structures. The following landscaping and buffering shall be required around the perimeter of the tower and accessory structures, except that the city may waive the standards for those sides of the facility that are not in public view. Landscaping and any irrigation deemed necessary by the city shall be installed on the outside of fences. Further, existing vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent practicable and may be used as a substitute for, or as a supplement to, landscaping requirements.

(i) A row of evergreen trees a minimum of six feet tall at planting and a maximum of six feet apart shall be planted around the perimeter of the fence;

(ii) A continuous hedge at least 36 inches high at planting capable of growing to at least 48 inches in height within 18 months shall be planted in front of the tree line referenced above;

(iii) In the event that landscaping is not maintained at the required level, the city after giving 30 days’ advance written notice may maintain or establish the landscaping and bill both the owner and lessee for such costs until such costs are paid in full.

(12) Tower and Antenna Height.

(A) The applicant shall demonstrate that the tower and antenna are the minimum height required to function satisfactorily. No tower or antenna that is taller than this minimum height shall be approved. No tower or mount shall exceed 60 feet in low density residential, medium density residential, high density residential and neighborhood commercial land use designation areas or 110 feet in the mixed-use land use designation area. Towers or mounts shall not exceed 60 feet in areas designated parks, recreation, and open space, and public and quasi-public facilities, if located within 250 feet of a land use designation area with a 60-foot height limit. Otherwise, towers or mounts located in these two land use designation areas shall not exceed 110 feet.

(B) A variance from the height limit may be granted if the applicant can show by clear and convincing evidence that the additional height is necessary to provide adequate service to the residents of the city and no other alternative is available. When granting a variance, the hearing examiner shall require that a significant portion of the tower and related facilities be screened by existing trees or existing structures. Generally, this means that all but the top 15 feet of the tower and related facilities shall be screened by existing trees or existing structures. Variance criteria are listed in FMC 22.24.013.

(13) Antenna Support Structure Safety. The applicant shall demonstrate that the proposed antenna and support structure are safe, and the surrounding areas will not be negatively affected by support structure failure, falling ice, or other debris or interference. All support structures shall be fitted with anti-climbing devices, as approved by the manufacturers.

(14) Required Parking. If the cell site is fully automated, adequate parking shall be required for maintenance workers. If the site is not automated, arrangements for adequate off-street parking shall be made and documentation thereof provided to the city, unless it can be demonstrated that the use of on-street parking spaces will create less impact on the immediate neighborhood. Security fencing should be colored or of a design which blends into the character of the existing environment consistent with the provisions listed in subsection (b)(10) of this section.

(15) Antenna Criteria. Antenna on or above a structure shall be subject to the following:

(A) The antenna shall be architecturally compatible with the building and wall on which it is mounted and shall be designed and located so as to minimize any adverse aesthetic impact.

(B) The antenna shall be mounted on a wall of an existing building in a configuration as flush to the wall as technically possible and shall not project above the wall on which it is mounted unless it must for technical reasons. In no event shall an antenna project more than 16 feet above the roof line including parapets. An antenna may project into a required building setback a distance not to exceed that allowed for architectural projections in the underlying zoning district; provided, that such encroachment is required for technical reasons.

(C) The antenna shall be constructed, painted, or fully screened to match as closely as possible the color and texture of the building and wall on which it is mounted.

(D) The antenna may be attached to an existing conforming mechanical equipment enclosure which projects above the roof of the building but may not project more than 16 feet above the roofline of the building including parapets but excluding the enclosure.

(E) If an accessory equipment shelter is present, it must blend with the surrounding buildings in architectural character and color.

(F) The structure must be architecturally and visually (color, size, bulk) compatible with surrounding existing buildings, structures, vegetation, and uses. Such facilities will be considered architecturally and visually compatible if they are camouflaged to disguise the facility.

(G) Site location and development shall preserve the preexisting character of the site as much as possible. Existing vegetation should be preserved or improved, and disturbance of the existing topography of the site should be minimized, unless such disturbance would result in less visual impact of the site on the surrounding area. The effectiveness of visual mitigation techniques must be evaluated in advance by the city relative to its design guidelines and other applicable standards.

(H) For installations on buildings 30 feet or less in height, the antenna may be mounted on the roof if the following additional criteria are satisfied:

(i) The city finds that it is not technically possible or aesthetically desirable to mount the antenna on a wall.

(ii) No portion of the antenna or base station causes the height of the building to exceed the limitations set forth herein.

(iii) The antenna or antennas and related base stations cover no more than an aggregate total of 25 percent of the roof area of a building, which may vary in the city’s sole discretion, if co-locating and an adequate screening structure are used.

(iv) Roof-mounted antenna and related base stations are centrally located on the roof and completely screened from view by materials that are consistent and compatible with the design, color, and materials of the building.

(v) No portion of the antenna exceeds 16 feet above the roofline of the existing building including parapets but excluding mechanical equipment enclosures and other projecting features.

(I) Antennas attached to the roof or sides of a building at least 30 feet in height, an existing tower, a water tank, or a similar structure must be centrally located when placed on a building roof and in all locations either:

(i) An omnidirectional or whip antenna no more than seven inches in diameter and extending no more than 16 feet above the structure to which it is attached; or

(ii) A panel antenna no more than two feet wide and six feet long, extending above the structure to which it is attached by no more than 10 feet.

(J) Except as set forth herein, no signs, banners or similar devices or materials may be attached to the tower, antenna support structures or antennas.

(K) Antennas, antenna arrays, and support structures not on publicly owned property shall not extend more than 16 feet above the highest point of the structure on which they are mounted. The antenna, antenna array, and their support structure shall be mounted so as to blend with the structure to which the antenna is attached. The antenna and its support structure shall be designed to withstand a wind force of 100 miles per hour without the use of supporting guy wires. The antenna, antenna array, and their support structure shall be a color that blends with the structure on which they are mounted.

(L) Guy Wires Restricted. No guy or other support wires shall be used in connection with such antenna, antenna array, or its support structure except when used to anchor the antenna, antenna array, or support structure to an existing building to which such antenna, antenna array, or support structure is attached.

(M) To the extent that antennas are attached to electric, phone or light poles and such antennas are no more than two feet in height, administrative use and building permit review will be required, but such antennas shall not be subject to setback and screening requirements.

(N) If a proposed antenna is located on a building or a lot subject to a site review, approval is required prior to the issuance of a building permit.

(O) No antenna shall be permitted on property designated as an individual landmark or as a part of a historic district unless such antenna is camouflaged in accordance with applicable design guidelines.

(P) All personal wireless service providers or lessees or agents thereof shall cooperate in good faith to accommodate co-location with competitors. If a dispute arises about the feasibility of co-locating, the planning/building director may require a third-party technical study, at the expense of either or both parties, to resolve the dispute.

(Q) All personal wireless service providers or lessees shall assure that their antenna complies at all times with the current applicable FCC standards. After installation, but prior to putting the antenna in service, each provider shall submit a certification by an independent professional radio frequency (RF) engineer to that effect. In the event that an antenna is co-located with another antenna, the certification must provide assurances that FCC-approved levels of electromagnetic radiation will not be exceeded by the co-location.

(R) No antenna shall cause localized interference with the reception of any other communications signals including, but not limited to, public safety, television, and radio broadcast signals.

(S) No person shall locate an antenna or tower for wireless communications services upon any lot or parcel except as provided in this chapter.

(16) Noise. No equipment shall be operated so as to produce noise in violation of the maximum noise levels set forth in Chapter 173-60 WAC. (Ord. 1667 § 2, 2020; Ord. 1638 § 18, 2019; Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.012 Permits required.

Project permit review procedures are specified in this title. The following table specifies the permits required for the various types of personal wireless service facilities that meet the standards of this chapter:

Type of Permit

Type of Facility

Conditional Use

Administrative Use

Building Permit

Towers ≤ 110 feet and structure-mounted or building-mounted wireless facilities in: mixed-use; parks, recreation and open space; and public and quasi-public facilities land use designation areas


(only if variance required)


(if no variance is required)


Towers ≤ 60 feet and structure-mounted or building-mounted wireless facilities in: neighborhood commercial; high density residential; medium density residential; and low density residential land use designation areas




Antenna mounted on building




Modification of existing facilities to accommodate co-location, including “eligible facilities request” pursuant to federal law




All other towers and structure-mounted or building-mounted wireless facilities which require a variance




(Ord. 1667 § 3, 2020; Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.013 Variances.

Variances from the provisions of this chapter shall be processed in accordance with this title and may be granted by the hearing examiner upon making the following findings:

(a) The granting of the variance will facilitate the installation of facilities which represent a positive design improvement over what would otherwise be permitted by this chapter.

(b) The granting of the variance is necessary for adequate service to be provided to residents of the city, and no alternative locations or designs are available to provide an adequate level of service to the city.

(c) Such variance is necessary because of special circumstances relating to the size, shape, topography, location or surroundings of the subject property.

(d) The granting of the variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to property or improvements in the vicinity in which the subject facilities would be located. (Ord. 1638 § 19, 2019; Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.014 Inspection requirements.

Each year after a facility becomes operational, the facility operator shall conduct a safety inspection in accordance with the EIA and FCC standards and within 30 days of the inspection file a report with the planning/building director. Submission of a copy of FCC-required, and duly filed, safety inspection report, or the facility operator’s maintenance reports for the prior 12 months in the event no FCC report is required for such year, shall satisfy the requirements of this section. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.015 Non-use/abandonment.

(a) Abandonment. No less than 30 days prior to the date that a personal wireless service provider plans to abandon or discontinue operation of a facility, the provider must notify the city of Fircrest by certified U.S. mail of the proposed date of abandonment or discontinuation of operation. In the event that a licensed carrier fails to give notice, the facility shall be considered abandoned upon the city’s discovery of discontinuation of operation. Upon such abandonment, the provider shall have 90 days or additional period of time determined in the reasonable discretion of the city within which to:

(1) Reactivate the use of the facility or transfer the facility to another provider who makes actual use of the facility.

(2) In the event that abandonment as defined in this chapter occurs due to relocation of an antenna at a lower point on the antenna support structure, reduction in the effective radiated power of the antenna or reduction in the number of transmissions from the antennas, the operator of the tower shall have six months from the date of effective abandonment to co-locate another service on the tower. If another service provider is not added to the tower, then the operator shall promptly dismantle and remove that portion of the tower which exceeds the minimum height required to function satisfactorily. Notwithstanding the foregoing, changes which are made to personal wireless facilities which do not diminish their essential role in providing a total system shall not constitute abandonment. However, in the event that there is a physical reduction in height of substantially all of the provider’s towers in the city or surrounding area then all of the towers within the city shall similarly be reduced in height, unless the provider demonstrates to the satisfaction of the city that a high tower site remains necessary to ensure full coverage in the community without having to build additional sites.

(3) Dismantle and remove facility. If the tower, antenna, foundation, and facility are not removed within the 90-day time period or additional period of time allowed by the city, the city may remove such tower, antenna, foundation, and related facility at the provider’s expense; provided, however, that recovery of expenses shall be limited to reasonable and documented costs of removal. If there are two or more providers co-locating on a facility, except as provided for in subsection (a)(2) of this section, this provision shall not become effective until all providers cease using the facility.

At the earlier of 90 days from the date of abandonment without reactivating or upon completion of dismantling and removal, city approval for the facility shall automatically expire, unless an extension is granted by the city. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).

22.24.016 Third party review.

(a) Personal wireless service providers use various methodologies and analyses, including geographically-based computer software, to determine the specific technical parameters of their services and low power mobile radio service facilities, such as expected coverage area, antenna configuration, topographic constraints that affect signal paths, etc. In certain instances, a third party expert may need to review the technical data submitted by a provider. The city may require a technical review as part of a permitting process. The costs of the technical review shall be borne by the provider.

(b) The selection of the third party expert may be by mutual agreement between the provider and the city, or at the discretion of the city, with a provision for the provider and interested parties to comment on the proposed expert and review its qualifications. The expert review is intended to address interference and public safety issues and be a site-specific review of technical aspects of the facilities or a review of the provider’s methodology and equipment used and not a subjective review of the site which was selected by a provider. Based on the results of the expert review, the city may require changes to the provider’s application. The expert review shall address the following:

(1) The accuracy and completeness of submissions;

(2) The applicability of analysis techniques and methodologies;

(3) The validity of conclusions reached; and

(4) Any specific technical issues designated by the city. (Ord. 1153 § 2, 1997).