Chapter 21.90
WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES

Sections:

21.90.010    Purpose.

21.90.020    Definitions.

21.90.030    Exemptions.

21.90.040    Types of review.

21.90.050    Location of wireless communications facilities.

21.90.100    Design standards.

21.90.150    Height standards.

21.90.200    Noise.

21.90.250    Co-location.

21.90.260    City structure use fee.

21.90.275    Eligible facilities requests – Substantial change criteria.

21.90.280    Eligible facilities requests – Procedure.

21.90.300    Discontinuation of use.

21.90.350    Submittal requirements.

21.90.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide placement, design and screening criteria for all wireless communications facilities (WCFs) in the city of Lynnwood in order to protect the public health, safety, general welfare, and quality of life in Lynnwood while preserving the rights of wireless communications providers. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018; Ord. 2441 § 21, 2003; Ord. 2270 § 1, 1999)

21.90.020 Definitions.

The following definitions shall only apply to this chapter:

“Base station” means a structure or equipment at a fixed location that enables FCC-licensed or authorized wireless communications between user equipment and a communications network. The term does not encompass a tower as defined in this section or any equipment associated with a tower. The term “base station” includes, but is not limited to:

1. Equipment associated with wireless communications services such as private, broadcast, and public safety services, as well as licensed wireless services and fixed services such as microwave backhaul.

2. Radio transceivers, antennas, coaxial or fiber-optic cable, regular and backup power supplies, and comparable equipment, regardless of technological configuration (including distributed antenna systems and small cell networks).

3. Any structure other than a tower that, at the time the relevant application is filed with the city under this chapter, supports or houses equipment as described in subsections (1) and (2) of this definition that has been reviewed and approved under the applicable zoning or siting process, or under another government regulatory review process, even if the structure was not built for the sole or primary purpose of providing such support.

4. The term does not include any structure that, at the time the relevant application is filed with the city under this section, does not support or house equipment described in subsections (1) and (2) of this definition.

“Co-location” means the mounting or installation of transmission equipment on an eligible support structure for the purpose of transmitting and/or receiving radio frequency signals for communications purposes.

“Distributed antenna system” or “DAS” means a network consisting of transceiver equipment at a central hub site to support multiple antenna locations throughout the desired coverage area.

“Eligible facility request” means any request for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that involves (A) co-location of new transmission equipment; (B) removal of transmission equipment; or (C) replacement of transmission equipment.

“Eligible support structure” means any tower or base station as defined in this section; provided, that it is existing at the time the relevant application is filed with the city under this chapter.

“Existing” means a constructed tower or base station that has been reviewed and approved under the applicable zoning or siting process, or under another government regulatory review process; provided, that a tower that has not been reviewed or approved because it was in a non-zoned area when it was built, but was lawfully constructed, is existing for the purposes of this definition.

“FCC” means the Federal Communications Commission.

“Site” means for towers other than towers in the public rights-of-way, the current boundaries of the leased or owned property surrounding the tower and any access or utility easements currently related to the site, and, for other eligible support structures, further restricted to that area in proximity to the structure and to other transmission equipment already deployed on the ground.

“Small cell facility” means a personal wireless services facility that meets both of the following qualifications:

1. Each antenna is located inside an antenna enclosure of no more than three cubic feet in volume or, in the case of an antenna that has exposed elements, the antenna and all of its exposed elements could fit within an imaginary enclosure of no more than three cubic feet; and

2. Primary equipment enclosures are no larger than 17 cubic feet in volume. The following associated equipment may be located outside the primary equipment enclosure and, if so located, are not included in the calculation of equipment volume: electric meter, concealment, telecom demarcation box, ground-based enclosures, battery back-up power systems, grounding equipment, power transfer switch, and cutoff switch.

“Spectrum Act” means Title VI of the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, codified at 47 USC Section 1455.

“Substantial change” means a proposed facility modification that will substantially change the physical dimensions of an eligible support structure if it meets any of the criteria in LMC 21.90.275.

“Tower” means any structure built for the sole or primary purpose of supporting any FCC-licensed or authorized antennas and their associated facilities, including structures that are constructed for wireless communications services including, but not limited to, private, broadcast and public safety services, as well as unlicensed wireless services and fixed wireless services such as microwave backhaul, and the associated site.

“Transmission equipment” means equipment that facilitates transmission for any FCC-licensed or authorized wireless communications service, including, but not limited to, radio transceivers, antennas, coaxial or fiber optic cable, and regular and backup power supply. The term includes equipment associated with wireless communications services including, but not limited to, private, broadcast, and public safety services, as well as unlicensed wireless services and fixed wireless services such as microwave backhaul. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018)

21.90.030 Exemptions.

A. The following are exempt from the review requirements of LMC 21.90.040, and are permitted in all zones subject to approval of construction permits, including but not limited to building permits, electrical permits, and right-of-way permits, as they are applicable; provided, that the WCF shall meet all other applicable requirements of this chapter:

1. WCF infrastructure and other equipment owned and operated by an electric utility for the purpose of providing retail electric service.

2. Small cell facilities and networks, with each small cell consisting of one or more antennas and other associated electronics and equipment, which are attached to a structure and meet the parameters in subsection (A)(2)(a) of this section. The supporting structure may already exist and may be extended or replaced, or it may be newly constructed for the purpose of installing a small cell facility, so long as the supporting structure meets the requirements of subsections (A)(2)(b) and (A)(2)(c) of this section.

a. Each small cell facility shall meet the requirements of RCW 80.36.375(2)(d).

b. In the city’s rights-of-way, the height of a new, extended or replacement support structure for the installation of a small cell facility shall not exceed the greater of:

i. Ten feet above the tallest existing utility pole in the right-of-way, in place as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, located within 500 feet of the support structure; or

ii. Fifty feet above ground level.

c. Outside of the city’s rights-of-way, the height of a new or existing support structure for the installation of a small cell facility shall not exceed the maximum building height for the applicable zone by more than 10 feet, and the height of an extended or replacement structure shall not exceed the height limitation in LMC 21.90.150(C).

B. The following are exempt from the requirements of this chapter, and are subject to approval of construction permits, including but not limited to building permits, electrical permits, and right-of-way permits, as they are applicable:

1. Minor changes to existing WCFs, as follows:

a. Replacement of WCFs with those of similar appearance and configuration.

b. Addition of antennas to an existing rooftop location that is fully screened from view.

c. Addition of antennas to an existing tower when there is no increase in tower or antenna height.

2. In the event an emergency or disaster is officially declared for the area, the community development director may exempt temporary WCFs from the requirements of this chapter during the duration of such emergency or disaster. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018; Ord. 2441 § 21, 2003; Ord. 2270 § 1, 1999)

21.90.040 Types of review.

Unless exempt under LMC 21.90.030, WCFs are subject to the following types of review:

A. WCFs that are permitted as conditional uses are subject to Process I.

B. All other WCFs are subject to Process III, except to the extent that Process III must be modified to meet the requirements of LMC 21.90.275 (Eligible facilities requests) and 47 CFR § 1.40001. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018)

21.90.050 Location of wireless communications facilities.

A. It is the policy of the city of Lynnwood to locate WCFs in the city according to the following order of preference (highest to lowest preference):

1. Attached on existing structures such as buildings, new or existing communication towers, and utility facilities. Preference is to the fascia of buildings or mechanical penthouses.

2. Co-located (on one support structure) with other WCFs.

3. In the industrial zones as permitted in LMC 21.50.100.

4. In commercial zones as permitted in LMC 21.46.100.

5. In residential zones as permitted in LMC 21.42.100.

B. WCFs shall be located where the existing topography, vegetation, buildings, or other structures provide the greatest amount of screening from nearby public spaces, residential and commercial uses. The support structure shall be located in close proximity to trees of comparable heights and in areas where they are otherwise visually compatible or designed to be compatible.

C. WCFs shall not be located within 1,320 linear feet of any other WCF except when located on an existing building, structure or wireless facility (that is, without a new support structure) or when permitted through the conditional use permit process as described in the appropriate zoning district in which proposed. For the purpose of this section, all distances shall be measured in a straight line without regard to intervening structures, from the nearest point of the proposed wireless communications support structure to the nearest point of another wireless communications support structure. This subsection does not apply to small cell facilities or WCFs owned or operated by electric utilities that are exempt under LMC 21.90.030(A).

D. WCFs located in a right-of-way shall meet the requirements of the abutting or closest zone (as measured from the base of the support structure or the attached facility) and this chapter. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018; Ord. 2441 § 21, 2003; Ord. 2270 § 1, 1999)

21.90.100 Design standards.

A. Signs or advertising devices other than certification, warning, or other legally required seals or signs shall not be placed on or attached to WCFs.

B. Accessory equipment shall meet the following standards:

1. All accessory equipment associated with the operation of the WCF shall be located within a building, enclosure, or underground vault that complies with the development standards of the zoning district in which the accessory equipment is located.

2. Accessory equipment enclosures shall be visually compatible with the surrounding buildings (such as same construction material as primary building(s), same color, etc.) and include sufficient landscaping to screen the structure from view, and shall be subject to approval by the community development director.

3. Accessory equipment enclosures shall be limited to the housing of radio, electronic and related power equipment, and shall not be used for any other purpose, including storage.

C. All WCFs shall employ concealment technology in their design, construction, and maintenance in order to reduce the WCFs’ aesthetic impacts to the maximum extent possible; provided, that public utilities using WCF equipment in connection with providing retail electric service must comply with industry standards and best practices. Such concealment technology shall include, at a minimum, the following:

1. All antenna support structures and antennas not concealed within an enclosure shall be painted a nonreflective color, subject to approval by the community development director, which blends into the nearby surroundings of the WCF so as to minimize the visual impact of the support structure and antennas.

2. New antenna support structures shall be located in such a manner that existing trees on the site are used to screen the WCF from view from roadways, residences, and other properties; provided, however, that all WCFs shall be designed in a manner which minimizes the need for removal or topping of existing trees.

3. To the maximum extent reasonably practical, WCFs shall be designed to resemble an object other than a WCF that is already present in the local environment, such as a tree or a street light. It may include the use of colors or materials to blend into the building materials from which a structure is constructed. Examples of concealment technology include, but are not limited to, the use of innovative site design techniques, existing or new vegetation and landscaping, paint and other surface treatments, alternative antenna configuration and/or selection, utilization of antenna support structures designed to resemble trees, and any other practice which screens the WCF from observation from roadways, residences, and other properties or otherwise has the effect of reducing the aesthetic impacts associated with the WCF.

D. All screening for attached WCFs shall be compatible with the existing architecture, color, texture and/or materials of the building, and when located on roofs shall avoid the “porcupine effect” through camouflage or other techniques acceptable to the community development director.

E. Monopole foundations and structures upon which antennas are to be mounted shall be designed to accommodate at least two carriers’ antennas.

F. Fencing, if permitted or required for locations outside the right-of-way, shall conform to the following:

1. No fence shall exceed the height permitted for the respective zone in which the facility is to be located. The fencing surrounding the WCF may be of a chain link material.

2. A landscaping buffer shall be provided to buffer the view of the WCF structure(s) and fence from off site. The landscaping buffer shall at a minimum be five feet in width and consist of evergreen shrubs with a mature height of at least 10 feet planted a maximum of five feet on center. The evergreen shrub at planting shall have a minimum height of six feet. Vegetation shall not be placed within safety sight prisms for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

G. Lighting for the WCF may be used for security reasons only and shall be shielded to prevent off-site glare. All exterior lighting shall be subject to approval by the community development director. In no case except when specifically required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) will the wireless communications support structure be lighted.

H. Small Cell Concealment and Design. Installation of small cells shall adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Small cells located within the city center-designated zones shall be compatible with the city center design guidelines and the city center streetscape plan. Applicant shall propose design concepts and use materials that follow the design character of the city center zones.

2. If a pole is to be replaced within the city center-designated zones, the design of such pole shall conform to those adopted by the city center streetscape plan, to the extent technically feasible.

3. Small cells’ cabling and wiring shall be entirely encased within the supporting structure, such as a light pole, or if attached to a wood pole, the cabling and wiring shall be concealed to the best extent possible and the color shall match the pole.

4. All cabling and wiring shall be placed opposite that of oncoming traffic and outer edge (sidewalk side) of right-of-way, when feasible.

5. All cabling shall be secured as close to the pole as allowed by the pole owner, or as required by applicable electrical codes for the pole to remain climbable. No excess cable loops shall be allowed on poles. Cabling shall be routed in the most direct path possible.

6. To the extent technically feasible, equipment located at the top of the pole shall utilize pole-top shrouding. Any facilities located off pole must remain in above-ground cabinetry not obstructing the pedestrian pathway, or be located underground.

7. When interior concealment is not possible, installation of an antenna on a pole shall be flush mounted or otherwise attached as close to the pole as technically feasible, or located at the top of the pole.

8. Antennas shall be located in an enclosure of no more than three cubic feet in volume, or in case of an antenna that has exposed elements, the antenna and all its exposed elements could fit within an imaginary enclosure of no more than three cubic feet on a single pole with a total volume not to exceed 12 cubic feet.

9. Where conduits or other pathways require the cutting of streets or sidewalks, concrete infill shall be used for reconstructing all curbs and sidewalks. Asphalt patch materials in bike or pedestrian pathways will not be permitted without authorization by the city engineer.

10. If any provision in this subsection (H) is inconsistent with another provision in this section, this subsection (H) shall control. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018; Ord. 2441 § 21, 2003; Ord. 2270 § 1, 1999)

21.90.150 Height standards.

A. Except for electric utility poles or towers, the height of the wireless communications support structure is inclusive of any attachments.

B. WCFs utilizing a wireless communications support structure shall be limited to the maximum building height for the applicable zone.

C. Attached WCFs shall be limited to no more than 10 feet in height above the support structure; provided, that existing or replacement utility poles may extend up to 15 feet higher than the existing pole, to the extent required to provide for safety clearance from electrical wires. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018; Ord. 2270 § 1, 1999)

21.90.200 Noise.

See Chapter 10.12 LMC. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018; Ord. 2270 § 1, 1999)

21.90.250 Co-location.

A. All applicants shall cooperate in good faith with existing WCF operators in co-locating additional antennas on support structures and/or on existing buildings, provided the existing operator has received a permit for such use at said site from the city.

B. All applicants shall exercise good faith in cooperating in co-locating with other providers and sharing the permitted site, provided such proposed shared use does not prevent or unreasonably interfere with the existing use (i.e., significant interference in broadcast or reception capabilities as opposed to competitive conflict or financial burden). Such good faith cooperation shall include sharing technical information necessary to evaluate the feasibility of co-location. In the event a dispute arises as to whether a provider has exercised good faith in accommodating other users, the city may require a third party technical study at the expense of either or both the applicant and the existing operator as to the feasibility of co-locating.

C. Failure to comply with the co-location requirements of this chapter may result in the denial of a permit request or revocation of an existing permit. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018; Ord. 2441 § 21, 2003; Ord. 2270 § 1, 1999)

21.19.260 City structure use fee.

Any person or entity seeking to attach or otherwise locate a WCF, including a small cell facility, on any city facility or structure, regardless of whether or not the city facility or structure is located in a right-of-way, shall pay the fee established in Chapter 3.104 LMC. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018)

21.90.275 Eligible facilities requests – Substantial change criteria.

A. Consistent with 47 USC Section 1455(a)(1) and 47 CFR 1.40001, the city may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station, so long as the modification does not substantially change the physical dimensions of the tower or base station. A modification substantially changes the physical dimensions of an eligible support structure if it meets any of the following criteria:

1. For towers other than towers in the public rights-of-way, it increases the height of the tower by more than 10 percent or by the height of one additional antenna array with separation from the nearest existing antenna not to exceed 20 feet, whichever is greater; for other eligible support structures, it increases the height of the structure by more than 10 percent or more than 10 feet, whichever is greater;

2. For towers other than towers in the public rights-of-way, it involves adding an appurtenance to the body of the tower that would protrude from the edge of the tower more than 20 feet, or more than the width of the tower structure at the level of the appurtenance, whichever is greater; for other eligible support structures, it involves adding an appurtenance to the body of the structure that would protrude from the edge of the structure by more than six feet;

3. For any eligible support structure, it involves installation of more than the standard number of new equipment cabinets for the technology involved, but not to exceed four cabinets; or, for towers in the public rights-of-way and base stations, it involves installation of any new equipment cabinets on the ground if there are no preexisting ground cabinets associated with the structure, or else involves installation of ground cabinets that are more than 10 percent larger in height or overall volume than any other ground cabinets associated with the structure;

4. It entails any excavation or deployment outside the current site;

5. It would defeat the concealment elements of the eligible support structure; or

6. It does not comply with conditions associated with the siting approval of the construction or modification of the eligible support structure or base station equipment; provided, however, that this limitation does not apply to any modification that is noncompliant only in a manner that would not exceed the thresholds identified in subsections (A)(1) through (A)(4) of this section. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018)

21.90.280 Eligible facilities requests –Procedure.

A. The city shall prepare and make publicly available an application form that is limited to the information necessary for the city to determine whether the eligible facilities request is for a modification to an existing tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of the tower or base station. The application form shall not require the applicant to demonstrate a need or business case for the proposed modification. The city will review the application form concurrently with its review of the applicant’s building permit and/or other required application(s).

B. Within 60 days of the date on which an applicant submits an application seeking approval under this section, the city shall approve the application unless it determines that the application is not covered by this section.

C. The 60-day review period begins to run when the application is filed, and may be tolled only by mutual agreement by the city and the applicant, or in cases where the city determines that the application is incomplete. The time frame for review is not tolled by a moratorium on the review of applications.

1. To toll the time frame for incompleteness, the city must provide written notice to the applicant within 30 days of receipt of the application, specifically delineating all missing documents or information required in the application.

2. The time frame for review begins running again when the applicant makes a supplemental submission in response to the department’s notice of incompleteness.

3. Following a supplemental submission, the city shall notify the applicant within 10 days if the supplemental submission did not provide the information identified in the original notice delineating missing information. The time frame is tolled in the case of second or subsequent notices pursuant to the procedures identified in subsection (E) of this section. Second or subsequent notices of incompleteness may not specify missing documents or information that was not delineated in the original notice of incompleteness.

D. In the event the city fails to approve or deny a request seeking approval under this section within the time frame for review (accounting for any tolling), the request shall be deemed granted. The deemed grant does not become effective until the applicant notifies the city in writing after the review period has expired (accounting for any tolling) that the application has been deemed granted. A deemed grant under this section does not apply to other applications for required permits.

E. Notwithstanding any other provision of LMC Title 21 or Chapter 1.35 LMC, no administrative appeal is provided for review of a decision to condition, deny, or approve an eligible facilities modification application. Any appeals must be brought pursuant to the Land Use Petition Act, Chapter 36.70C RCW. However, the city and the applicant retain all remedies provided under the Spectrum Act and its implementing rules.

F. This section shall be interpreted and applied with reference to 47 CFR 1.40001. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018)

21.90.300 Discontinuation of use.

A. Lawfully erected WCFs that are no longer being used shall be removed promptly from the premises or right-of-way, no later than six months after the discontinuation of use, except as otherwise provided by law. A WCF is considered abandoned if it ceases to provide wireless communications services that are substantially consistent with the application and/or purposes for which the WCF was constructed for six or more months (occasional use shall not affect the six-month period). Such removal shall be in accordance with health and safety requirements and all ordinances, rules and regulations of the city. The wireless communications provider shall send to the city a copy of the discontinuation notice required by the FCC at the time the notice is sent to the regulatory agency. If a shared support structure was installed, the last provider removing equipment must remove the support structure within six months or make arrangements with the original installer to remove within six months.

B. All facilities determined to be abandoned and not removed within the required six-month period from the date of notice shall be in violation of this chapter, and operators of the facility and the owners of the property shall be subject to penalties for violations under the enforcement provisions of the zoning code. The city may remove all abandoned facilities following the six-month removal period at the operators’ expense. Facilities removed by the city shall be stored for no less than 30 days and thereafter be disposed of by public auction, if deemed to be of value by the city, or otherwise as permitted by law. (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018; Ord. 2441 § 21, 2003; Ord. 2270 § 1, 1999)

21.90.350 Submittal requirements.

In addition to the information required by any other part of the municipal code, the following items shall be required for any application for land use, development or construction permit for a WCF:

A. A statement providing the reasons for the location, design and height of the proposed tower or antennas.

B. The contact name managing the facility, the telephone number and mailing address.

C. A map showing any existing and/or approved WCFs within 2,640 feet of the proposed new facilities site (not required of attached facilities).

D. A current overall system plan for the city or area, showing facilities presently constructed or approved and propagation maps including frequency and wattage showing the before and after coverage with the new facility (not required of attached facilities).

E. Evidence satisfactory to the community development director demonstrating that location or co-location is unfeasible on existing buildings and existing tower facility sites for reasons of structural support capabilities, safety, available space, or failing to meet service coverage area needs. Not required of attached facilities; provided, that this information shall not be required for an application to locate a WCF on an existing building or existing tower facility.

F. A site/landscaping plan showing the specific placement of existing structures, trees, and other significant site features, and indicating type and locations of plant materials proposed to be used to screen WCF components and the proposed color(s) for the communication facility.

G. A signed statement indicating:

1. The applicant agrees to allow for the co-location of additional WCF equipment by other providers and the applicant’s structure consistent with the provisions of this chapter.

2. The applicant agrees to remove the facility within six months after use of the site is discontinued.

H. Plans showing connections to utilities of WCF equipment, ownership of those utilities, and any proposed right-of-way cuts or easements (not required for attached facilities).

I. Documents demonstrating that any necessary easements or property rights have been obtained.

J. Plans showing how vehicle access shall be provided.

K. A deposit as shown in Chapter 3.104 LMC (Ord. 3290 § 2, 2018; Ord. 2656 §§ 1, 2, 2006; Ord. 2441 § 21, 2003; Ord. 2270 § 1, 1999)