Chapter 15.30
WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITY REGULATIONS

Sections:

15.30.010    Title.

15.30.020    Definitions.

15.30.030    Applicability.

15.30.040    Exemptions.

15.30.050    Permit required.

15.30.060    Application requirements.

15.30.070    Siting hierarchy.

15.30.080    Base station hierarchy.

15.30.090    General requirements.

15.30.100    Design standards.

15.30.110    Technical evaluation.

15.30.120    Cessation of use.

15.30.130    Light poles.

15.30.140    Eligibility facilities request.

15.30.150    Enforcement – Violation.

15.30.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known and referred to as the “Wireless Communications Facility Regulations of the Town of Twisp” and may be referred to as such. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

“Antenna” means any structure or device used to collect or radiate electromagnetic waves for the provisions of services including, but not limited to, cellular, paging, personal communication services (PCS) and microwave communications.

“Base station” means a structure or equipment at a fixed location that enables FCClicensed or authorized wireless communications between user equipment and a communications network. The term does not encompass a tower as defined herein or any equipment associated with a tower. Base station includes, without limitation:

(a) Equipment associated with wireless communications services such as private, broadcast, and public safety services, as well as unlicensed wireless services and fixed wireless services such as microwave backhaul.

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

(c) Any structure other than a tower that, at the time the relevant application is filed with the town of Twisp under this section, supports or houses equipment described in subsections (a) and (b) of this definition that has been reviewed and approved under the applicable siting process, or under another state or local regulatory review process, even if the structure was not built for the sole or primary purpose of providing that support.

The term does not include any structure that, at the time the relevant application is filed with the town of Twisp under this chapter, does not support or house equipment described in subsections (a) and (b) of this definition.

“Collocation” 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.

“Eligible facilities request” means any request for modification of an existing tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station, involving:

(a) Collocation 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 chapter; provided, that it is existing at the time the relevant application is filed with the town of Twisp under this chapter.

Existing. A constructed tower or base station is existing for purposes of this chapter if it has been reviewed and approved under the applicable siting process, or under another state or local regulatory review process; provided, that a tower or base station that has not been reviewed and approved when it was built, but was lawfully constructed, is existing for purposes of this chapter.

“Monopole” means a single, freestanding pole-type structure supporting one or more antenna. For the purposes of this chapter, a monopole is not a tower.

“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.

Substantial Change. A modification substantially changes the physical dimensions of an eligible support structure if it meets any of the following criteria:

(a) 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;

(b) 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;

(c) For any eligible support structure, it involves installation of more than the standard number of new equipment cabinets for the technology involved; 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;

(d) It entails any excavation or deployment outside the current site;

(e) It would defeat the concealment elements of the eligible support structure; or

(f) 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) through (d) of this definition.

“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.

“Wireless communications facilities (WCF)” means any structure or device used to collect or radiate electromagnetic waves for the provisions of services including, but not limited to, cellular, paging, personal communication services (PCS) and microwave communications. Such structures and devices include, but are not limited to, directional antennas such as panels, microwave dishes and satellite dishes, and omnidirectional antennas, such as whips. This definition does not apply to broadcast antennas, antennas designed for amateur radio use or satellite dishes designed for residential or household purposes. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.030 Applicability.

If a conflict arises between this chapter and the provisions of another chapter regarding wireless communications facilities, this chapter shall govern. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.040 Exemptions.

Exemptions shall comply with generally applicable building, structural, electrical and safety codes, and other laws codifying objective standards reasonably related to health and safety. A project taking place within an environmentally critical area shall not be eligible for an exemption. The following are exempt from the provisions of this chapter:

(1) Amateur radio antenna operated by a federally licensed amateur radio operator as part of the amateur or business radio service;

(2) Citizen band or two-way radio antenna including any mast;

(3) Public agency communications system of the town of Twisp, without limitation, when the facility or facilities are on lands owned by the town and all other building and land development regulations are complied with. Any such facility constructed and operated under this section shall comply with all federal regulations, including, but not limited to, site location, aircraft warning, station power level and frequency allocation;

(4) A temporary commercial WCF, for the purposes of providing coverage of a special event such as news coverage or sporting event, subject to approval by the town, except that such facility must comply with all federal and state requirements. Said WCF may be exempt from the provisions of this chapter up to one week after the duration of the special event;

(5) In the event a building permit is required for any emergency repair, notification in writing to the town shall occur within 24 hours of identification of the needed repair; filing of the building permit application shall be done in compliance with the town’s adopted building code; and

(6) Temporary WCF. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.050 Permit required.

The following table summarizes the type of proposal and required land use approvals. All proposals are subject to the siting hierarchy requirements of this chapter.

Concealed Attached WCF

Monopole-Style WCF

Flush- or Non-Flush-Mounted Antenna on Existing Antenna Support Structure

New Concealed Antenna Support Structure

P1

C

P1

P1

C

C

P – Permitted Use: The use is allowed subject to the requirements of the code.

C – Conditional Use Permit (CUP): The use is allowed subject to the conditional use review procedures and requirements.

Note:

1. If the proposal does not exceed the maximum height limits set forth at TMC 15.30.100(3).

(Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.060 Application requirements.

In addition to any information required for CUP and/or building permit review, an application for new WCFs or modifications to WCFs that require town approval shall provide the following information:

(1) A site plan showing existing and proposed WCFs, access, base station, ancillary structures, warning signs, fencing, landscaping and any other items necessary to illustrate compliance with the development standards of this chapter;

(2) Except as provided below, a stamped statement by a state of Washington registered professional engineer that the support structure shall comply with EIA/TIA-222-Revisions G, published by the American National Standards Institute (as amended), and describing the general structural capacity of any proposed WCFs, including:

(a) The number and type of antennas that can be accommodated;

(b) The basis for the calculation of capacity; and

(c) A written statement that the proposal complies with all federal guidelines regarding interference and ANSI standards as adopted by the FCC, including but not limited to nonionizing electromagnetic radiation (NIER) standards.

The foregoing requirements are not applicable when the support structure is a utility pole or high voltage electrical transmission tower;

(3) A report by the applicant that includes a description of the proposed WCF, including height above grade, materials, color, lighting, and information demonstrating compliance with TMC 15.30.070, Siting hierarchy;

(4) Where a permit for an attachment is required, the application shall also include the following information:

(a) The name and address of the operator(s) of proposed and existing antennas on the site;

(b) The height of any proposed antennas;

(c) Manufacturer, type and model of such antennas;

(d) Frequency, modulation and class of service; and

(e) A description of the wireless communications service that the applicant intends to offer or provide, or is currently offering or providing within the town;

(5) A detailed visual simulation of the WCF shall be provided along with a written report from the applicant, including a map showing all locations where an unimpaired signal can be received for that facility;

(6) Approved right-of-way franchise agreement, if applicable;

(7) Other information as the town may reasonably require; and

(8) Fees for review as established by the town’s most current fee resolution.

The town may release an applicant from having to provide one or more of the pieces of information on this list upon a finding that in the specific case involved said information is not necessary to process or make a decision on the application being submitted. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.070 Siting hierarchy.

Siting of WCFs shall adhere to the siting hierarchy of this section. The order of ranking for WCFs, from highest to lowest, shall be 1 to 5. Where a lower ranking alternative is proposed, the applicant must file relevant information including but not limited to an affidavit by a licensed radio frequency engineer demonstrating that despite diligent efforts to adhere to the established hierarchy within the geographic search area, higher ranking options are not technically feasible or justified given the location of the proposed WCF and network need.

Example:

A new WCF is proposed; the applicant demonstrates that the new facility cannot be sited under hierarchy 1. The applicant then demonstrates the new facility cannot be sited under hierarchy 2. The applicant then moves to hierarchy 3 and is able to propose a site.

Hierarchy:

(1) 1 – A WCF that is:

(a) A concealed WCF that is attached to an existing antenna support structure:

(i) Located within town arterial rights-of-way;

(ii) Located on a high voltage electrical transmission tower;

(iii) Collocated with another WCF; or

(iv) Within public parks, public open spaces or on other publicly owned land; or

(b) A monopole-style WCF with encased antennas that is located within public parks, public open spaces, or on other publicly owned land.

(2) 2 – A WCF that is:

(a) A concealed WCF that is attached to an existing antenna support structure:

(i) Located on the roof of any building in the commercial or industrial zone.

(3) 3 – A WCF that is:

(a) A concealed WCF that is attached to an existing antenna support structure:

(i) Located in a residentially zoned area on a parcel not used for residential purposes; or

(b) A monopole-style WCF that is located in a residentially zoned area on a parcel not used for residential purposes.

(4) 4 – A concealed WCF that is attached to a new antenna support structure within a right-of-way.

(5) 5 – WCF not meeting any of the options in tiers 1 through 4 above, when no reasonable alternative exists. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.080 Base station hierarchy.

Siting of base stations shall adhere to the siting hierarchy of this section. The order of ranking, from highest to lowest, shall be 1, 2 and 3. Where a lower ranking alternative is proposed, the applicant must demonstrate that a higher-ranking option is not technically feasible, or justified given the location or size of the proposed base station.

Hierarchy:

(1) 1 – A base station that is:

(a) Underground and where the top of the vault is flush with the surrounding grade within town rights-of-way.

(2) 2 – A base station that is:

(a) Attached to an antenna support structure located within town rights-of-way;

(b) Placed within an existing building, provided the use of the building is not single-family residential; or

(c) On the roof of an existing building, provided the use of the building is not single-family residential and is not visible from the street.

(3) 3 – A base station that is:

(a) On adjacent property and concealed in the same manner as a concealed WCF (i.e., the base station is not readily identifiable as such and is designed to be aesthetically compatible with existing and proposed building(s) and uses on a site); or

(b) On adjacent property; provided, that the base station is fenced and landscaped; or

(c) Inside a building; or

(d) Otherwise located so as not to be open or visible to public view (e.g., in an area surrounded by vegetation so that the base station is not open to public view). (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.090 General requirements.

(1) Within public parks and public open spaces, the placement of antennas on existing structures, such as power poles, light standards for recreational fields and antenna support structures, is the preferred option subject to the approval of the property owner. If an existing structure cannot accommodate an antenna due to structural deficiency, or does not have the height required to provide adequate signal coverage, the structure may be replaced with a new structure, provided the new structure:

(a) Will serve the original purpose;

(b) Does not exceed the maximum height allowed by this chapter. Any height increases in excess of the maximum height allowed pursuant to TMC 15.30.100(3) will require a CUP; and

(c) Meets all the requirements of this chapter.

(2) Concealed attached antennas shall comply with the following requirements:

(a) Concealed antennas shall reflect the visual characteristics of the structure to which they are attached and shall be designed to architecturally match the facade, roof, wall or structure on which they are affixed so that they blend with the existing structural design, color and texture. This shall include the use of colors and materials, as appropriate. When located on structures such as buildings or water towers, the placement of the antennas on the structure shall reflect the following order of priority in order to minimize visual impact:

(i) A location as close as possible to the center of the structure; and

(ii) Along the outer edges or side-mounted; provided, that in this instance, additional means such as screens should be considered and may be required by the town on a case-by-case basis; and

(iii) When located on the outer edges or side-mounted, be placed on the portion of the structure less likely to be seen from adjacent lands containing, in descending order of priority: existing residences, public parks and open spaces, and public roadways;

(b) Feed lines shall be contained within a principal building or encased and the encasement painted to blend and match the design, color and texture of the facade, roof, wall or structure to which they are affixed.

(3) Concealed antenna support structures shall comply with the following requirements:

(a) Upon application for a CUP or a building permit for a new concealed antenna support structure, whichever is required first, the applicant shall provide a map showing all existing antenna support structures or other suitable nonresidential structures located within one-quarter mile of the proposed structure with consideration given to engineering and structural requirements.

(b) No new antenna support structure shall be permitted if an existing structure suitable for attachment of an antenna or collocation is located within one-quarter mile, unless the applicant demonstrates that the existing structure is physically or technologically unfeasible, or is not made available for sale or lease by the owner, or is not made available at a market rate cost, or would result in greater visual impact. The burden of proof shall be on the applicant to show that a suitable structure for mounting of an antenna or collocation cannot be reasonably or economically used in accordance with these criteria.

(c) In residential districts, new concealed antenna support structures shall only be permitted on lots whose principal use is not single-family residential including, but not limited to: schools, churches, fire stations, parks and other public property.

(d) To the extent that there is no conflict with the color and lighting requirements of the FCC and the FAA for aircraft safety purposes, new antenna support structures shall be concealed as defined by this chapter and shall be configured and located in a manner to have the least visually obtrusive profile on the landscape and adjacent properties. New concealed antenna support structures shall be designed to complement or match adjacent structures and landscapes with specific design considerations such as architectural designs, height, scale, color and texture and designed to blend with existing surroundings to the extent feasible. This shall be achieved through the use of compatible colors and materials, and alternative site placement to allow the use of topography, existing vegetation or other structures to screen the proposed concealed antenna support structure from adjacent lands containing, in descending order or priority: existing residences, public parks and open spaces, and public roadways.

(e) All new concealed antenna support structures up to 60 feet in height shall be engineered and constructed to accommodate no less than two antenna arrays. All concealed antenna support structures between 61 feet and 80 feet shall be engineered and constructed to accommodate no less than four antenna arrays.

(f) Grading shall be minimized and limited only to the area necessary for the new WCF. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.100 Design standards.

(1) All WCFs shall:

(a) Be designed and constructed or improved at the time of an upgrade to present the least visually obtrusive profile; and

(b) Use colors such as brown, grey, blue or green and materials that match the existing antenna support structure and structures in the local area and reduce visual impacts unless otherwise required by the town, the FAA or the FCC. For example, a utility pole that is brown should have conduits and antennas that are brown. The colors and materials shall be approved by the town to ensure compliance with this section; and

(c) Flush-mount antennas when feasible. Four non-flush-mounted antennas are allowed only upon written demonstration by the applicant that flush-mounting is not feasible.

(2) Base Stations.

(a) Base stations and ancillary structures shall be subject to the setbacks of the underlying zoning district.

(b) Base stations that are not located underground shall not be visible from public views.

(c) New concealed base stations and ancillary structures shall be designed to complement or match adjacent structures and landscapes. Specific design considerations such as architectural designs, height, scale, color and texture should be designed to blend with existing surroundings to the extent feasible.

(3) Height Standards.

(a) Measurement of WCF. For purposes of this subsection, the height of the antenna support structure shall be measured from the natural undisturbed ground surface below the center of the base of the tower to the top of the tower, or if higher, to the top of the highest antenna or piece of equipment attached thereto.

(b) Maximum Height for New WCF. The height of any new WCF shall not exceed the height of 80 feet.

(c) A new WCF may be permitted to exceed the maximum height allowed per location, provided:

(i) The increase is consistent with all conditions of the CUP authorizing the use and subsequent approvals thereafter;

(ii) The height increase is made necessary by foliage attenuation from foliage in the proposed location of the antenna support structure that exceeds the maximum height allowed for antenna support structure for that location; and

(iii) The height increase is the minimum necessary for the effective functioning of the provider’s network.

(4) Setback Requirements.

(a) Antenna support structures outside of the right-of-way shall have a setback from property lines of 10 feet from any property line and 50 feet or one-foot setback for every one foot in height from any residentially zoned property, whichever provides the greatest setback.

(b) Base stations shall be subject to the setback requirements of the zone in which they are located.

(c) The town shall consider the following criteria and give substantial consideration to on-site location and setback flexibility. These are authorized when reviewing applications for new antenna support structures. The following shall be considered:

(i) Whether existing trees and vegetation can be preserved in such a manner that would most effectively screen the proposed tower from residences on adjacent properties;

(ii) Whether there are any natural landforms, such as hills or other topographic breaks, that can be utilized to screen the town from adjacent residences; and

(iii) Whether the applicant has utilized a tower design that reduces the silhouette of the portion of the tower extending above the height of surrounding trees.

(5) Fencing Requirements. All ground-mounted base stations shall be enclosed with an opaque fence.

(6) Lighting Standards. Except as specifically required by the FCC or FAA, WCFs shall not be illuminated, except lighting for security purposes that is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

Any lighting required by the FCC or FAA must be the minimum intensity and number of flashes per minute (i.e., the longest duration between flashes) allowable to minimize the potential attraction to migratory birds. Dual lighting standards (white blinking light in daylight and red blinking light at dusk and nighttime) are required and strobe light standards are prohibited unless required. The lights shall be oriented so as not to project directly onto surrounding residential property, and be consistent with FCC and FAA requirements.

(7) Signage. Commercial messages shall not be displaced on any WCF. The only signage that is permitted upon an antenna support structure, base station, or fence shall be informational and for the purpose of identifying the antenna support structure (such as ASR registration number), as well as the party responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility, its current address and telephone number, security or safety signs, and property manager signs (if applicable).

If more than 220 volts is necessary for the operation of the facility and is present in a ground grid or in the antenna support structure, signs located every 20 feet and attached to the fence or wall shall display in large, bold, high-contrast letters (minimum letter height of four inches) the following: “HIGH VOLTAGE – DANGER.”

(8) Sounds. Maximum permissible sound levels to intrude into the real property of another from the WCF shall not exceed 45 dB(A). In the case of maintenance, construction and emergencies, these sound levels may be exceeded for short durations as required by the specific circumstance. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.110 Technical evaluation.

The town may retain the services of an independent technical expert such as a registered professional electrical engineer accredited by the state of Washington who holds a federal communications general radio telephone operator’s license. The engineer will provide technical evaluation of permit applications for WCFs. The applicant shall pay all the costs of said review. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.120 Cessation of use.

(1) Antennas shall be removed, at the owner’s expense, from WCFs no more than 180 days after the antenna is no longer operational, unless the abandonment is associated with a consolidation, in which case the removal shall occur within 90 days of cessation of use.

(2) The whole WCF shall be removed, at the owner’s expense, within 180 days of the date the last antenna is removed.

(3) An owner wishing to extend the time for removal or reactivation shall submit a written request along with the appropriate documentation demonstrating the reason for such extension request. The town may extend the time for removal up to 90 additional days upon a showing of good cause with one additional 90-day extension. If the antenna support structure or antenna is not removed in a timely fashion, the town may give notice that it will contract for removal within 30 days following written notice to the owner. Thereafter, the town may cause removal of the antenna support structure with costs being borne by the current WCF owner or landowner.

(4) Upon removal of the WCF, base station and ancillary structures, said area shall be returned to its natural state and topography and vegetated consistent with the natural surroundings or consistent with the current use of the land at the time of removal. The cost of rehabilitation shall be borne by the current WCF owner or landowner. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.130 Light poles.

Light poles and light standards located within the public rights-of-way are prohibited from use as an antenna support structure or for the attachment of an antenna or antenna array. For purposes of this prohibition, “light pole” shall mean and refer to a structure affixed to the ground, such as a pole, that has as its primary purpose the support of an overhead light fixture; and “public rights-of-way” shall mean the surface of, and the space above and below, any public street, highway, bridge, land path, alley, court, boulevard, sidewalk, way, lane, public way, drive, circle or other public right-of-way, including any easement now or hereafter held by the town within the corporate boundaries of the town as now or hereafter constituted for the purpose of public travel. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.140 Eligibility facilities request.

(1) Application. The town shall prepare and make publicly available an application form which shall be limited to the information necessary for the town to consider whether an application is an eligible facilities request. The application may not require the applicant to demonstrate a need or business case for the proposed modification.

(2) Type of Review. Upon receipt of an application for an eligible facilities request, the town shall review such application to determine whether the application so qualifies.

(3) Time Frame for Review. Within 60 days of the date on which an applicant submits an application seeking approval under this section, the town shall approve the application unless it determines that the application is not covered by this section.

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

(a) To toll the time frame for incompleteness, the town 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.

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

(c) Following a supplemental submission, the town will notify the applicant within 10 days that 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 this subsection (4). Second or subsequent notices of incompleteness may not specify missing documents or information that was not delineated in the original notice of incompleteness.

(5) Interaction with 47 USC § 332(c)(7). If the town determines that the applicant’s request is not covered by Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act, the presumptively reasonable time frame under 47 USC § 332(c)(7), as prescribed by the FCC’s Shot Clock Order, will begin to run from the issuance of the town’s decision that the application is not a covered request. To the extent such information is necessary, the town may request additional information from the applicant to evaluate the application under 47 USC § 332(c)(7), pursuant to the limitations applicable to other 47 USC § 332(c)(7) reviews.

(6) Failure to Act. In the event the town 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 town in writing after the review period has expired (accounting for any tolling) that the application has been deemed granted.

(7) Remedies. Applicants and the town may bring claims related to Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act to any court of competent jurisdiction.  (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)

15.30.150 Enforcement – Violation.

Compliance with the provisions of this chapter is mandatory. Any violation hereof is subject to enforcement in the same manner as provided in TMC 18.50.130. (Ord. 724 § 1, 2017)