Chapter 15.29
WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES

Sections:

15.29.010    Purpose.

15.29.020    Definitions.

15.29.030    Exemptions.

15.29.040    Permits required.

15.29.050    Application submittal/fees.

15.29.060    Development standards.

15.29.070    Design criteria.

15.29.080    Site selection standards.

15.29.090    Safety and industry standards.

15.29.100    Wireless conditional use permit criteria.

15.29.110    Wireless height variance.

15.29.120    Application review process.

15.29.130    Visual impact assessments.

15.29.140    Third-party review.

15.29.150    Nonuse/abandonment.

15.29.160    Transfer of ownership.

15.29.170    Vacation of permits.

15.29.180    Violation—Penalty.

15.29.190    Relief, waiver, exemption.

15.29.200    Severability.

15.29.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish general guidelines for the siting of wireless facilities, including towers, antennas and support structures.

A.    Goals. The goals of this chapter are to:

1.    Enhance the ability of wireless service providers to provide such services throughout the city quickly, effectively, and efficiently;

2.     Encourage wireless service providers to locate towers and antennas in nonresidential areas;

3.    Encourage wireless service providers to collocate on new and existing tower sites;

4.    Encourage wireless service providers to locate towers and antennas, to the extent possible, in areas where the adverse impact on city residents is minimal;

5.    Encourage wireless service providers to configure towers and antennas in a way that minimizes any significant adverse visual impact; and

6.    Provide for the wireless communications needs of governmental entities.

Accordingly, the city council 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 needs of city residents;

5.    To promote and encourage collocation 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.    New Uses. All new towers, small wireless facilities, antennas and support structures shall comply with this chapter.

C.    Existing Uses. All towers and antennas existing on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter that are not in compliance with this chapter shall be allowed to continue as they presently exist, but will be considered nonconforming uses. Routine maintenance shall be permitted on existing towers and antennas. However, new construction other than modifications made pursuant to Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 and 47 CFR Section 1.6100 and routine maintenance shall comply with the requirements of this chapter.

D.    Facilitation of Wireless Service. These standards were designed to comply with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and subsequent federal regulations. The provisions of this chapter are not intended to and shall not be interpreted to prohibit or to have the effect of prohibiting wireless services. This chapter shall not be applied in such a manner as to unreasonably discriminate between providers of functionally equivalent wireless services.

E.    Conflict with Other Standards. 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. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.020 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them below. Additional definitions pertaining to the Yakima urban area zoning ordinance can be found in Chapter 15.02 YMC.

“Abandonment” means to cease operation for a period of three hundred sixty-five or more consecutive days.

“Administrator” means the director of the city’s department of community development and his or her designees.

“Antenna” means an apparatus designed for the purpose of emitting radio frequency (RF) radiation, to be operated or operating from a fixed location pursuant to FCC authorization, for the provision of wireless service.

“Antenna equipment” means equipment, switches, wiring, cabling, power sources, shelters or cabinets associated with an antenna, located at the same fixed location as the antenna, and, when collocated on a structure, is mounted or installed at the same time as such antenna.

“Antenna height” means the vertical distance measured from the base of the antenna support structure at natural grade to the highest point of the structure even if said highest point is an antenna. Measurement of tower height shall include antenna, base pad, and other appurtenances, including but not limited to antenna equipment, and shall be measured from the natural grade of the parcel at the lowest elevation point of the support structure’s perimeter. “Antenna support structure” means any pole, telescoping mast, tower, tripod, or other structure which supports a device used in the transmitting or receiving of radio frequency signals.

“Applicant” means any provider or any person, partnership, company, or government agency that files an application for any permit necessary to install, maintain, or remove a wireless service facility within the city.

“Base station” is 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 chapter or any equipment associated with a tower.

(i)    The term includes, but is not limited to, equipment associated with wireless services such as private, broadcast, and public safety services, as well as unlicensed wireless services and fixed wireless services such as microwave backhaul.

(ii)    The term includes, but is not limited to, 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 wireless facilities).

(iii)    The term includes any structure other than a tower that, at the time the relevant application is filed with the state or local government under this section, supports or houses equipment described in subsections (i) and (ii) of this definition that has been reviewed and approved under the applicable zoning or 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 such support.

(iv)    For purposes of Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 and 47 CFR Section 1.6100, the term does not include any structure that, at the time the relevant application is filed with the city under this chapter, does not support or house equipment described in subsections (i) and (ii) of this definition.

“Camouflage” means to minimize adverse aesthetic and visual impacts on the land, property, buildings, and other facilities adjacent to, surrounding, and in generally the same area as the requested location of such wireless telecommunications facilities, which shall mean using the least visually and physically intrusive facility that is not technologically impracticable under the facts and circumstances. The term includes, without limitation: (a) the use of structures, design, colors, landscaping and location to disguise, hide, blend, or integrate with an existing structure that is not a monopole or tower; (b) placement of a wireless facility or component thereof within an existing or new structure; (c) “stealth structures” in which the antenna or other wireless facility component is disguised or concealed within a structure designed to appear as another structure (such as a church steeple or flagpole) or another natural form (such as a tree, rock or other natural feature); and (d) placement of a wireless facility or component thereof upon a site where the topography and existing trees, landscaping, evergreen trees, design, and colors of the facility so that such facility is significantly screened from view or designed to resemble or blend with surrounding natural features.

“Cell site” or “site” means a tract or parcel of land that contains wireless service facilities including any antenna, support structure, accessory buildings, and parking, and may include other uses associated with, and ancillary to, wireless services.

“City” means the city of Yakima.

“City property” means all real property owned by the city whether in fee ownership or other interest.

“Collocation” means the mounting or installation of an antenna facility on a preexisting structure, and/or modifying a structure for the purpose of mounting or installing an antenna facility on that structure.

“Conditional use permit” or “CUP” means a process and approval as described in this chapter and in YMC Title 15, Yakima Urban Area Zoning Ordinance.

“COW” means “cell on wheels” or other temporary wireless facility.

“Design” means the appearance of wireless service facilities, including such features as their materials, colors, and shape.

“Discouraged area” means within three hundred feet of a residential use or protected area in the B-2 and SCC Zoning Districts.

“EIA” means the Electronics Industry Association.

“Equipment enclosure” means a structure, shelter, cabinet, or vault used to house and to protect the electronic equipment necessary for processing wireless communication signals. Associated equipment may include air conditioning, backup power supplies and emergency generators.

“Facilities” means all of the plant, equipment, fixtures, appurtenances, antennas, and other facilities necessary to furnish and deliver wireless services, including but not limited to poles with cross-arms, poles without cross-arms, wires, lines, conduits, cables, communications and signal lines and equipment, braces, guys, anchors, vaults, and all attachments, appurtenances, and appliances necessary or incidental to the distribution and use of wireless services.

“FCC” or “Federal Communications Commission” means the federal administrative agency, or lawful successor, authorized to regulate and oversee telecommunications carriers, services and providers on a national level.

“Governmental entity” means the state of Washington, Yakima County, the city, municipally owned utilities, and special purpose districts including the school, fire and library districts.

“Hearing examiner” means the duly appointed hearing examiner of the city.

“Major modification” means a collocation or other modification that constitutes a substantial change to an existing wireless facility or base station as set forth in YMC 15.29.060(A)(2).

“Minor modification” or “eligible facilities request” means a collocation or other modification that does not constitute a substantial change to an existing wireless facility or base station as set forth in YMC 15.29.060(A)(1).

“Modification” or “modify” means the addition, removal or change of any of the physical and visually discernible components or aspects of a wireless facility, such as antennas, antenna equipment, antenna support structure, cabling, equipment shelters, landscaping, fencing, utility feeds, changing the color or materials of any visually discernible components, vehicular access, parking and/or an upgrade or change-out of equipment for better or more modern equipment. Adding a new provider to a tower or site as a collocation is a modification. A modification shall not include repair and maintenance as defined by this chapter.

“Mount” means the structure or surface upon which wireless service facilities are mounted. There are three types of mounts:

1.    Building Mounted. A wireless service facility mount fixed to the roof or side of a building.

2.    Ground Mounted. A wireless service facility mount fixed to the ground, such as a tower.

3.    Structure Mounted. A wireless service facility fixed to a structure other than a building, such as light standards, utility poles, and bridges.

“Natural grade” means the topographic condition and level of ground in place for the past five years or more, or the approved finished grade of land platted through the subdivision process.

“Occupy” means to construct, install, maintain, own, or operate wireless facilities located within city rights-of-way. The mere passage of electronic signals over, under, or through rights-of-way via wireless facilities owned by another wireless provider does not constitute occupying the rights-of-way.

“Person” means corporations, companies, associations, joint stock companies, firms, partnerships, limited liability companies, other entities and individuals.

“Pole,” for the purposes of siting small wireless facilities, means a type of structure that is or may be used in whole or in part by or for wireline communications, electric distribution, lighting, traffic control, signage, or similar function, or for collocation of small wireless facilities; provided, such term does not include a tower.

“Protected areas” are: (a) the area commonly known as the Barge-Chestnut Neighborhood situated within the area bounded on the west by 36th Avenue, on the north by Summitview Avenue, on the east by 16th Avenue, and on the south by Tieton Drive; (b) established federal, state or local historic districts or historic district overlay zones; (c) proposed federal, state or local historic districts or historic district overlay zones filed for record with the federal, state or local agency with jurisdiction (hereafter “pending” historic district or overlay zones); (d) sites, buildings, structures or objects listed in the National Register of Historic Places; (e) state and local wildlife refuges, and permanently protected archeological sites; and (f) designated areas subject to preservation or protection through recorded conservation easement.

“Provider” or “wireless service provider” means every corporation, company, association, joint stock company, firm, partnership, limited liability company, other entity and/or individual that provides wireless service over wireless facilities.

“Repairs and maintenance” means the replacement of any components of a wireless facility where the replacement is substantially similar in size and weight to the component being replaced or for any matters that involve the normal repair and maintenance of a wireless facility without the addition, removal or change of any of the physical or visually discernible components or aspects of a wireless facility that will add to the visible appearance of the facility as originally permitted.

“Right-of-way use permit” means the authorization by which the city grants permission to a service provider to enter and use the right-of-way at a specific location for the purpose of installing, maintaining, repairing, or removing identified facilities.

“Rights-of-way” means land acquired or dedicated for public roads and streets, as further defined in YMC 15.02.020, but does not include (a) structures, including poles and conduits, located within the right-of-way; or (b) federally granted railroad rights-of-way acquired under 43 USC Section 912, and related provisions of federal law, that are not open for motor vehicle use.

“Screening” means an opaque fence and/or evergreen landscaping that fully conceals the property it encloses.

“Secondary use” means a use subordinate to the principal use of the property, such as commercial, residential, utilities, etc.

“Service provider” means every corporation, company, association, joint stock association, firm, partnership, person, city, or town owning, operating or managing any facilities used to provide and providing telecommunications or cable television services for hire, sale, or resale to the general public. “Service provider” includes the legal successor to any such corporation, company, association, joint stock association, firm, partnership, person, city or town.

“Small wireless facility” means facilities smaller than a traditional cell tower or base station. These are typically attached to existing, replacement, or new poles or other structures in the public right-of-way. This includes technologies similar to small wireless facilities, such as microcells and distributed antenna systems (DAS).

“State” means the state of Washington.

“Structure” means a pole, tower, base station, or other building, whether or not it has an existing antenna, that is used or to be used for the provision of wireless service.

“Tower” means any structure that is designed and constructed primarily for the purpose of supporting one or more antennas, including self-supporting lattice towers, guy towers, or monopole towers. “Tower” also includes any structure built for the sole or primary purpose of supporting FCC-licensed antennas and their associated facilities. This definition does not include small wireless facilities as defined by this chapter.

“Unlicensed wireless services” means wireless services that operate on public frequencies and do not need an FCC license.

“Utility pole” means any pole used primarily for the support and provision of lighting and/or transmission of power, telecommunications services, telephone, cable television, and other similar utilities and related fixtures, whether located within or outside the public right-of-way. Utility poles may be subject to rights of ownership, applicable franchise provisions, applicable regulation by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC), and statutes governing location and relocation.

“Wireless height variance” means the process required for either a major modification to an existing wireless facility or construction of a new wireless facility in which the proposed height exceeds the standards of this chapter.

“Wireless service” and “wireless facilities” as used in this chapter shall be defined in the same manner as in 47 USC Section 332(c)(7)(C), as it may be amended now or in the future, and include facilities for the transmission and reception of radio or microwave signals used for communication, cellular phone, personal communications services, enhanced specialized mobile radio, and any other wireless services licensed by the FCC and unlicensed wireless services. “Wireless service” further means any services, using licensed or unlicensed spectrum, including the use of wifi, whether at a fixed location or mobile, provided to the public.

“Visual impact assessment” means visual impact assessment with photo-simulation of the proposed facility. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.030 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 ten feet in height that are being stored, shipped, or displayed for sale.

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, including direct-to-home or site satellite services, when used as a secondary use of the property.

G.    Routine maintenance, replacement or repair of a wireless facility and related equipment that does not constitute a modification; provided, that compliance with the standards of this chapter is maintained. Structural work or changes in height, type or dimensions of antennas, towers, or buildings are subject to the provisions of YMC 15.29.060(A).

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 wireless facility until thirty days after the completion of such emergency activity.

I.    A COW or other temporary wireless facility shall be permitted for a maximum of ninety days, subject to renewals by the city, or during an emergency declared by the city.

J.    Wireless facilities of the city located upon city property and city utility poles and fixtures. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.040 Permits required.

The following table summarizes the permits required for the various types of wireless service facilities that meet the standards of this chapter:

Table 29-1 

Permit Table*

Type of Use

Permit Type

Approval Type

Collocation/minor modification (no substantial change)

Modification

Administrative (if minor modification)

Collocation/major modification (substantial change in height)

Same as new towers (depending on location)

Same as new towers (depending on location)

New antenna (existing noncellular structures, in all zoning districts)

Standard Wireless

Administrative

New tower (public or city-owned property)

Standard Wireless

Administrative/Lease

New tower (commercial or industrial zoning district, more than 300 feet from residential or protected area)

Standard Wireless

Administrative

New tower (in or within 300 feet of residential zoning district)

Standard Wireless—if camouflaged by stealth

Wireless CUP**—if not camouflaged by stealth

Administrative

or

Hearing Examiner

New tower (in or within 300 feet of protected area)

Wireless CUP

Hearing Examiner

Any tower, antennas or modification not meeting standards of this chapter

Wireless Variance

Hearing Examiner

* Applicable permits include building permits and other permits required for installation.

** Wireless conditional use permit.

Table 29-1.5 

Small Wireless Permit Table

Type of Use

Permit Type

Approval Type

New small wireless facility in public right-of-way or on existing or replacement utility pole or other structure

Right-of-Way Use (Chapter 8.20 YMC)

Administrative

New small wireless facility on new pole outside of the right-of-way

Small Wireless

Administrative

(Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.050 Application submittal/fees.

A.    Standard Wireless Application. A complete application shall consist of the following:

1.    A complete application form as provided by the community development department.

2.    The name, address, signature and contact information of the applicant:

a.    If the applicant is not the landowner, applicant shall provide written authorization signed by the landowner authorizing the applicant to submit for permits on the landowner’s behalf. The written authorization signed by the landowner shall contain a statement and acknowledgement by the landowner that the landowner shall be deemed a co-applicant by virtue of such authorization. This requirement does not apply to right-of-way locations.

b.    If any applicant or co-applicant is a corporation, trust, association, or other organized group or legal entity, it shall provide the date of such creation, and, if a foreign corporation, a copy of the certificate of authority filed with the state of Washington, Secretary of State’s office.

3.    Evidence that the applicant is an FCC-licensed wireless service provider or that it has agreements with an FCC-licensed wireless service provider for use or lease of the support structure.

4.    Legal description of the parcel, if applicable.

5.    Site plan, drawn to scale, clearly indicating the location, type and height of the current or proposed wireless facility, accessory buildings, fencing, trees, landscaping, topographic contours of the site at two-foot intervals, location of utility easements, on-site land uses and zoning, adjacent land uses and zoning, adjacent roadways, proposed means of access, setbacks from property lines, and all other items required in this chapter.

6.    Elevation drawings of the proposed wireless facility, drawn to scale and showing dimensions of the height and width of the facility.

7.    Proposed colors and materials of all components of the proposed wireless facility and of any fencing materials associated with the wireless facility.

8.    State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist, if required.

9.    A copy of the FCC license for the intended use of the wireless telecommunications facilities.

10.    Method of proposed illumination, including a lighting plan showing the location of all proposed outdoor lighting fixtures, including direction and intensity of light, and including manufacturer’s “cut-sheets” of all outdoor luminaires.

11.    The location of existing or proposed structures, trees, and other significant site features intended to camouflage the facility.

12.    A letter signed by the applicant stating the wireless facility will comply with all FAA regulations and EIA standards and all other applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.

13.    Signed documentation such as the “Checklist to Determine Whether a Facility is Categorically Excluded” to verify that the wireless facility with the proposed installation will be in full compliance with the current FCC RF emissions guidelines (nonionizing electromagnetic radiation—NIER). If not categorically excluded, a complete RF emissions study is required to provide verification.

14.    Applicable fees.

15.    Other information for each permit and structure type as specified in subsection B of this section.

B.    Application by Permit Type, Structure Type and Location. In addition to the information required for a standard permit in subsection A of this section, the following information shall be provided for each specified permit type or structure type:

1.    New Towers and Base Stations.

a.    A current map and aerial showing the location of the proposed tower and/or base station; a map showing the locations and service areas of other wireless service facilities operated by the applicant in the city.

b.    The approximate distance between the proposed tower and the nearest residential unit, residentially zoned properties, and protected areas.

c.    A statement by the applicant that the design of the tower will accommodate collocation of additional antennas for future users.

d.    An affidavit stating that (1) the applicant and landowner agree they will allow collocation of additional wireless facilities by other providers on the applicant’s structure or within the same site location, subject to good faith negotiation of compensation according to market rates, and (2) the applicant and/or landlord agree to remove the facility within ninety days after abandonment.

e.    An affidavit signed by the applicant, landowner (co-applicant), and the antenna support structure owners, if different, indicating that:

i.    They, together with their heirs, successors and assigns, agree to be jointly and severally responsible to dismantle and remove the WCF/antenna support structure and restore the site to its approximate original prestructure condition within the applicable time limits set forth in YMC 15.29.150 following receipt of a letter from the city indicating that the facility is deemed abandoned or in violation of this chapter; and

ii.    In the event a permit is issued pursuant to this chapter, they authorize the city to record such affidavit or a memorandum thereof with the Yakima County auditor against title to the property for which the permit was issued.

f.    A landscape and irrigation plan showing all methods to landscape, irrigate, and screen the base of new facilities.

g.    An explanation of proposed methods of camouflaging (including stealth if applicable) and how the proposed camouflaging reflects conditions of the surrounding site and area.

2.    Facilities in Residential Zoning Districts and Protected Areas.

a.    A statement describing the applicant’s effort to first locate the proposed wireless facilities on a government facility, a private institutional structure (such as a hospital or school), or other appropriate existing structures outside the residential zone or protected area and within a half-mile radius of the proposed site, and explaining why, based upon valid considerations including physical, technological, leasing, or other valid constraints, no more appropriate location is available.

b.    A description of any existing buildings taller than thirty-five feet within one-half mile of the proposed tower or antenna which from a location standpoint could provide part of a network to provide transmission of signals.

c.    A statement describing the applicant’s effort to first contact the owners of structures in excess of thirty-five feet within a one-quarter-mile radius of the site proposed and which from a location standpoint could meet the technical objectives of the facility in the applicant’s network. The statement shall, if applicable, confirm whether the applicant asked for permission to install the antenna on those structures and whether he or she was denied permission of use for reasons other than the ability or refusal of the applicant to pay a market rate for use of the alternative structures.

3.    Modification Permit.

a.    Elevation drawings of the existing wireless facility, drawn to scale and showing dimensions of the height and width of the facility (this drawing is required in addition to elevation drawing of proposed facility described under subsection A of this section);

b.    A computation and description of proposed modification establishing whether or not such modification constitutes a substantial change in the physical dimensions of the existing facility (if the application is for modification of an existing facility); and

c.    Written authorization signed by the owner of said facility authorizing its modification. (Required if the applicant is not the owner of the existing wireless facility.)

4.    Wireless CUP (Conditional Use Permit).

a.    An explanation of proposed methods of camouflaging and how the proposed camouflaging reflects conditions of the surrounding site and area.

b.    A statement from the applicant describing how he/she believes the proposal addresses the criteria for a wireless conditional use permit prescribed in YMC 15.29.100.

5.    Wireless Height Variance.

a.    A statement from the applicant describing how he/she believes the proposal addresses the criteria for a wireless height variance prescribed in YMC 15.29.110.

b.    A statement describing the requested variance and why it is needed.

C.    Applicant to Provide Notice. For wireless conditional uses or variances, the city may require applicant to post notice at a location or locations deemed appropriate by the city, and will provide notice to the governing body of any affected historic district association or organization. Applicant shall provide an affidavit that all required notices have been posted and published as required. Additionally, and without limitation, the city may use any other means deemed advisable to provide advance notice to the public.

D.    Fees. The application for a permit listed above shall be accompanied by a filing fee in the amount set forth in Table 29-2.

Table 29-2

Application Fees*

Permit Type

Fee

Modification (if minor)

$300.00

Modification (if major)

$500.00

Standard Wireless

$500.00

Small Wireless

$500.00 for the first five small wireless facilities in the same application, plus $100.00 for each facility beyond five

Wireless Variance

$1,500.00

Wireless Conditional Use Permit

$3,500.00

* Separate fee required for each permit type associated with application. For an application requiring a wireless variance and a wireless conditional use permit, both the variance fee and the conditional use permit fee are required.

(Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.060 Development standards.

A.    Modifications to an Existing Wireless Facility or Base Station.

1.    Minor Modification/Eligible Facilities Request under 47 CFR Section 1.6100. Any modification of or collocation on an existing wireless facility that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station (as defined in subsection (A)(2) of this section), even if it exceeds the underlying standards of the zoning district, shall be deemed a “minor modification” and shall be administratively approved under a modification permit.

2.    Major Modification. Any modification of or collocation on an existing wireless facility that substantially changes the physical dimensions of an existing wireless tower or base station shall be deemed a “major modification.” A substantial change occurs if:

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

(A)    Changes in height should be measured from the original support structure in cases where deployments are or will be separated horizontally, such as on buildings’ rooftops; in other circumstances, changes in height should be measured from the dimensions of the tower or base station, inclusive of originally approved appurtenances and any modifications that were approved prior to the passage of the Spectrum Act (February 22, 2012);

(ii)    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 twenty 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;

(iii)    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 ten percent larger in height or overall volume than any other ground cabinets associated with the structure;

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

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

(vi)    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)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section.

3.    Major Modification—Required Permits. A major modification shall be processed under the same permit types as new towers located in the same zone and area. (See Table 29-1, Permit Table, or Table 29-1.5.)

B.    Collocation Capable—New Structures. To reduce the number of antenna support structures needed in the city in the future, the following standards apply to new towers:

1.    Requirement and Waiver. New proposed support structures shall be designed to accommodate at least two additional antenna arrays equal to those of the applicant, and located as close to the applicant’s antenna as possible without causing interference. This requirement may be waived if such design is not feasible for aesthetic reasons, or necessary to preserve camouflaging or stealth structures in residential or protected areas; or provided, that the applicant, in writing, demonstrates that the provisions of future shared usage of the tower is not technologically feasible or creates an unnecessary and unreasonable burden, based upon:

a.    The kind of wireless facilities site and structure proposed; or

b.    The number of existing and potential licenses without wireless telecommunications facilities spaces/sites; or

c.    Available space on existing and approved towers or other appropriate structures.

2.    Owner Certification. The owner of a proposed tower, and his/her successors in interest, shall either:

a.    Provide a written statement affirming that a master license agreement with another wireless provider or providers exists stating mutually acceptable terms and conditions for collocation for wireless facilities on the tower and site; or

b.    Provide a written statement affirming that the owner and owner’s successors will negotiate in good faith for the collocation and shared use of the proposed tower by other wireless service providers in the future, and shall allow shared use of the tower if another wireless service provider agrees in writing to pay reasonable charges. The charges may include, but are not limited to, a pro rata share of the cost of site selection, planning, project administration, land costs, site design, construction and maintenance financing, return on equity, less depreciation, and all of the costs of adapting the tower or equipment to accommodate a shared user without causing electromagnetic interference.

C.    Collocation Encouraged—Existing Structures. To minimize adverse visual impacts associated with the proliferation of towers, collocation of wireless facilities on existing towers and structures is encouraged as follows:

1.    Collocation is permitted by right under a modification permit, unless the modification constitutes a substantial change to the tower and/or base station pursuant to Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012/47 CFR Section 1.6100. Changes to tower height that constitute a “substantial change” as defined by subsection (A)(2) of this section are subject to all provisions applicable to new towers and base stations described 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 a suitable existing structure or tower within one-quarter mile of the proposed facility.

3.    All wireless service providers or lessees or agents thereof shall cooperate in good faith to accommodate collocation with competitors.

D.    Required Parking. Adequate parking shall be required for maintenance workers.

E.    Facilities in or within Three Hundred Feet of Residential Zone or Protected Area. The following standards apply to wireless facilities within residential zoning districts, and within three hundred feet of residential zoning districts:

1.    Due Diligence Requirements. Applications to place antennas and towers in residential zoning districts or within three hundred feet of residential zoned districts shall demonstrate that the requirements of YMC 15.29.050(B)(2) have been met.

2.    NEPA Requirements. Antennas and tower facilities proposed to be located in or within three hundred feet of an established or pending federal, state or local historic district or historic district overlay are facilities that may affect districts, sites, buildings, structures or objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture, that are listed, or are eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places. (See 16 U.S.C. 470w-5; 36 CFR Parts 60 and 800.) Applicant shall comply with applicable provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including but not limited to the environment assessment provisions of 47 CFR 1.1307 et seq. and comply with any mitigations imposed therein.

3.    Certificate of Appropriateness Required. New wireless facilities, and any modification to existing wireless facilities that constitutes a “substantial change” pursuant to subsection (A)(2) of this section, proposed to be located in a local historic district, historic district overlay, or other protected historic site, listed in the city of Yakima registry of historic places, require a certificate of appropriateness from the Yakima historic preservation commission in accordance with the procedures set forth in Chapter 11.62 YMC prior to the issuance of any permit for the construction, installation or major modification of wireless facilities in such areas.

F.    Building Permits Required. Issuance of wireless facility permits under this chapter shall authorize issuance of any necessary and appropriate building permits to accomplish such modification, subject to compliance with applicable permit requirements and fees. Applicant shall submit complete applications for all other construction permits necessary to accomplish the construction.

G.    Small Wireless Facilities.

1.    Small wireless facilities located on a new pole outside of the public right-of-way shall conform to the design criteria of YMC 15.29.070(B).

2.    Small wireless facilities installed on new poles shall only be permitted if the applicant can show that the small wireless facility cannot otherwise be installed on an existing pole or structure in the public right-of-way within the area that the small wireless facility is proposed to serve.

3.    Small wireless facilities located in the public right-of-way, whether on an existing utility pole or on a new structure, shall comply with the following:

a.    Small wireless facilities shall apply for and obtain a right-of-way use permit pursuant to YMC 8.20 prior to any placement or construction.

b.    Small wireless facilities placed in the public right-of-way shall not obstruct bicycle, pedestrian, or vehicular access where access currently exists or is proposed to exist in the future.

c.    Small wireless facilities placed in the public right-of-way and/or on public structures shall require a franchise agreement, master license agreement, or other legally binding contract if the city deems appropriate.

d.    Permitting small wireless facilities on city-owned infrastructure including street lights and traffic signals shall be determined by the director of public works.

4.    Small wireless facilities may be modified under the modification procedures of YMC 15.29.120(C). (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.070 Design criteria.

A.    All wireless facilities, except small wireless facilities subject to subsection B of this section, shall comply with the following standards:

1.    Setback. A tower’s setback shall be measured from the base of the tower to the property line of the parcel on which it is located. Except as otherwise set forth below, setbacks for facilities shall comply with the setback requirements of Chapter 15.05 YMC and Table 5-1.

a.    Right-of-Way Setback Exception. The setback requirement is not applicable if the antenna and antenna support structure are located in the city right-of-way.

b.    Protected Areas. In protected areas or where a proposed tower is on property abutting a protected area, towers shall be set back from all property lines a distance equal to one hundred ten percent of tower height as measured from ground level.

c.    Residential Zoned Districts. In residential zoned districts or where a proposed tower is on property abutting a residential zoned district, towers shall be set back a minimum of one-half the tower height.

d.    Minor Modifications. Any expansion of a base station or extension of height of an existing wireless facility that constitutes a minor modification shall be considered in compliance with the setback requirements previously approved for the existing wireless facility.

e.    Existing Wireless Facility on Established Lot—Exception. The setback requirement is not applicable if the antenna and antenna support structure were constructed, or application for such construction vested, on a parcel created pursuant to RCW 58.17.040(8) prior to the effective date of this code. Wireless facilities constructed on and after the effective date of this code on parcels created pursuant to RCW 58.17.040(8) are subject to the setback requirements.

2.    Tower and Antenna Height. The maximum height of a wireless facility is as follows:

a.    In or within three hundred feet of a residential zoning district or protected area, no wireless facility shall exceed the height allowed by the underlying height limitation for the zoning district in which the facility is located, except that if the facility is camouflaged by stealth pursuant to subsection (A)(8) of this section, the maximum height is sixty feet.

b.    In CBD and B-1 zoning districts, the maximum height is sixty feet.

c.    In all other zones, the maximum height is one hundred ten feet.

d.    Structures that exceed the above height limits may be permitted by variance pursuant to the wireless height variance provisions of YMC 15.29.110.

3.    Color. Towers shall have a dark color such as forest green, charcoal or dark brown, depending on the surroundings or background, which minimizes their visibility, unless a different color is required by the FAA. Colors shall be maintained and repainted as necessary to maintain original color, to repair fading through weathering, and to prevent flaking.

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

5.    Fencing and Security. The antenna support structure shall be secured against unauthorized entry. A well-constructed wall or wooden fence not less than six feet in height from the finished grade shall be provided around each 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 dense vegetative screen at least eight feet in depth along all visible portions of the fence.

6.    Anti-Climbing Device. All support structures shall be fitted with anti-climbing devices, as approved by the manufacturers.

7.    Camouflage Requirements. All new towers and base stations, and major modifications to towers and base stations, must be camouflaged as defined by this chapter. Appropriate camouflaging is determined on a site-specific basis, taking into account existing structures and natural features both on and surrounding the site. When considering surrounding features that the facility is designed to reflect, nonconforming structures shall not be considered. In all zones, towers shall be camouflaged using the least visually and physically intrusive facility that is not technologically impracticable under the facts and circumstances. Camouflaging for new towers and base stations shall include the following:

a.    Landscaping. Landscaping is an element of camouflage. Landscaping, as described herein, shall be required to buffer wireless facilities to soften the appearance of the cell site. The city may permit any combination of existing vegetation, topography, walls, decorative fences or other on-site 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.    Buffers. The visual impacts of a wireless facility shall be mitigated through landscaping or other screening materials at the base of the tower and ancillary structures. 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. The following landscaping and buffering shall be required around the perimeter of the tower and accessory structures:

i.    A row of trees a minimum of six feet tall at planting a maximum of six feet apart shall be planted around the perimeter of the fence.

ii.    A continuous hedge at least thirty-six inches high at planting capable of growing to at least forty-eight inches in height within eighteen months shall be planted in front of the tree line referenced above.

iii.    To the extent feasible, the tower or mount shall be placed amongst and adjacent to the drip line of three or more trees at least seventy-five percent of the height of the facility.

iv.    An automatic irrigation system providing irrigation as needed according to plant type, season and maturity of plantings.

c.    Continued Maintenance. Applicant shall have a continuing obligation to maintain the landscaping improvements. In the event that landscaping is not maintained at the required level, the city after giving thirty 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, or may seek enforcement through any available remedy.

d.    Trees—Recording of Conditions. To ensure that trees associated with camouflaging and screening are preserved, the following note shall be recorded on the property title:

All trees within 50 feet of the wireless facility located on this property, which serve to screen the wireless facility, shall be retained for the life of the wireless facility. Screening trees may only be removed if deemed diseased or dangerous by a certified arborist. Before any trees can be removed a report from the certified arborist shall be submitted to the City for review and approval. Unless approved by the City, only that portion of the tree required to remove the hazard can be removed. The City may require the trees to be replaced by the telecommunication provider.

8.    Stealth Requirements. Any facility in or within three hundred feet of residential zoning district or protected area must be concealed within a stealth structure unless otherwise approved through a wireless conditional use permit. Stealth structures shall be designed as follows:

a.    The stealth camouflage structure or facility must be compatible with surrounding development by being either similar in height to surrounding structures or a sufficient distance from surrounding structures to create a significant visual separation;

b.    Stealth designs shall reflect features that are indigenous to the area;

c.    Towers designed to look like trees shall be tree types that naturally or commonly occur in the surrounding neighborhood or district, shall be located within one hundred feet of existing trees, and shall not exceed the average height of nearby trees by more than thirty feet. Towers that only add artificial branches, limbs, or other vegetative features while still maintaining the appearance of a standard tower are not considered stealth designs;

d.    Towers designed to look like buildings or structures must be of a design that reflects local architecture or structure types. Towers designed to look like steeples on a church shall be of a height and scale proportional to the building design (other churches in the area can provide examples of acceptable proportions between the size of the steeple and the size of the church buildings);

e.    Towers designed to look like flag poles shall be tapered and have the common dimensions of flag poles, both in height and girth, and shall fly at least one flag;

f.    After completion of construction, the antennas, towers and related facilities will be maintained within the stealth structure so as to be concealed from view or be viewed as the camouflaging stealth structure; and

g.    The administrator may impose other conditions or mitigations reasonably related to such structures as warranted by special conditions of the subject property and the type of camouflaging structure, including but not limited to additional or supplemental setback requirements, maintenance requirements, and other measures intended to accomplish the purposes of this chapter and section.

9.    Antenna Criteria. Antennas 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 sixteen feet above the roofline, including parapets.

c.    The total height of the antenna shall comply with the height standards of subsection (A)(2) of this section, except as noted in this chapter.

d.    The antenna, brackets, and cabling 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.

e.    Future or multiple installations of antennas shall ensure balance and symmetry when placing additional antennas on the facade of the building.

f.    The antenna may be attached to an existing mechanical equipment enclosure which projects above the roof of the building, but may not project any higher than the enclosure.

g.     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.    Roof mounted antenna and related base stations are screened from view by materials that are consistent and compatible with the design, color, and materials of the building.

iii.    No portion of the antenna may exceed sixteen feet above the height of the existing building.

iv.    If the antenna is placed on the roof or above the top of a building, it shall provide a minimum setback equal to the height of the panel antenna from the rooftop edge.

v.    Antenna, antenna arrays, and support structures shall not extend more than sixteen 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 comply with applicable building code standards. The antenna, antenna array, and their support structure shall be a color that matches the field or trim color of the structure on which they are mounted.

10.    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.

11.    Equipment Structures. The standards for equipment structures (base stations) are as follows:

a.    Ground Structure.

i.    The maximum floor area is five hundred square feet and the maximum height is twelve feet, unless the applicant demonstrates that a larger area and/or increased height is necessary to accommodate the proposed facility and possible collocation.

ii.     Ground level buildings shall be screened from view by landscape plantings, fencing, or other appropriate means, as specified herein or in other city ordinances.

iii.    In instances where equipment buildings are located in residential zones, equipment buildings shall comply with setback requirements and shall be designed so as to conform in appearance with nearby residential structures, including building form, materials and color.

b.    Roof Mounted Structure.

i.    Equipment buildings mounted on a roof shall be designed to match and be integrated into the exterior design and materials of the building. Equipment for roof mounted antenna may also be located within the building on which the antenna is mounted.

ii.    Equipment buildings, antenna, and related equipment shall occupy no more than twenty-five percent of the total roof area of the building the facility is mounted on, which may vary if collocation and adequate camouflage are used.

B.    Small wireless facilities shall comply with the following standards:

1.    Height. Small wireless facilities shall conform to the following height limitations:

a.    Are mounted on structures fifty feet or less in height including antennas; or

b.    Are mounted on structures no more than ten percent taller than other adjacent structures; or

c.     Do not extend existing structures on which they are located to a height of more than fifty feet or by more than ten percent, whichever is greater.

2.    Size. Small wireless facilities shall meet the following size limitations:

a.    Each antenna associated with the deployment is no more than three cubic feet in volume;

b.    All other wireless equipment associated with the structure, including the wireless equipment associated with the antenna and preexisting associated equipment on the structure, is no more than twenty-eight cubic feet in volume.

3.    Color. The color of the facility, including both antennas and equipment, shall blend in with the structure in which it is being attached to or integrated with, to the extent technically feasible.

a.    Antennas, brackets, and cabling shall match or be compatible with the color of the equipment, which shall match or be compatible with the color of the structure it is being attached to as closely as possible.

4.    Lighting. Small wireless facilities shall not be illuminated.

5.    Noise. Small wireless facilities, along with their associated equipment cabinets and other structures, shall not generate noise to a degree that they violate YMC 6.04.180. Passive cooling of facilities is encouraged.

6.    All equipment must be pole mounted. If it is technically infeasible to pole-mount all of the equipment to meet the criteria herein, then equipment may be ground-based in the right-of-way pursuant to the following standards:

a.    Any necessary ground-based equipment in an undergrounded area shall be undergrounded.

b.    Ground-based equipment not located in an undergrounded area should be undergrounded. If it is technically infeasible to underground the ground-based equipment or to pole-mount the equipment in compliance with the maximum size standards of this section, the ground-based equipment may be located fully or partially above grade; provided, that: (i) the volume of ground-based equipment that is located above grade shall not exceed a maximum of twenty-eight cubic feet; (ii) the ground-based equipment shall be aesthetically compatible with other above-grade utilities (e.g., signal boxes, electrical equipment, etc.) that are located within six hundred feet of the pole; and (iii) the ground-based equipment shall not encroach into any areas of required sidewalk.

7.    Antenna(s) and equipment shall not constitute an obstruction and shall comply with all applicable codes, laws (including the Americans with Disabilities Act), standards and regulations. In the event of a conflict between these design standards and any applicable health and safety codes, such health and safety codes shall govern, but only to the minimum extent necessary to avoid a violation. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.080 Site selection standards.

The following site selection standards shall apply to all wireless facilities outside of the right-of-way, except for small wireless facilities proposed on an existing or replaced pole:

A.    An applicant for a wireless facility, other than a small wireless facility in the ROW, that wishes to locate in a protected area or a discouraged area shall demonstrate that a diligent effort has been made to locate the proposed wireless facilities on a site, private institutional structure, or other appropriate existing structures more than three hundred feet from residential zoned districts or more than three hundred feet from a protected area, and that, due to valid considerations including physical constraints, site availability, and technological feasibility, no more appropriate location is available. Such antennas, antenna equipment, towers and related facilities may be approved by the administrator, subject to the administrator’s approval of camouflage or disguise by stealth. Such proposed structures may also be subject to the photo-simulation requirements of YMC 15.29.130 in order to assist the administrator in determining appropriate camouflage and/or stealth requirements.

B.    Priority of Locations. The order of priorities for locating new wireless service facilities shall be as follows:

1.    Collocation (see YMC 15.29.060(B) and (C)).

2.    Industrial zoning districts.

3.    Public property (see subsection D of this section).

4.    Existing structures—industrial and commercial zoning districts (e.g., buildings, towers, and water towers).

5.    Local business district (B-2) and small convenience center (SCC) zoning districts.

6.    Residential zoned districts.

7.    Protected areas.

C.    Site Selection Criteria.

1.    Any applicant proposing to construct an antenna support structure, or mount an antenna on an existing structure, shall evaluate different sites within a one-quarter-mile radius to determine which site will provide the best screening and camouflaging while providing adequate service to satisfy its function in the applicant’s system. If the applicant proposes a site that does not provide the best opportunities for screening and camouflaging then the applicant must demonstrate why the facility cannot be located at the site where it can be best screened and camouflaged and why the antenna must be located at the proposed site.

2.    Wireless facility installations shall be placed in locations where the existing topography, vegetation, buildings, or other structures provide the greatest amount of camouflage.

D.    Siting Priority on Public Property.

1.    Order of Preference. Where public property is sought to be utilized by an applicant, priority for the use of government-owned land for wireless antennas and towers will be given to the following entities in descending order:

a.    City of Yakima, except that any facilities proposed for location within the airport safety overlay (ASO) are further subject to the limitations and requirements of Chapter 15.30 YMC;

b.    Public safety agencies, including law enforcement, fire and ambulance services, which are not part of the city of Yakima and private entities with a public safety agreement with the city of Yakima;

c.    Other governmental entities, for uses that are not related to public safety; and

d.    Entities providing licensed commercial wireless 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.

2.    Subject to City Discretion. The placement of wireless service facilities on city-owned property is subject to the discretion of the city and approval of lease terms that are acceptable to the city, and must comply with the following requirements:

a.    The facilities will not interfere with the purpose for which the city-owned property is intended;

b.    The facilities will have no significant adverse impact on surrounding private property, or any significant adverse impact is mitigated by screening, camouflage or other condition required by city;

c.    The applicant shall obtain adequate liability insurance naming the city as loss payee and commit to a lease agreement that 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;

d.    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;

e.    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. Wireless facilities serving essential government services and other government agencies shall have priority over other users;

f.    The applicant must reimburse the city for any related costs that the city incurs because of the presence of the applicant’s facilities;

g.    The applicant must obtain all necessary land use approvals; and

h.    The applicant must cooperate with the city’s objective to encourage collocations and thus limit the number of cell sites requested.

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

1.    The city parks commission has reviewed and made a recommendation regarding proposed wireless facilities to be located in the park and this recommendation has been forwarded to the city council for consideration and approval;

2.    In no case shall wireless facilities be allowed in designated critical areas (except aquifer recharge areas) unless they are collocated on existing facilities; and

3.    Before wireless facilities may be located in public parks, visual impacts and disruption of normal public use shall be mitigated. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.090 Safety and industry standards.

A.    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 wireless service providers governed by this chapter shall bring their towers and antennas into compliance with the revised standards and regulations within six months of their effective date or the timelines provided by the revised standards and regulations, whichever time period is longer. Failure to bring towers and antennas into compliance with the revised standards and regulations shall constitute grounds for revocation of permit.

B.    Building Codes—Safety Standards. To ensure the structural integrity of towers, the 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 Electronic Industries Association (“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 owner of the tower, the owner shall have thirty days to bring the tower into compliance with such standards. If the owner fails to bring its tower into compliance within thirty days, the city may remove the tower at the owner’s expense.

C.    Compliance with RF Standards. No wireless service provider or lessee shall fail to assure that its antenna complies at all times with the current applicable Federal Communications Commission (FCC) radio frequency (RF) emission standards. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.100 Wireless conditional use permit criteria.

A.    Uses Requiring Wireless Conditional Use Permit. Any wireless facility listed in Table 29-1 as a wireless conditional use permit (wireless CUP) requires submittal of a wireless CUP application as described in YMC 15.29.050. Wireless CUPs require a public hearing before the hearing examiner and final approval by the hearing examiner.

B.    Criteria for Granting Wireless Conditional Use Permit. Before any conditional use may be granted, the hearing examiner must find that:

1.    The proposed use will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity of the proposed use or in the district in which the subject property is located;

2.    The proposed use shall meet or exceed the performance standards that are required in the zoning district the proposed use will occupy;

3.    The proposed development shall be compatible generally with the surrounding land uses in terms of traffic and pedestrian circulation, building and site design;

4.    The proposed use shall be in keeping with the goals and policies of the comprehensive land use policy plan; and

5.    All reasonable and practicable measures have been taken to minimize the possible adverse impacts which the proposed use may have on the area in which it is located.

C.    Authority to Impose Conditions. The hearing examiner may impose any conditions necessary to address identified impacts associated with the proposed wireless facility and ensure that the facility is compatible with surrounding development. The hearing examiner may:

1.    Increase requirements in the standards, criteria or policies established by this title;

2.    Stipulate the exact location as a means of minimizing hazards to life, limb, property damage, erosion, landslides or traffic;

3.    Require structural features or equipment essential to serve the same purpose set forth above;

4.    Impose conditions similar to those set forth in subsections (C)(2) and (3) of this section as deemed necessary to establish parity with uses permitted in the same zone in their freedom from nuisance generating features in matters of noise, odors, air pollution, wastes, vibration, traffic, physical hazards, and similar matters; provided, the hearing examiner may not, in connection with action on a conditional use permit, reduce the requirements specified by this title as pertaining to any use or otherwise reduce the requirements of this title in matters for which a variance is the remedy provided;

5.    Assure that the degree of compatibility with the purpose of this title shall be maintained with respect to the particular use on the particular site and in consideration of other existing and potential uses within the general area in which the use is proposed to be located; and

6.    Recognize and compensate for variations and degree of technological processes and equipment as related to the factors of noise, smoke, dust, fumes, vibration, odors, and hazard or public need.

D.    Conditional Use Permits—Effect of Hearing Examiner Decision. The decision of the hearing examiner on a conditional use permit shall be final and conclusive with right of appeal to the city council in accordance with YMC 16.08.030. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.110 Wireless height variance.

A.    Applicability. A wireless height variance is required for any major modification to an existing tower, antenna, or base station or construction of a new tower, antenna, or base station that requires a height in excess of height limits defined in YMC 15.29.070(A)(2).

B.     Variance from Other Standards. A major modification to an existing tower, antenna, or base station or construction of a new tower, antenna, or base station that requires variance from design criteria in YMC 15.29.070 other than height shall follow the standard variance procedures in Chapter 15.21 YMC (including review criteria).

C.    Criteria for Granting Wireless Height Variance. The hearing examiner shall have the authority to grant a variance from the maximum height allowed for a tower, antenna or base station when, in his/her opinion, the conditions as set forth herein have been found to exist. A wireless height variance is subject to:

1.    Compliance with standard wireless permit standards of YMC 15.29.120(D);

2.    Standard variance procedures in Chapter 15.21 YMC (not including review criteria); and

3.    All of the following criteria must be met:

a.    The additional height is necessary to provide adequate service and no other alternative is available;

b.    A significant portion of the tower and related facilities are screened by existing evergreen trees or existing structures;

c.    Strict application of current height limits would deprive a tower or antenna operator from achieving the minimum height required to meet the proven wireless need;

d.    The structure for which the variance is requested is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this chapter;

e.    That the granting of such variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity;

f.    Any visual impacts will be mitigated to the greatest extent possible using camouflage, stealth or screening as defined by this chapter;

g.    The location of the tower and antenna has been chosen so as to minimize the visibility of the facility from residentially zoned land and to minimize the obstruction of scenic views from public properties; and

h.    The variance is the minimum necessary to grant relief to the applicant.

D.    Decision. Based upon the information provided by the applicant, the results of the visual impact analysis, and findings of compliance or noncompliance with the criteria set forth herein, the examiner may:

1.    Approve an application for a variance, which may include additional requirements above those specified in this title or require modification of the proposal to comply with specified requirements or local conditions; or

2.    Deny a variance if the proposal does not meet or cannot be conditioned or modified to meet subsection C of this section.

E.    Burden of Proof. The applicant has the burden of proving that the proposed wireless height variance meets all of the necessary criteria. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.120 Application review process.

A.    Preapplication Meeting. To expedite review of applications, a preapplication meeting with the administrator is strongly encouraged. The preapplication meeting will help the applicant determine what permits may be required for his or her proposed wireless facility, what additional information or studies may help in the review of the application, and what stealth and/or camouflaging techniques might be appropriate for the site. The administrator may help to identify protected areas and may also suggest vantage points from which a visual impact assessment should be based.

B.    Review for Completeness. The administrator shall review each application for completeness as specified in YMC 15.29.050 and 47 CFR Section 1.6003. After review of the application, the administrator shall issue a determination of completeness or incompleteness in accordance with Chapter 16.04 YMC. In addition to information required for a complete application, the administrator may request additional information from the applicant to review the proposal and determine compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Except for the timelines specified in subsection C of this section for applications to modify an existing wireless facility or base station, or an application for small wireless facilities in the ROW, such administrative review, processing and issuance of administrative permits shall comply with the city’s timelines and procedures governing review and issuance of administrative permits in Chapter 16.04 YMC.

C.    Modification Permit Review. Applications for modifications to existing wireless facilities or base stations shall be reviewed as follows:

1.    Determination of Major or Minor Modification. Within forty-five days of receipt of a complete application for modification, the administrator shall review and issue a written determination as to whether the requested modification is deemed a major or minor modification under the provisions of YMC 15.29.060(A). The administrator may request additional information from the applicant or any other entity to assist in this determination.

2.    Finding of No Substantial Change—Minor Modification. If the modification is deemed by the administrator to be a minor modification under the provisions of YMC 15.29.060(A), the administrator shall issue a modification permit, which may include conditions necessary to achieve compliance with the provisions of this section. Issuance of the modification permit shall occur within forty-five days after receipt and approval of a complete application for a modification permit.

3.    Finding of Substantial Change—Major Modification. If the administrator determines that such application constitutes a substantial change to the physical dimensions of an existing wireless tower or base station, the administrator shall issue a written determination that the change is a major modification and direct the applicant to submit the appropriate application(s) as specified in Table 29-1 and YMC 15.29.050.

D.    Standard Wireless Permit Review. Standard wireless applications apply to all new wireless facilities and base stations and to major modification of all existing wireless facilities and base stations. Standard wireless applications shall be reviewed as follows:

1.    Administrative Decision. All standard wireless applications shall be subject to administrative review and decision unless they require an associated wireless conditional use permit or variance as specified in Table 29-1 or Table 29-1.5.

2.    Camouflaging/Stealth Review. Except for small wireless facilities, the administrator shall review the proposed method of camouflaging or stealth against conditions on or surrounding the site as follows:

a.    The administrator shall consider how proposed design of the tower, placement on the site, topography of and surrounding the site, color, structures on and surrounding the site, and natural features on and surrounding the site help to blend the wireless facility into its setting.

b.    The administrator may require a visual impact assessment as described in YMC 15.29.130 based upon lines of sight or vantage points identified by the administrator.

c.    The administrator shall determine if the proposed camouflaging or stealth reasonably integrates the wireless facility into its setting. The administrator may impose conditions to ensure that the facility achieves this objective.

3.    Compliance with Standards. The administrator shall review the proposal against all other standards of this chapter including, but not limited to, height, setbacks, color, design, lighting, landscaping, screening, and collocation capacity. If any items are found to be not in compliance, the administrator shall notify the applicant and direct him or her to either submit within two weeks, or other period of time deemed reasonable by the administrator considering the scope and complexity of the required revision, revised plans to address the compliance issue, or direct the administrator to render a decision on the application as submitted.

4.    Written Decision. The administrator shall issue a written decision on the application within the time frame specified in Chapter 16.07 YMC, identifying any items not in compliance with this chapter, and including any conditions necessary to achieve compliance.

5.    Appeals. The determination or decision of the administrator on any application under this chapter shall constitute an administrative decision subject to appeal pursuant to Chapter 16.08 YMC.

E.    Wireless Conditional Use Permit Review. Wireless conditional use permit applications shall be reviewed as follows:

1.    Submittal of Application. An application for a conditional use permit under this chapter shall be submitted to the administrator, who shall review such application for completeness and compliance with filing requirements under this chapter and applicable codes of the city, in accordance with the provisions and procedures of YMC 1.43.090 and YMC Title 16.

2.    Visual Impact Assessment. The administrator shall instruct the applicant on the requirements for a visual impact assessment. The visual impact assessment shall be completed prior to the scheduled public hearing.

3.    Additional Reports and Third-Party Review. The administrator shall have authority to request additional information and reports from the applicant necessary to facilitate analysis of the proposal, including but not limited to third-party review in accordance with YMC 15.29.140 and reports, surveys and tests as provided in this chapter, when the administrator, in his or her sole discretion, deems such additional information necessary or appropriate to fully assess the impact of the proposal and any reasonable alternatives, to address mitigation measures identified in SEPA, NEPA or other environmental reviews, to address issues of site screening or other measures to mitigate impacts upon the surrounding neighborhood, or to address any other impact to the life, health, safety of persons, or quiet enjoyment of property, identified by the administrator as likely, with reasonable probability, to result from the proposed project.

4.    Scheduling for Hearing. Upon the administrator’s determination that the application is complete and in compliance with filing requirements of this chapter, and that required visual impact assessments and other required reports have been finalized, the administrator in coordination with the hearing examiner shall be responsible for assigning a date for and assuring due notice of public hearing for each application, which date and notice shall be in accordance with the provisions of YMC Title 16.

5.    Hearing Examiner—Procedures—Factors. When considering an application for a conditional use permit, the hearing examiner shall consider the applicable standards, criteria and policies established by this title as they pertain to the proposed use and may impose specific conditions precedent to establishing this use.

F.    Wireless Height Variance Review. A wireless height variance shall be processed as follows:

1.    Procedures and Applicable Criteria. A wireless height variance shall be reviewed under the procedures described in Chapter 15.21, except that the hearing examiner shall apply the criteria for review and approval defined in this chapter.

2.    Visual Impact Assessment. The administrator shall instruct the applicant on the requirements for a visual impact assessment which shall be completed prior to the scheduled public hearing.

3.    Third-Party Review. Applications for variance may also require third-party review as described in YMC 15.29.140.

4.    Hearing Examiner Decision. The hearing examiner shall determine whether the proposed variance complies with the criteria for a variance in YMC 15.29.110, and that the proposed wireless facility complies with all other standards of this chapter. If the examiner finds that the proposal does not comply with the criteria for a variance he shall deny the variance and associated wireless facility. If the examiner finds that the proposal complies with the criteria for a variance and with all other development standards of this chapter, he shall approve the variance and the associated wireless facility. The examiner may impose any conditions necessary to ensure compliance with all standards. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.130 Visual impact assessments.

A.    Visual Impact Assessment. A visual impact assessment with photo-simulation of the proposed facility is required for all applications that require a conditional use permit or variance, and may be required by the administrator for any other application deemed necessary by the administrator to assess visual impacts associated with such application. As part of such application, the applicant shall furnish a visual impact assessment, which shall include:

1.    Zone of Visibility Map. If a new tower or substantial modification increasing the height of an existing structure is proposed, a computer generated “zone of visibility map” at a minimum of one-mile radius from the proposed structure may be provided to illustrate locations from which the proposed installation may be seen.

2.    Photo-Simulations. Pictorial representations of “before and after” (photo-simulations) views from key viewpoints within the zone of visibility. Guidance will be provided, concerning the appropriate key sites at the preapplication meeting, as required. Provide a map showing the locations of where the pictures were taken and distance from the proposed structure.

3.    Description of Visual Impact. A written description of the visual impact of the proposed facility including, and as applicable, the tower base, guy wires, fencing and accessory buildings from abutting and adjacent properties and streets as relates to the need or appropriateness of camouflaging. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.140 Third-party review.

Wireless service providers use various methodologies and analyses, including geographically based computer software, to determine the specific technical parameters of their wireless services and 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 for a variance or conditional use permit. The costs of the technical review shall be borne by the provider.

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 providers’ methodology and equipment used and not a subjective review of the site that 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. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.150 Nonuse/abandonment.

A.    Notice of Abandonment. No less than thirty days prior to the date that a provider plans to abandon or discontinue operation of a facility, the provider must notify the city of Yakima by certified U.S. mail of the proposed date of abandonment or discontinuation of operation. In the event that a provider 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 sixty 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; or

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 collocate another service on the tower. If another service provider is not added to the tower, then the operator shall promptly dismantle and remove the portion of the tower that exceeds the minimum height required to function satisfactorily. Notwithstanding the foregoing, changes which are made to 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; or

3.    Dismantle and Remove Facility. If the tower, antenna, foundation, and facility are not removed within the sixty-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. If there are two or more providers collocating 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; or

4.    Small cell wireless facilities shall be removed from utility poles pursuant to the right-of-way use permit, Chapter 8.20 YMC, and/or any agreement between the provider and the city.

B.    Expiration of Approval. At the earlier of sixty days from the date of abandonment without reactivating or upon completion of dismantling and removal, city approval for the facility shall automatically expire. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.160 Transfer of ownership.

A conditional use permit runs with the land; compliance with the conditions of any such permit is the responsibility of the current owner of the property, whether that is the applicant or a successor. No permit for which a financial security is required shall be considered valid during any time in which the required financial security is not posted. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.170 Vacation of permits.

A.    Any permit issued pursuant to this chapter may be vacated upon approval by the current landowner; provided, that:

1.    The use authorized by the permit does not exist and is not actively being pursued; or

2.    The use has been terminated and no violation of terms and conditions of the permit exists.

B.    Requests to vacate a permit shall be made in writing to the zoning code administrator who shall determine if the above conditions are present prior to authorizing the vacation. Vacation of any permit shall be documented by the filing of a notice of land use permit vacation on a form provided by the community development department with the city. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.180 Violation—Penalty.

Compliance with the requirements of this code shall be mandatory. Any violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor subject to the penalties and remedies established in YMC 6.02.050. Additionally, any violation of the provisions of this chapter, and any installation and/or operation of any structure in violation of the provisions of this chapter, shall be deemed a public nuisance and violation subject to penalties and remedies available under state law and city codes. The enforcement actions authorized under this code shall be supplemental to those general penalties and remedies of Chapter 6.02 YMC and the public nuisance penalties and remedies available under state law and city codes. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.190 Relief, waiver, exemption.

Any applicant desiring relief, waiver or exemption from any aspect or requirement of this chapter may request such, pursuant to and in compliance with the applicable provision on general variances as contained in Chapter 15.21 YMC; provided, that the relief or exemption is contained in the submitted application for permit or, in the case of an existing or previously granted permit, a request for modification of its tower and/or facilities. Such relief may be temporary or permanent, partial or complete. No such relief or exemption shall be approved unless the applicant demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that, if granted, the relief, waiver or exemption will have no significant effect on the health, safety and welfare of the city, its residents and other service providers. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).

15.29.200 Severability.

a.    If any word, phrase, sentence, part, section, subsection, or other portion of this chapter or any application thereof to any person or circumstance is declared void, unconstitutional, or invalid for any reason, then such word, phrase, sentence, part, section, subsection, or other portion, or the proscribed application thereof, shall be severable, and the remaining provisions of this chapter, and all applications thereof, not having been declared void, unconstitutional, or invalid shall remain in full force and effect.

b.    Any permit issued under this chapter shall be comprehensive and not severable. If part of a permit is deemed or ruled to be invalid or unenforceable in any material respect by a competent authority, or is overturned by a competent authority, the permit shall be void in total, upon determination by the city. (Ord. 2019-028 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2019: Ord. 2016-029 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2016: Ord. 2013-051 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2013).