Town of Potsdam, NY
St. Lawrence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 12-16-1997 by L.L. No. 4-1997; amended 12-27-2001 by L.L. No. 10-2001]

§ 110-10.1
Planning Board approval required. 

§ 110-10.2
Definitions. 

§ 110-10.3
Permits. 

§ 110-10.4
Site plan requirements. 

§ 110-10.5
Location: shared usage. 

§ 110-10.6
Lot size and setbacks for new towers. 

§ 110-10.7
Visual impact assessment. 

§ 110-10.8
Tower design. 

§ 110-10.9
Screening. 

§ 110-10.10
Access. 

§ 110-10.11
Parking. 

§ 110-10.12
Fencing. 

§ 110-10.13
Removal. 

§ 110-10.14
Maintenance and/or performance bond. 

§ 110-10.15
Waiver of requirements. 

All telecommunications towers or radio emitters of any type, for commercial use, shall not be installed or operated unless approved by the Town Planning Board.

The following words and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meaning set forth in this section unless the context indicates otherwise:

ANTENNA FACILITY
Any facility used in connection with the provision of wireless services, including, but not limited to, antennas, transmitter, ancillary telecommunications equipment, wireless telecommunications. Television signal receivers at single-family residences are exempt from permit requirements.
ANTENNA FACILITY LOCATION PLAN
A rendering, drawing, or sketch prepared to specifications and containing necessary elements, as set forth in the applicable ordinance or local law, which shows the arrangement, layout and design of the proposed use of a single parcel of land as shown on said plan.
ANTENNA FACILITY LOCATION PLAN REVIEW
The applicable review by the Town of Potsdam Planning Board.
PERSON
Any individual, corporation, limited-liability company, joint venture, public benefit corporation, partnership, limited-liability partnership, association, trust or estate and any other entity, public or private, however organized.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS TOWER
Any freestanding tower, guyed tower, monopole or any structure used for the provision of wireless services, including ancillary telecommunications equipment required to integrate such facility into an existing or proposed wireless network.
WIRELESS SERVICE
The provision of personal wireless services, including the provision of commercial mobile services, unlicensed wireless services or specialized mobile radio services, which services are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission in accordance with the Communications Act of 1934. "Unlicensed wireless service" means the offering of telecommunications services using duly authorized devices which do not require individual licenses, but does not mean the provision of direct-to-home satellite services.
A. 

Permit requirements. No person who provides wireless service shall commence the placement, construction or modification of an antenna facility without first having obtained an approval for a special permit from the Planning Board and obtained a building permit from the Code Enforcement Officer.

B. 

Permit review procedures. Upon receipt of a complete application for permission to place, construct or modify an antenna facility, the Code Enforcement Officer shall forward the application for a minor or major antenna facility to the Planning Board for special permit and site plan review.

C. 

Major and minor antenna facilities.

(1) 

"Minor antenna facility" means any wireless facility installed on, in or to an existing building or other existing structure, including, but not limited to, an existing tower, pole, other utility tower or pole, smokestack, steeple, water tank, billboard or other signage, or streetlight, comprised solely of antennas and ancillary telecommunications equipment which do not extend in excess of twenty feet above the highest point of the existing building or structure on which the minor antenna facility is installed. Special permit and site plan review are required.

(2) 

A residential zoning district minor antenna facility is subject to the standards applicable to the placement of an antenna facility. Special permit and site plan review are required.

(3) 

"Major antenna service facility" means any antenna facility that is not a minor antenna facility. Special permit and site plan review are required.

D. 

Telecommunications towers and wireless communications facilities shall be permitted in zoning districts as follows:

(1) 

R-1 Residential District: New towers or facilities are not permitted, nor existing structures used for the placement of towers, antennas or radio emitters.

(2) 

R-2 Residential District.

(a) 

New towers are not permitted.

(b) 

The use of existing structures as outlined in § 110-10.4 may be authorized by the Town Planning Board.

(3) 

R-A Residential-Agriculture District, C-C Community Center District, C-D Community Development District, H-D Highway Development District, P-D Development Overlay District: The Town Planning Board may permit telecommunications towers and other wireless facilities after a review of application and site plans.

A. 

Site plan. An applicant shall be required to submit a site plan in accordance with § 110-20A. The site plan shall show all existing and proposed structures and improvements, including roads, buildings, tower(s), guy wire and anchors. Parking and landscaping and shall include grading plans for new facilities and roads.

B. 

Supporting documentation. The Planning Board and/or the Zoning Board of Appeals shall require that the site plan include a complete visual environmental assessment form (EAF) and documentation on the proposed intent and capacity of use as well as a justification for the height of any tower and justification for any clearing required. The Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals may require submittal of a more detailed visual analysis based on the results of the visual EAF in addressing this § 110-10.8 below. The Board shall also require a copy of the certificate of need from the Public Service Commission.

A. 

Shared use of existing towers. At all times, shared use of existing towers shall be preferred to the construction of new towers. An applicant shall be required to present an adequate report inventorying existing towers within a reasonable distance of the proposed site and outlining opportunities for shared use of existing facilities as an alternative to a proposed new tower.

(1) 

An applicant proposing to share use of an existing tower shall be required to document intent from an existing tower owner to allow shared use.

(2) 

The Board shall consider a new telecommunications tower where the applicant adequately demonstrates that shared usage of an existing tower is impractical. The applicant shall be required to submit a report demonstrating good faith efforts to secure shared use from existing towers as well as documentation of the physical and/or financial reasons why shared usage is not practical. Written requests and responses for shared use shall be provided.

B. 

Shared usage of site with new tower. Where shared usage of an existing tower is found to be impractical, the applicant shall investigate shared usage of an existing tower site for its ability to accommodate a new tower and accessory uses. Documentation and conditions shall be in accordance with Subsection A(1) and (2) above. Any new telecommunications tower approved for an existing tower site shall be subject to the standards of Subsection D and §§ 110-10.6 through 110-10.11 below.

C. 

New tower at a new location. The Board shall consider a new telecommunications tower on a site not previously developed with an existing tower. The applicant shall adequately demonstrate that shared usage of an existing tower site is impractical and shall submit a report demonstrating good faith efforts to secure shared use from existing towers, as well as documentation of the physical and/or financial reasons why shared usage is not practical. (Written requests and responses for shared use inquiries shall be provided.) Information regarding the required need for the new telecommunications tower shall be required in the form of empirical data illustrating said need.

D. 

Future shared usage of new towers. The applicant must examine the feasibility of including a telecommunications tower in his proposed plan that will accommodate future demand for reception and transmitting facilities. The Board shall determine the scope of this analysis. This requirement may be waived, provided that the applicant demonstrates that provision of future shared usage of the facility is not feasible and an unnecessary burden based upon:

(1) 

The number of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licenses foreseeably available for the area.

(2) 

The kind of tower site and structure proposed.

(3) 

The number of existing and potential licenses without tower spaces.

(4) 

Available spaces on existing and approved towers.

(5) 

Potential adverse visual impact by tower designed for shared usage.

All proposed telecommunications towers and accessory structures shall be located on a single parcel and be set back from abutting residential parcels, public property or street lines a distance sufficient to contain on site substantially all icefall or debris from tower failure and preserve the privacy of the adjoining residential properties.

A. 

The lot size of parcels containing a tower shall be determined by the amount of land required to meet the setback requirements; if the land is to be leased, the entire lot required shall be leased from a single parcel.

B. 

All tower bases shall be located at a minimum setback from any property line at a minimum distance equal to 1 1/2 times the height of the tower.

C. 

Accessory structures shall comply with the minimum setback requirements in the underlying zoning district

The Board shall require the applicant to undertake a visual impact assessment of any proposed new towers or any proposed modification of an existing tower. The visual impact assessment shall include:

A. 

A Zone of Visibility Map, provided in order to determine location where the tower may be seen.

B. 

Pictorial representations of "before" and "after" views from key viewpoints both inside and outside of the Town, including but not limited to state highways and other major roads, state and local parks and areas of aesthetic interest.

C. 

Alternative tower designs and color schemes.

D. 

A description of the visual impact of the tower base, accessory buildings and overhead utility lines from abutting properties and streets.

A. 

Alternate designs shall be considered for new towers, including lattice and single-pole structures.

B. 

The design of a proposed new tower shall comply with the following:

(1) 

Towers and antennas shall be designed to withstand the effects of the wind according to the standards designated by the American National Standards Institute as prepared by the Engineering Departments of the Electronics Industry Association and Telecommunications Industry Association.

(2) 

Unless specifically required by other regulations, all towers shall have a finish compatible with the surrounding area that shall minimize the degree of visual impact.

(3) 

The maximum height of any new tower, or any tower in existence intended to be used as a telecommunications tower, shall not exceed that which shall permit operation without artificial lighting of any kind or nature in accordance with municipal, state, and/or federal law and/or regulation.

(4) 

The Board may request a review of the application by a qualified engineer for evaluation of need for and design of any new tower.

(5) 

Accessory facilities shall maximize the use of building materials, colors and textures designed to blend with the ambient surroundings.

(6) 

No portion of any tower or related structure shall be used for a sign or other advertising purpose, including but not limited to company name, phone numbers, banners, streamers, etc.

Deciduous or evergreen tree plantings may be required to screen portions of the tower and accessory structures from nearby residential property as well as from public sites known to include important views or vistas. Where a site abuts a residential property or public property, including streets, screening shall be required.

Adequate emergency and service access shall be provided. Maximum use of existing roads, public or private, shall be made. Road construction shall, at all times, minimize ground disturbance and vegetation cutting to within the toe of fill, the top of cuts or no more than 10 feet beyond the edge of any pavement. Road grades shall closely follow natural contours to assure minimal visual disturbance and reduce soil erosion potential.

A minimum of three parking spaces shall be provided. No parking spaces shall be located in any required yard.

Sites of proposed new towers and sites where modifications to existing towers are proposed shall be adequately secured. A fence approved by the Board shall enclose the site unless the applicant demonstrates to the Board that such measures are unnecessary to ensure the security of the facility.

Obsolete or unused towers and related structures shall be removed from any site within four months of discontinuance of use.

The Board, at its sole discretion, may require the applicant and/or the owner to establish, prior to approval of any application, a maintenance and/or performance bond in any amount sufficient to cover the installation, maintenance and/or demolition of said tower during its lifetime. The bonding amount required shall be determined at the sole discretion of the Board. The applicant and/or owner shall cooperate with the Board in supplying all necessary construction and maintenance data to the Board prior to approval of any application. The cost estimate shall be reviewed by the Town Engineer.

The Planning Board may waive any of the application requirements in this article found not to be germane or found to cause undo hardship.