Town of Thompson, NY
Sullivan County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 8-18-1998 by L.L. No. 8-1998]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
TELECOMMUNICATIONS TOWER
Any structure greater than 35 feet in height which is capable of receiving or transmitting signals for the purpose of communications.
The purpose of these supplemental regulations is to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Town of Thompson; to provide standards for the safe provision of telecommunications consistent with applicable federal and state regulations; to minimize the total number of telecommunications towers in the community by encouraging shared use of existing and future towers and the use of existing tall buildings and other high structures; and to minimize adverse visual effects from telecommunications towers by requiring careful siting, consideration of visual impact assessment and appropriate landscaping so as to minimize the impact upon the environment.
A. 
No telecommunications tower, except those approved prior to the effective date of this article, shall be used unless in conformity with these regulations. No telecommunications tower shall hereafter be erected, moved, reconstructed, changed or altered unless in conformity with these regulations. No existing structure shall be modified to serve as a telecommunications tower unless in conformity with these regulations.
B. 
Applicants proposing to collocate on a previously approved telecommunications tower do not require a special use permit. They are, however, subject to site plan review by the Planning Board in accordance with Part 1, Article IX, §§ 250-48 through 250-59. The Planning Board may require the applicant to submit any of the items under § 250-64A below as part of the site plan review process.
C. 
Applicants proposing a new tower shall apply for a special permit.
D. 
The regulations shall apply to all property within the following zones: SR, HC, CI, NC and AR. Telecommunications towers shall be specifically excluded from all other zones.
E. 
Applications for construction of new telecommunications towers shall comply with the Code of Federal Regulations pertaining to objects affecting navigable airspace as delineated within Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 77. Additionally, no application for construction of a new telecommunications tower will be approved if the proposed tower violates the criteria for obstructions to air navigation as established by FAR Part 77 Subpart C, Obstruction Standards. All applications shall provide proof of compliance with the above-stated regulations.
At all times, shared use of existing structures (for example, municipal water towers, multistory buildings, church steeples and farm silos) and existing or approved towers (§§ 250-48 through 250-59) shall be preferred to the construction of new towers.
A. 
An applicant proposing to share use of an existing tall structure shall be required to submit:
(1) 
A completed application for a site plan.
(2) 
Documentation of intent from the owner of the existing facility to allow shared use.
(3) 
A site plan that shall conform to § 250-51 of this Part 1. The site plan shall show all existing and proposed structures and improvements, including antennas, roads, buildings, guy wires and anchors, parking and landscaping, and shall include grading plans for new facilities and roads. Any methods used to conceal the modifications of the existing facility shall be indicated on the site plan.
(4) 
An engineer's report certifying that the proposed shared use will not diminish the structural integrity and safety of the existing tall structure and explaining what modifications, if any, will be required in order to certify to the above.
(5) 
A completed short environmental assessment form (EAF) and a completed visual EAF addendum.
(6) 
A certified copy of its Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license with raised seal.
B. 
If any applicant proposing to share use of an existing tall structure submits complete and satisfactory documentation in accordance with Subsection A above, and if modifications indicated according to Subsection A are deemed insignificant by the Board, and after the Board conducts a public hearing and complies with all SEQRA provisions, the Board shall grant a site plan approval without further review under this article. If the Board determines that any modifications indicated according to Subsection a are significant or finds other significant factors, it may require further review according to §§ 250-69 through 250-80 below.
A. 
The Planning Board may consider a new telecommunications tower when the applicant demonstrates that shared use of existing tall structures and existing or approved towers is impractical. An applicant shall be required to present an adequate report inventorying all existing tall structures and existing or approved towers within a reasonable distance of the proposed site. This distance shall be determined by the Planning Board. The report shall outline opportunities investigated for shared use of these existing facilities as an alternative to a proposed new tower. The report shall demonstrate good faith efforts to secure shared use from the owner of each existing tall structure and existing or approved tower as well as documentation of the physical, technical and financial reasons why shared usage is not practical in each case. Written requests and responses for shared use shall be provided upon a showing that shared use is impractical and presenting a report to the Board.
B. 
New telecommunications tower standards. An applicant proposing a new tower shall be required to submit:
(1) 
A complete application for a site plan and special permit.
(2) 
A site plan that shall conform to § 250-51 of this Part 1. The site plan shall show all existing and proposed structures and improvements, including antennas, roads, buildings, guy wires and anchors, parking and landscaping, and shall include grading plans for new facilities and roads. Any methods used to conceal the modifications of the existing facility shall be indicated on the site plan.
(3) 
An engineer's report certifying the structural integrity and safety of the proposed tower and accessory structures.
(4) 
A completed EAF and visual EAF addendum.
(5) 
A certified copy of its Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license or original with raised seal.
(6) 
If land is leased, documentation of intent from the owner to allow use and affirming intent to remove the tower if abandoned, obsolete or unused in accordance with § 250-78.
Where shared use of all existing tall structures and existing or approved towers 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 § 250-65 above. Any proposals for a new telecommunications tower on an existing site shall also be subject to the requirements of §§ 250-68 through 250-80 below.
The Planning Board may consider a new telecommunications tower on a site not previously developed with an existing tower when the applicant demonstrates that shared use of existing tall structures and existing or approved towers is impractical and submits a report as described in § 250-65 above, and when the Board determines that shared use of an existing tower site for a new tower is undesirable based upon the applicant's investigation in accordance with § 250-66. Any proposals for a new telecommunications tower shall also be subject to the requirements of §§ 250-68 through 250-80 below.
The applicant shall design a proposed new telecommunications tower to accommodate future demand for reception and transmitting facilities. The applicant shall submit to the Board a letter of intent committing the owner of the proposed new tower and his/her successors in interest to negotiate in good faith for shared use of the proposed tower by other telecommunications providers in the future. This letter shall be filed with the officers and employees of the Building Department prior to issuance of a building permit. Failure to abide by the conditions outlined in the letter may be grounds for revocation of the special permit. The letter shall commit the new tower owner and his/her successors in interest to:
A. 
Respond within 90 days to a request for information from a potential shared-use applicant.
B. 
Negotiate in good faith concerning future requests for shared use of the new tower by other telecommunications providers.
C. 
Allow shared use of the new tower if another telecommunications provider agrees in writing to pay reasonable charges. The charge may include but is 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 and depreciation, and all the costs of adapting the tower or equipment to accommodate a shared user without causing electromagnetic interference.
A. 
An applicant shall be required to submit a site plan in accordance with § 250-51. In addition, the site plan shall show all existing and proposed structures and improvements, including roads, buildings, tower(s), guy wires and anchors, antennas, parking and landscaping, and shall include grading plans for new facilities and roads.
B. 
Supporting documentation. The applicant shall submit a complete EAF, a complete visual environmental assessment form which should address height, alternative sites and number of towers, and documentation on proposed intent and capacity of use as well as a justification for the height of any tower and justification for any clearing required. The applicant shall also submit a certified copy of its Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license or original with raised seal.
All proposed telecommunications towers and accessory structures shall be located on a single parcel and shall be set back from abutting parcels and street lines a distance sufficient to substantially contain on site all icefall or debris from tower failure and preserve the privacy of any adjoining residential properties.
A. 
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 area required shall be leased from a single parcel unless the Planning Board determines that this provision may be modified or waived as part of the special permit.
B. 
Telecommunications towers shall comply with all existing setback requirements of the underlying zoning district, if the tower is designed to fall within itself. If the tower is not designed to fall within itself, the setback shall be the minimum required setback from the property line in the underlying zoning district plus the height of the tower. Accessory structures shall comply with the minimum setback requirements in the underlying zoning district.
The Board may require the applicant to undertake a visual impact assessment which shall include:
A. 
A Zone of Visibility Map, which shall be provided in order to determine locations 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, other public lands, preserves and historic sites normally open to the public, and from any other location where the site is visible to a large number of visitors or travelers. The Board shall determine the appropriate key sites at a presubmission conference with the applicant.
C. 
Assessment of alternative tower designs and color schemes, as described in § 250-72 below.
D. 
Assessment of the visual impact of the tower base, guy wires, accessory buildings and overhead utility lines from abutting properties and streets.
E. 
Review of alternative sites, number of towers and height of towers in the zone to determine what would be in the best interest of preserving the aesthetic and natural character of the neighborhood.
Alternative designs shall be considered for new towers, including lattice and single-pole structures. The design of a proposed new tower shall comply with the following:
A. 
Any new tower shall be designed to accommodate future shared use by other telecommunications providers.
B. 
A tower shall have a shape, contour and finish (either painted or unpainted) that minimizes its degrees of visual impact. The Planning Board may require a tower to be in the shape of a tree, flagpole, church steeple, etc.
C. 
The maximum height of any new 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. The Board at its discretion may modify this requirement if the applicant can justify the need to exceed this height limitation, but only in accordance with municipal, state or federal law and/or regulations.
D. 
The Board may request a review of the application by a qualified engineer or landscape architect retained by the Planning Board in order to evaluate the need for, and the design of, any new tower. The cost of this review shall be borne by the applicant.
E. 
Accessory structures shall maximize the use of building materials, colors and textures designed to blend with natural surroundings.
F. 
No portion of any tower or accessory structure shall be used for a sign or other advertising purpose, including but not limited to company name, phone numbers, banners and streamers.
Existing on-site vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible. No cutting of trees exceeding four inches in diameter (measured at the height of four feet off the ground) shall take place prior to the approval of the special permit.
Deciduous or evergreen tree plantings shall 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, ample 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.
Parking shall be provided to assure adequate emergency and service access in accordance with the Code.
The tower and any accessory structures shall be adequately enclosed by a fence, the design of which shall be approved by the Planning Board.
The applicant shall submit to the Board a letter of intent committing the tower owner and his/her successors in interest to notify the officers and employees of the Building Department within 30 days of the discontinuance of use of the tower. This letter shall be filed with the officers and employees of the Building Department prior to issuance of a building permit. Obsolete or unused towers and accessory structures shall be removed from any site within four months of such notification. Failure to notify or to remove the obsolete or unused tower in accordance with these regulations shall be a violation of this Part 1 and punishable according to this Code and shall also render the property owner and lessee subject to action by the Town of Thompson in courts of law or equity and costs allowable at law or in equity.
In order to keep neighboring municipalities informed, and to facilitate the possibility of directing that an existing tall structure or existing telecommunications tower in a neighboring municipality be considered for shared use, and to assist in the continued development of County 911 Services, the Board shall require that:
A. 
An applicant who proposes a new telecommunications tower shall notify in writing the legislative body of each municipality that borders the Town of Thompson, the Sullivan County Planning Department or Board and the Director of Sullivan County Emergency Services. Notification shall include the exact location of the proposed tower and a general description of the project, including but not limited to the height of the tower and its capacity for future shared use.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
Documentation of this notification shall be submitted to the Board at the time of application.
The applicant shall be required to mail notice of the public hearing directly to all landowners whose property is located within 1,000 feet of the property line of the parcel on which a new tower is proposed. Notice shall also be mailed to the administrator of the state or federal parklands from which the proposed tower would be visible if constructed. Notification in all cases shall be made by certified first-class mail in accordance with Planning Board procedures. Documentation of this notification shall be submitted to the Board prior to the public hearing.
The Planning Board shall set forth in its record of proceedings the grounds upon which it has made its determination.