[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wheatfield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Towers and Dish Antennas
Article II Amateur Radio Operator Antennas
[Adopted 4-1-1991 by L.L. No. 3-1991]
It is the purpose of this article to regulate the installation of towers within the Town of Wheatfield, to require that such towers be located and constructed in accordance with approved plans and to prescribe regulations for said towers in the interest of protecting the public health and safety of the general public of the Town of Wheatfield.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ATTACHED TOWER
- Includes a tower which is rigidly attached to a building by a rigid member.
- FREESTANDING TOWER
- Includes a self-supported or guyed tower not attached to a building.
- Includes any tower, edifice, pole or other structure, including dish
antennas, whether attached to a building or freestanding and whether guyed
or self-supporting, designed to be used as/for the support of devices used
for the transmission and/or reception of radio frequency signals, such as
but not limited to broadcast, shortwave, citizens band, FM or television signals.[Amended 8-27-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007]
- TOWER HEIGHT
- Height shall be determined as the height of the structure, including any appurtenances or components.
Editor's Note: The former definition of "WECS," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 8-27-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007.
Number of towers. Towers shall be limited to one tower per, acre except that amateur radio towers may number no more than two towers per 20,000 square feet of lot area.
Location. Freestanding towers shall be located in rear yards only. Guy wires and anchors for towers shall not be located closer than five feet to any property line and shall not extend into any required front or side yard. A freestanding tower shall be no closer to any lot line or public utility line than the distance equal to the height of the tower, but, in no case, no closer than 10 feet to any property line.
Tower access. Climbing access to a tower shall be limited to climbing apparatus no lower than 12 feet from the ground.
Height limitations. Attached towers which are attached to the roof of the structure shall not exceed 50 feet above the grade.
Dish antenna. The location and design of a dish antenna shall attempt to reduce to a minimum danger to the public and the visual impact on surrounding properties. To ensure public safety, a property owner may be required to use architectural features, earth berms, screenings and/or landscaping that harmonize the installation with the elements and characteristics of the surrounding property. The materials used in the construction of the antenna shall not be unnecessarily shiny, bright or reflective. Said antenna shall be located at ground level only.
No person, firm or corporation being the owner or occupant of land or premises within the Town of Wheatfield shall use or permit the use of said land or premises for the construction of a tower without obtaining a special permit.
Special exemptions from this section are as follows:
Towers lawfully in existence prior to enactment of this article shall be exempt until such time as major repairs or replacement become necessary. At this time, conformance with this article (including the obtaining of any necessary permits) shall be required.
Towers used for normal household television, radio and dish antennas are to be installed in a rear yard, subject to the regulations set forth in § 177-3 for other similar signal broadcast or reception.
Application data required. The application for a tower permit shall be in writing and on forms provided by the Building Department and signed by the applicant. It shall state the following:
The name and address of the applicant.
The name and address of the property owner, if different than applicant.
The name and address of each partner, if the applicant is a partnership.
The name and address of each officer, if the applicant is a partnership.
Information regarding the tower, to include height, location on the lot, appurtenances, distance from buildings and other information deemed necessary by the Zoning Board.
Where the applicant is not the owner of the premises, the application shall also be accompanied by the original or a true statement signed by all the owners of record consenting to the construction of the tower on the premises.
Any violation of any of the provisions of this article shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both such fine and imprisonment.
[Adopted 9-13-2004 by L.L. No. 10-2004]
The Town of Wheatfield, in support of the Federal Communications Authorization Act of 1988, encourages and supports the Amateur Radio Service in its emergency communications efforts and takes into account the valuable contributions made by amateur radio operators when considering actions affecting the Amateur Radio Service.
The Town recognizes the Amateur Radio Service as a voluntary noncommercial communications service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications. Moreover, the Amateur Radio Service provides a reservoir of trained operators, technicians and electronic experts who can be called on in time of national emergencies. By its nature, the Amateur Radio Service also provides the opportunity for individual operators to further international goodwill.
Because amateur station communications are only as effective as the antennas employed, antenna height restrictions directly affect the effectiveness of amateur communications. Some amateur antenna configurations require more substantial installations than others do if they are to provide the amateur operators with the communications he/she desires to engage in; for example, an antenna used to contact other amateur operators at shorter distances. Therefore, Town of Wheatfield regulations which involve placement, screening or height of antennas based on health, safety or aesthetic considerations must be crafted to reasonably accommodate amateur communications and to represent the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the Town's legitimate purpose.
Upon weighing the FCC's interests of the amateur radio operators program, the Town of Wheatfield implements a limited pre-emption policy. Accordingly, local regulations that operate to preclude amateur communications within the Town of Wheatfield which are in direct conflict with federal objectives must be pre-empted.
Also, it is important that the Town Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals recognize that applications for site plan or special permit approvals or for area variance relief for an amateur radio antenna must be treated differently. These Boards should strive to craft their approvals in a way which would represent the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the Boards' legitimate purposes when addressing issues of placement, screening or height of antennas.