Town of Wakefield, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 4-13-2000 ATM by Art. 27]
A. 
The purpose of this article is to establish an overlay district in which wireless communications services may be provided by special permit with minimal harm to the public health, safety and general welfare. Specifically, the Wireless Communication Services District has been created to:
(1) 
Protect the general public from hazards associated with wireless communications towers and facilities; and
(2) 
Minimize the visual impacts of wireless communications towers and facilities in the Town of Wakefield.
B. 
For the purposes of this article, "wireless communications services" shall mean the provision of the following types of wireless services: telephone, personal communications, Internet and enhanced mobile radio service and paging. Such services, it is anticipated, will require installation of facilities, including, but not limited to, antennas, transmitters/receivers, supporting structures, principal and accessory equipment and, in some instances, towers, masts or other structures. These facilities may be sited only in the Wireless Communications Services Overlay District.
Collocation or siting on existing facilities and structures is desired. No special permit or modification of the conditions of a special permit relating to a facility for wireless communications services shall be authorized by the special permit granting authority (SPGA) unless it finds that such facility:
A. 
Is necessary to meet current or expected demands for the services supported by the wireless communications services facility for the applicant's network;
B. 
Conforms to all applicable regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC);
C. 
Is designed and constructed in a manner which minimizes its visual impact to the extent practical;
D. 
Complies with all other regulations of this article; and
E. 
Is an appropriate site within the technically feasible area for the location of the wireless communications services facility.
A. 
The Wireless Communications Services Overlay District shall be located as follows:
(1) 
Any facility meeting the definition of this article may, with SPGA approval, be sited in an Industrial District and Limited Industrial District, provided that no component of the facility is within 600 feet of a residentially zoned district, historical district, historical site, archeologically significant site, schoolground or park, notwithstanding the Town's boundary.
(2) 
Any facility meeting the definition of this article may, with SPGA approval, be sited on a Town-owned water tank, provided that the transmitters/receivers do not extend above the tank by more than five feet and that the transmitters/receivers are screened in such a way that they appear to be part of the tank.
(3) 
Any facility meeting the definition of this article may, with SPGA approval, be collocated on an existing dedicated telecommunications structure, electric transmission or distribution tower, lighting pole or standard or utility pole or transmission wire between utility poles designed for that purpose, provided that the existing structure or pole is not increased in height, the wireless communications equipment does not present an unusual hazard should it fall and the wireless communications equipment so mounted does not detract from the visual appearance of the surrounding neighborhood.
(4) 
Any facility meeting the definition of this article and which has all components entirely concealed from view from all exterior vantage points at existing grade or is fully camouflaged so as to blend indiscernibly, in the opinion of the SPGA, in with the natural and man-made features surrounding the site and normally existing in communities such as Wakefield in eastern Massachusetts, may be sited in an Industrial District, Limited Industrial District or Business District, provided that no component of the facility is within 250 feet of a residentially zoned district, historical district, historical site, archeologically significant site, schoolground or park, notwithstanding the Town's boundary.
B. 
The Wireless Communications Services District shall be construed as an overlay district with regard to said locations. All requirements of the underlying zoning district shall remain in full force and effect except as may be specifically superseded herein.
C. 
For purposes of this section "historical site" and "archeologically significant site" are those historical sites or archaeologically significant sites (a) which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or (b) which are on an inventory provided to the Building Inspector by the Wakefield Historical Commission and on file with the Massachusetts Historical Commission and have been designated as significant buildings or sites after a finding by the Wakefield Historical Commission that buildings or structures are either:
[Added 4-8-2002 ATM by Art. 38]
(1) 
Importantly associated with one or more historic persons or events, or with the architectural, cultural, political, economic or social history of the Town of the Commonwealth; or
(2) 
Historically or architecturally significant (in terms of period, style, method of building construction, or association with a famous architect or building); or
(3) 
Of archaeological importance as designated by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
[1]
Editor's Note: Pursuant to the 7-11-2000 letter from the Office of the Attorney General, this section shall be given the following construction: "There shall be an overlay district within which, subject to stated separations, facilities may be installed consisting of the underlying industrial, limited industrial, and business districts; and in addition to the overlay district, facilities may be installed, subject to stated conditions, in any district on the structures and objects specifically identified in Subsections (2), (3), and (4)."
The following types of wireless communications facilities are exempt from this article.
A. 
Amateur radio installations used in accordance with the terms of any amateur radio service license issued by the Federal Communications Commission, provided that the facility is not used or licensed for any commercial purpose.
B. 
Towers and antennas erected by the Town of Wakefield exclusively for public safety or other Town communications purposes.
A. 
An application for a special permit shall be filed in accordance with § 190-73.
[Amended 4-8-2002 ATM by Art. 39]
(1) 
Site plans prepared by professional engineers, architects and landscape architects, as appropriate, that are registered in the State of Massachusetts. Plan shall be submitted at a scale of 1:40 showing the following:
(a) 
Tower location and tower height.
(b) 
Accessory buildings.
(c) 
Topography.
(d) 
Fencing and landscaping.
(e) 
Access and parking.
(f) 
Lighting.
(g) 
Areas to be cleared of vegetation and areas of proposed earth removal or earth fill.
(h) 
Site boundaries.
(i) 
Abutters and other property owners within 300 feet of the site boundaries.
(j) 
All existing structures within a radius of 600 feet from the transmitter/receiver, and all existing and proposed structures on the site of the proposed facility. (The use, whether residential, business, industrial, educational, institutional or any other use, of all structures shown shall be designated on the plan. Structures that do not have human occupancy shall be so designated.)
(k) 
Tree cover on the subject property and adjacent properties within 600 feet from the transmitter/receiver, by dominant species and average height, as measured by or available from a verifiable source.
(l) 
All other items required by the Department of Public Works, 105 CMR 122, Fixed Facilities Which Generate Electromagnetic Fields in the Frequency Range of 300 kHz to 100 GHz and Microwave Ovens.
(2) 
The locus map at a scale of 1:1000 which shall show all streets, bodies of water, landscape features, historic sites and habitats for endangered species within 600 feet from the antenna; the "cell" region to be served by the proposed facility; the locations and areas served by adjacent and overlapping "cells"; and all existing buildings, structures, towers or other sites within the "cell" of the proposed facility that are technically feasible as alternative sites for the proposed facility; all existing wireless communications facilities and structures with heights exceeding 75% of the height of the proposed tower within a two-mile radius of the proposed site.
(3) 
Photographs of existing site conditions and photographs to represent the completed facility as follows:
(a) 
One eight inch by ten inch photograph of existing site conditions that are visible from each public road within 600 feet of the proposed facility, and from such other vantage points as the SPGA may deem necessary to evaluate visual impact of the proposed facility.
(b) 
For each photograph described in (a) above, a same-size reprint with the proposed facility superimposed to show what will be visible from the same vantage points.
(c) 
At the discretion of the SPGA, realistic renderings may be substituted for photographs.
(4) 
Reports prepared by one or more qualified professional engineers, which shall:
(a) 
Describe the facility and the technical, economic and other reasons for the tower design.
(b) 
Demonstrate that the facility complies with all applicable standards of the federal and state governments.
(c) 
Describe the capacity of the facility, including the number and types of transmitter/receivers that it can accommodate and the basis for the calculation of capacity.
(d) 
Provide measurements of existing, or ambient, radio frequency radiation (RFR) at the site, calculations of the maximum RFR from the proposed facility plus the measured ambient, and certification that the RFR measurements are accurate and that the proposed plus ambient RFR meet FCC guidelines.
(e) 
Demonstrate that the facility and site comply with this regulation.
(f) 
Demonstrate that the proposed sources of nonionizing electromagnetic radiation (NIER) will comply with the standards of the National Council of Radiation Protection (NCRP) and the Massachusetts Department of Health, whichever is stricter, or as otherwise required by law.
(g) 
Demonstrate that exposures from the electromagnetic field (EMF) measured at the site boundaries and property lines will be as low as reasonably achievable and are within limits of all applicable regulations.
(h) 
Demonstrate, for any proposed new tower, that the tower is essential for one or more of the following reasons:
[1] 
The planned equipment would exceed the structural capacity of existing and approved wireless communications services facilities or other technically feasible structures, considering existing and planned uses for those structures.
[2] 
The planned equipment would cause radio frequency interference with other existing or planned equipment, which cannot reasonably be prevented.
[3] 
Existing or approved wireless communications services facilities or other structures do not have space on which proposed equipment can be placed so it can function effectively and reasonably.
[4] 
Other technical reasons make it impracticable to place the equipment proposed by the applicant on existing facilities or structures.
[5] 
The property owner or owner of the existing tower, etc. or other structure refuses to allow such collocation.
(i) 
Document the cost of removal of the wireless communications services facility, including all equipment, tower structures, and related construction, without limitation, and for surrounding property restoration.
(5) 
The applicant shall provide a copy of the requests made by the applicant to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; and provide a written statement that the proposed facility complies with applicable regulations administered by the agency or that the facility is exempt from those regulations. Copies of the response from each agency shall also be provided. If such response is not received by the applicant within 60 days of their first request and within 30 days of their second request, the application will be considered complete. The applicant shall send any subsequently received agency statement, if any, to the SPGA.
(6) 
A letter from the applicant to the Town of Wakefield stating whether the applicant intends to lease excess space on the facility to other potential users at reasonable rental rates and on reasonable terms. The SPGA may modify this condition if the facility is attached to an existing structure. The letter shall indicate the number of collocations possible at the proposed facility and commit the facility owner and successors in interest to do the following:
(a) 
Respond in a timely, comprehensive manner to a request for information.
(b) 
Negotiate in good faith for shared use by third parties.
(c) 
Allow shared use if an applicant for shared use agrees in writing to pay reasonable rental charges or other consideration and to pay all costs of adapting the facility or existing users' equipment to accommodate a shared user without causing uneconomically correctable electromagnetic interference or causing electromagnetic radiation in excess of levels set by federal regulations and can otherwise agree on reasonable business terms and conditions for shared use of the facility.
(d) 
Respond to inquiries for shared use with the information required herein.
B. 
Between submittal and the date of advertisement of the public meeting, upon 14 days' notice which must be submitted to the SPGA in writing at a regular public meeting and published in a newspaper in general circulation in the Town of Wakefield, the applicant shall erect a suitable temporary demonstration structure at the site to the height of the proposed tower, if any. A suitable temporary demonstration structure shall be either an extended crane, a balloon of suitable size and color to be clearly visible from a distance of one mile or such other temporary structure meeting the approval of the SPGA and the Building Official of the Town of Wakefield. Such temporary demonstration structure shall remain in place for three consecutive days, one of which must be a weekend day, for at least eight daylight hours each day.
C. 
When a special permit is sought to collocate facilities on a common tower or site, the SPGA may, at it sole discretion, authorize reduction of submittal requirements. Applicants seeking relief under this provision shall submit to the SPGA, in advance of the filing of an application for a special permit, a specific written request for relief from submittal requirements. This written request shall describe, in sufficient detail for the SPGA's evaluation, the nature and extent of the proposed changes that will occur at the site and the specific submittal requirements that are requested to be waived.
A. 
Site plan approval and a special permit shall be granted by the SPGA in accordance with the Massachusetts General Laws, the provisions of this chapter for wireless communications services facilities and all other applicable bylaws, rules and regulations, ordinances and standards of any kind legally binding within the Town of Wakefield and the district in which the facility is proposed.
B. 
Any extension, addition of equipment or construction or installation of new or replacement towers or transmitters/receivers shall be subject to an amendment of the special permit, following the same procedures as for an original grant of a special permit.
A. 
The facility shall be located in accordance with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and FAA regulations in effect at the time of construction. Furthermore, the operation of the facility shall comply with all requirements of these agencies.
B. 
Irrespective of the all other setback requirements of this chapter, all towers shall be set back from all property lines by a distance that is at least equal to the height of the tower plus ten feet. For the purpose of this requirement and all other relevant requirements in this chapter, the height of the tower shall be measured from the average ground elevation at the perimeter of the tower foundation to the top of the highest element of the tower and of all components mounted on the tower, whichever is highest.
C. 
The distance from the tower to all buildings with a primary use which includes human occupancy shall be not less than the height of the tower plus 10 feet.
D. 
In reviewing a special permit application for a wireless services facility, the SPGA may reduce the tower setback requirements of § 190-90 and the limits on distance to buildings with a primary use that includes human occupancy by as much as 50% of the required distance, if it finds that a substantially better design will result from such reduction. In making such finding, the SPGA shall consider both the visual and safety impacts of the proposed use.
E. 
Eight-foot-high fencing shall be provided to control access to the base of any tower; such fencing shall be compatible with the character of the Town and the surrounding neighborhood and shall not include barbed wire or razor wire. Irrespective of fencing, towers shall be designed to prevent climbing by unauthorized personnel, nor shall there be any permanent climbing pegs within 30 feet of the ground on any tower.
F. 
The applicant shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the SPGA that the location of any tower is suitable and that the size and height are optimal to minimize impact, including visual impact, on the site, abutters, the neighborhood and the Town of Wakefield.
G. 
There shall be no signs, except for signs required by regulation, no trespassing signs and a sign identifying the owner and giving a telephone number where the owner can be reached on a twenty-four-hour basis and such other emergency and safety information as shall be deemed advisable. Expressly prohibited are signs providing any form of advertisement, whatsoever, as well as any signs that provide any information except that required by regulation or for safety and emergency, unless specifically provided herein. All signs shall comply with this chapter, unless required otherwise by regulation.
H. 
Accessory use structures shall be limited to one structure per user per tower, but shall not exceed ten structures per tower. Unless the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the SPGA that alternative arrangements would be more beneficial to the impact on the surrounding neighborhood, each accessory structure on a site with more than one accessory structure shall be connected to at least one other accessory structure by a common wall, and all accessory buildings shall be of similar architectural design and appearance. The architectural design and appearance shall complement the neighborhood. Unless the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the SPGA that a larger structure is essential, each accessory structure shall not exceed 400 square feet in plan nor 10 feet in height.
I. 
Site clearing shall be performed in a manner which will maximize preservation of natural beauty, conservation of natural resources, and visual shielding of the facility (including towers, if any) and will minimize marring and scarring of the landscape or silting of streams or other water resources.
J. 
The facility shall be provided with vegetative and landscaping screening of the base area as stipulated by the SPGA.
K. 
Ground-mounted equipment shall not generate noise in excess of 50 db at the property line.
L. 
Roof-mounted or side-mounted equipment shall not generate noise in excess of 50 db at the closest ground level at the base of the building.
M. 
No outside storage of vehicles, materials or waste shall be allowed, except for limited periods when the facility is undergoing additions, repair, service or renovation.
N. 
Visual impacts of the facility shall be minimized.
O. 
Whenever feasible, equipment shall be mounted on existing buildings or structures and designed and installed to blend into the appearance and architecture of the building or structure so as to maximize concealment and minimize disruption of the appearance of the building or structure.
P. 
Equipment, including but not limited to transmitters/receivers, accessory equipment and all related support components, mounted on existing buildings or structures shall be designed and installed to minimize visual impact and to maximize public safety.
Q. 
When it is not feasible to mount equipment on buildings or structures as provided in Subsection P above, equipment mounted on buildings shall be placed at a height and distance from the building features (such as the roof edge) so as to minimize, in the opinion of the SPGA, the visual impact on the surrounding area.
R. 
Equipment mounted on buildings shall be shielded from view using technologically suitable materials that are intended and designed to cause the equipment to blend to the maximum extent possible, in the opinion of the SPGA, with the building and its surroundings.
S. 
Equipment mounted on buildings and structures shall not project more than 10 feet above its mounting point on the building or structure, nor more than 10 feet above the height limit of the zoning district within which the facility is located, unless the equipment is entirely concealed within an existing building or structure.
T. 
To justify the installation of a tower, the applicant shall demonstrate that alternative sites on existing buildings, structures or towers technically are not possible to serve the intended "cell" area or that the costs to install and maintain the facility on technically feasible alternative sites are at least three times the cost to install and maintain the tower and the facility on the proposed site. Alternatively, the applicant may justify the installation of a tower if the applicant demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the SPGA, that installation of the proposed tower will result in a net decrease in impact on the community by the reduction or elimination of facilities elsewhere within the community.
U. 
The applicant shall demonstrate that proposed towers are of the minimum height necessary to accommodate the transmitter/receiver. No tower may extend more than 20 feet above the average building height or canopy height of trees, whichever is higher, in the area within 600 feet of the tower.
V. 
All towers shall be monopole in type. Lattice towers are prohibited, as are towers that require guy wires for support.
W. 
The color of all towers shall be as approved by the SPGA with the intent of minimizing the visual impact on the surrounding area.
X. 
Night lighting of towers shall be prohibited unless required by the FAA. Lighting shall be limited to that needed for emergencies and/or as required by the FAA.
Y. 
Siting of towers shall be such that the view of the tower from surrounding areas shall be as minimal as possible.
Z. 
Shared use of towers is encouraged. When technically not practical and more than one tower is to be placed on a site, towers shall be separated on the site so that one tower will not strike another if the support structure of one fails.
AA. 
Towers shall be designed to accommodate the maximum number of uses technologically practical.
BB. 
Transmitter/receiver arrays mounted on towers shall be of the minimum size and mounted as close to the tower as technically feasible.
A. 
The facility and its transmissions shall comply in all respects with the current standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Council for Radiation Protection (NCRP), or as otherwise required by law.
B. 
Facilities or their components, including but not limited to any and all transmitters/receivers, equipment, support structures, towers, fencing, and accessory structures, which cease to be used for a period of six months shall be removed within one year of cessation of use or when the facility becomes technically obsolete, whichever comes first. The applicant shall submit a written agreement to remove all components of the facility, without limit, at his own expense in such an event.
C. 
The owner shall maintain the facility in a safe manner. The owner shall maintain the facility such that its appearance does not degrade over time.
A. 
Insurance in a reasonable amount determined and approved by the SPGA shall be in force for the entire period that the facility is in place to cover damage from the structure, damage from transmissions and other site liabilities. At the SPGA's discretion, the SPGA may consult, at the applicant's expense, with up to three insurance companies that issue such insurance for the purpose of determining the amount of insurance that is reasonable. Annually, the owner shall file with the Building Official a certificate of insurance as proof of coverage.
B. 
Prior to issuance of a building permit, the applicant shall provide a financial security bond for the removal of the wireless communications services facility with the Town of Wakefield as the assignee, in an amount approved by the SPGA, but not less than twice the certified cost of said removal.
C. 
Annually, the holder of the special permit shall file with the Building Official certification demonstrating continuing compliance with the standards of the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, American National Standards Institute, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to the extent that standards of these organizations apply to the approved facility.
D. 
Every fifth year after construction is commenced, towers shall be inspected for structural integrity by a professional engineer registered in the State of Massachusetts and retained by the facility owner(s) and/or operator(s), and a copy of the inspection report shall be submitted to the Building Official within 14 days of its issuance.