[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Geneva 12-8-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Chapter 114, Personal wireless telecommunications transmitting facilities, is hereby enacted.
This chapter of the Code of the Town of Geneva is hereby established which sets forth rules and regulations governing the placement and use of personal wireless telecommunications transmitting facilities in the Town of Geneva, Ontario County, New York.
The objectives of this chapter are to:
Provide standards for the safe provision of telecommunications consistent with applicable federal and state regulations.
Minimize the number of telecommunications towers in the town by encouraging shared use of existing and future towers and through use of existing buildings and structures.
Minimize adverse visual effects from telecommunications facilities by requiring careful siting, visual impact assessment and appropriate screening.
Encourage the use of areas within the town which are most suitable for the location of telecommunications facilities and which protect the natural features and aesthetic character of the town. These areas are characterized by high elevations within the town, are sparsely populated, have limited visibility from the most heavily traveled roads within the town and are covered by mature climax forest cover to screen visibility of the telecommunications facilities other than the upper portion of the tower from adjacent properties.
Identify mitigating measures which protect the natural features and aesthetic character of the Town to reduce the impact of telecommunications facilities which, because of engineering necessity, must be located outside of those areas designated as preferred herein in order to provide a service as a public utility or commercial broadcaster to the town and surrounding areas.
Provide for the general health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Town of Geneva and surrounding areas served by telecommunications facilities operated from within the Town of Geneva by ensuring the constant, uninterrupted provision of telecommunications by certified public utilities during times of local and regional power outages.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACCESSORY TELECOMMUNICATIONS STRUCTURE
- An accessory use or structure serving or being used in conjunction with a telecommunications facility or tower and located on the same lot as the telecommunications facility or tower. Examples of such structures include utility or transmission equipment, storage sheds or cabinets, security fences and guys and anchors.
- A system of electrical conductors that transmit or receive radio frequency signals. The frequency of these signals generally range from 10 hertz to 300,000 megahertz. Such signals shall include but not be limited to radio, television, cellular, paging, personal communications systems (PCS) and microwave communications. All antennas used in one function shall be considered as one antenna. Antennas, as used in this section, shall not include privately owned antennas designed to receive radio, television or other telecommunications signals that are attached to private homes or businesses so long as they are designed only to receive signals and that the same signal has not been retransmitted or that the antenna is not used for transmission purposes.
- ANTENNA, COLLOCATED
- Telecommunications facilities which utilize existing towers, buildings or other structures for placement of antenna(s) and which do not require construction of a new tower.
- ESSENTIAL SERVICES
- The erection, construction, alteration or maintenance by public utilities, as they may be defined from time to time by the courts, or any governmental department or commission of underground or overhead gas, electrical or water transmission, distribution, supply or disposal systems, including poles, wires, drains, sewers, pipes, conduits, cables, towers, fire alarm boxes, police call boxes, traffic signals, hydrants and other similar equipment and accessories in connection therewith; or personal wireless telecommunications transmitting facilities reasonably necessary for the furnishing of adequate service by such public utility, municipality or other governmental agency for the public health, safety or general welfare.
- TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES, PERSONAL WIRELESS
- Towers and/or antennas and accessory structures used in connection with the provision of cellular telephone service, personal communications services (PCS), paging services, radio and television broadcast services and similar broadcast services which have been defined by the courts to be essential services and structures.
- A structure designed to support antennas. it includes, without limit, freestanding towers, guyed towers, monopoles and similar structures which employ camouflage technology.
- TOWER, COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATION
- Includes any structure or use, whether regulated by a governmental agency or not, which transmits or receives information for profit and cannot be considered for public use.
- TOWER, PRIVATE COMMUNICATION
- Includes any structure used for ham, television, radio, telephone and similar transmitters and receivers used for private entertainment and not-for-profit voluntary applications.
The Planning Board may approve a site plan for a telecommunications facility to be erected and maintained on a parcel of land located in the A (Agricultural), B-1, B-2 and I (Industrial) Districts, provided that the following standards and provisions are maintained:
Telecommunications facilities comprised of collocated antennas (and accessory structures) shall be permitted on an existing tower or structure in any of the zoning districts listed above, upon the issuance of a site plan approval by the Planning Board. Where collocated antennas exist, the period of approval for the collocated antenna shall be five years or the authorized franchise period remaining on the permit from the Federal Communications Commission, whichever time period is less.
Telecommunications facilities requiring construction of a new tower shall require the following permits and/or approvals:
The minimum lot size shall be two acres.
Not more than one tower shall be permitted on any parcel of land.
The minimum setback for each tower from any property line shall be the height of the tower to be erected plus 20 feet.
No tower shall exceed 300 feet above finished grade without evidence that an additional tower located within the cell area will not provide adequate coverage to at least 90% of the population within said cell.
No tower shall be erected within a federal or state freshwater wetland, within a designated flood zone or on a slope greater than 15%.
Any cutting of trees which exceed four inches in diameter, measured at a height of four feet above ground, to provide for the placement of a tower, shall be detailed in a site plan for review by the Planning Board. Clear-cutting of trees beyond what is deemed necessary by the Planning Board to install and maintain the tower shall be prohibited.
The tower shall be designed to withstand seventy-mile-per-hour wind gusts and must meet New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code standards.
A minimum radius of 2,000 feet must be maintained between any proposed tower and any existing tower, whether located in the Town of Geneva or in an adjacent municipality.
All towers shall be enclosed by a fence not less than eight feet in height above ground level with adequate security measures along the top of the fencing to deter vandalism.
No tower shall contain any signage that is larger than two square feet except that signage shall be placed upon the premises on all approachable sides that shall indicate in clear and readable form that it is unsafe to enter the property by unauthorized persons, and the same shall give the name and address of the owner of the tower and the tower site identification as well as the current emergency telephone number for Ontario County.
Illumination of any tower or accessory structure shall be reviewed by the Planning Board unless required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The tower and all attachments, antennas and accessory equipment and structures shall either be a galvanized finish or painted gray above the surrounding tree line and painted gray, green, black or a similar color at or below the tree line and shall be designed to blend into the natural surroundings below the surrounding tree line unless other colors are mandated by the FAA for the tower.
All tower guys shall be designed to provide ice shattering.
Each personal wireless telecommunications facility base and accessory structure(s) shall be adequately screened from any adjacent public right-of-way. To accomplish this screening, at least one row of native evergreen shrubs, or other screening acceptable to the Planning Board which is capable of forming a continuous hedge at least 10 feet in height, within two years of planting, shall be required and maintained.
All utility connections shall, to the greatest extent practical, be buried. This requirement may be waived, in whole or in part, by the Planning Board, if, in its opinion, such underground facilities would be impractical due to natural conditions.
The applicant shall comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. Any determinations by the FCC that radio emissions exceed permitted FCC standards shall immediately terminate the application.
Unless specified elsewhere in these regulations, a site plan approval for the erection and maintenance of a communications tower shall be for a maximum of two years. Such site plan shall be considered for renewal based upon the terms and conditions imposed with the original permit. Where compliance has been shown, the Planning Board may issue the site plan approval for an additional two-year period.
In the event that a communication tower is no longer used for the purpose specified in the application or the communications facility ceases operation for a period of 90 days, such tower, structures or facilities shall be dismantled and removed from the site within 30 days of receipt of written notice from the Code Enforcement Officer. The applicant shall be required to restore the site to the condition then existing on the approval date of the initial special use permit, absent grading and plantings required herein.
The applicant shall provide an automatically renewing letter of credit to the Town of Geneva which shall be in an amount adequate to guarantee that the tower and related site improvements are built, maintained and removed in accordance with the conditions imposed by the Town of Geneva and the site plan. Said letter of credit shall be in a form and of a sufficient amount which is subject to approval of the Town Attorney. The Town Attorney shall establish an amount of security upon consultation with the Town Engineer.
All facilities shall have a backup source of power suitable for sustaining uninterrupted service to the public during periods of power outages. The Planning Board shall require either a power generator or battery pack source of energy capable of sustaining 24 hours of service.
All facilities shall allow shared use of emergency communications equipment, at no charge, provided that the equipment and antennas to be added to the tower do not interfere with the existing equipment or overload the design of the tower.
Each tower constructed shall be designed to accommodate up to three telecommunications providers.
Accessways shall make maximum use of existing public or private roads to the extent practical. New accessways constructed solely for telecommunications facilities do not have to be improved to meet the road construction standards adopted by the Town of Geneva. However, accessways shall be suitably improved to the satisfaction of the Planning Board in order to accommodate access for emergency vehicles. New accessways shall be at least 20 but no more than 30 feet wide and closely follow natural contours to assure minimal visual disturbance and reduce soil erosion potential.
Driveways and parking lots.
Parking areas shall be sufficient to accommodate the greatest number of service vehicles expected on the premises at any one time.
Driveways or parking areas shall provide adequate interior turnaround, such that service vehicles will not have to back out onto a public thoroughfare.
Equipment or vehicles not used in direct support, renovation, additions or repair of any telecommunications facility shall not be stored or parked on the facility site.
Accessory equipment may be located within an existing building, or in a newly constructed building, limited to 400 square feet in gross floor area per collocator.
Each site plan application for a personal wireless telecommunications facility shall be accompanied by a plan which shall reference all existing personal wireless telecommunications facilities in the applicant's Town of Geneva inventory, any such facilities in the abutting towns or City of Geneva which provide service to areas within the Town of Geneva and any changes proposed within the following twenty-four-month period, including plans for new locations and the discontinuance or relocation of existing personal wireless telecommunications facilities.
Additional prerequisites for the Planning Board to consider prior to approving a site plan for personal wireless telecommunications facilities:
A report from a professional engineer which shall:
Describe the need in the town for the proposed structure, its installation and use.
Describe the appropriateness of the proposed site, including factors such as the following:
Availability of alternative, less intrusive sites, or opportunities for collocation.
Physical features and the general character, present and probably future use and density of development in the neighborhood.
Distance from existing and planned residential development and public rights-of-way.
Suitability and adaptability of the site for the proposed structure; considering, for example, the topography, natural buffers, screening and fencing.
Size of the site chosen for the proposed facilities, keeping in mind a parcel with an unoccupied area of sufficient size so that all portions of the site could accommodate a toppled tower.
Noise, glare, vibration, electrical disturbance or other objectionable consequences of the proposed installation.
Describe the effect of the proposed facilities and use on the other properties in the neighborhood, whether such installation or use will materially affect the value, use or enjoyment of neighboring properties.
Describe the geographic coordinates of the facilities as further defined on the applicant's FCC license application (NAD-27 and NAD-83).
Demonstrate that the tower is structurally sound.
Describe how many and what kinds of antennas are proposed and how many and what kinds of antennas are possible on the tower.
Demonstrate that the site can contain on site substantially all ice-fall or debris from tower failure.
Include a copy of the applicant's FCC construction permit, including any requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Include a copy of the certificate of need issued by the Public Service Commission.
Include a letter of intent committing the tower owner to negotiate in good faith for shares use by third parties in the future. This letter, which shall be filed with the Code Enforcement Officer prior to the approval of a site plan by the Planning Board, shall commit the tower owner and his or her successors in interest to:
Respond in a timely manner to a request for information from a potential shared-use or collocation antenna.
Negotiate in good faith for shared use by third parties.
Allow shared use if an applicant agrees in writing to pay reasonable charges.
Make no more than a reasonable charge for shared use, based upon generally acceptable accounting principles.
Include evidence that existing facilities do not have space on which planned equipment can be placed so it can function effectively. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
The applicant shall contact the owners of all existing or approved towers.
The applicant shall provide each contacted owner with the engineer's report required herein.
The applicant shall request each contacted owner to assess the following:
Whether the existing tower could accommodate the antenna to be attached to the proposed tower without causing structural instability or electromagnetic interference.
If the antenna cannot be accommodated, assess whether the existing tower could be structurally strengthened or whether the antennas and related equipment could be protected from interference.
Whether the owner is willing to make space available.
The projected cost of shared use.
Include a complete environmental assessment and visual addendum which includes:
A site plan map shall be prepared, acceptable in form and content to the Planning Board, which shall be prepared to scale and in sufficient detail and accuracy and which shall show the following:
The location of property lines and permanent easements.
The location of the communications tower, together with guy wires, guy anchors and accessory site features such as building, access, power, telephone and landscaping of the site.
A side elevation or other sketch of the communications tower showing the proposed antennas.
The locations of all structures on the property and on any adjacent property within 10 feet of the property line, together with the distance of these structures to the proposed communications tower.
The names of adjacent landowners.
The location, nature and extent of any proposed fencing, utility easements and access road.
A view shed map or visual simulation showing the view from surrounding properties of the proposed communications tower and antennas.