[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Whitesboro 12-11-2006 by L.L. No. 10-2006. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to establish predictable and balanced regulations for the siting and screening of personal wireless services antennas, towers, and accessory structures to accommodate the growth of such systems within the Village of Whitesboro while protecting the public against any adverse impacts on aesthetic resources, avoiding potential damage to adjacent properties from tower failure through structural standards and setback requirements, and reducing the number of towers needed to serve the community by encouraging collocation onto existing towers and buildings.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACCESSORY FACILITY OR STRUCTURE
- An accessory facility or structure serving or being used in conjunction with a telecommunications tower and located on the same lot as the telecommunications tower, including utility or transmission equipment storage sheds for cabinets.
- A system of electrical conductors that transmits or receives radio frequency signals. Such signals shall include, but not be limited to, radio, television, cellular, paging, personal communications services (PCS) and microwave communications.
- CONVENTIONAL TELEVISION OR RADIO ANTENNA
- Any receiving antenna other than a satellite antenna.
- DISH ANTENNA
- See "antenna."
- The Environmental Protection Agency.
- The Federal Aviation Administration.
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- A method of providing telecommunications bandwidth by means of a series of antennas, transmitters and reflectors on towers.
- SATELLITE ANTENNA
- Any parabolic dish, antenna or other device or equipment of whatever nature or kind, the primary purpose of which is to receive television, radio, light, microwave or other electronic signals, waves and/or communications from space satellites.
- The transmission and reception of audio, video, data and other information by wire, radio, light and other electronic or electromagnetic systems.
- TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITY
- Telecommunications towers and associated antennas and accessory structures.
- TELECOMMUNICATIONS TOWER
- A structure designed to support antennas. It includes, without limit, freestanding towers, guyed towers, monopoles and similar structures that employ camouflage technology. It is a structure intended for transmitting and/or receiving radio, television, cellular, paging, personal communications services (PCS), telephone or microwave communications, but excluding those used either for fire, police and other dispatch communications, or exclusively for private radio and television reception and private citizen's bands, amateur radio and other similar communications.
- Any tower, pole, windmill or other structure, whether attached to a building, guyed or freestanding, designed to be used for and/or for the support of any device for the transmission and/or reception of radio frequency signals, including, but not limited to, broadcast, shortwave, citizen's band, FM or AM television, microwave and any wind-driven devices, whether used for energy production or not.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 295, Zoning, of the Code of the Village of Whitesboro with regards to the issuance of special use permits in order to facilitate and expedite the handling of applications for the installation or modification of telecommunication facilities, the Village of Whitesboro Planning Board is hereby authorized to review and approve, approve with modifications or disapprove special use permits and site plans with respect to proposed installation or modification of telecommunication facilities within the Village of Whitesboro. The Planning Board shall have the authority to impose such reasonable conditions and restrictions as are directly related to and incidental to the proposed antenna, tower or accessory use.
No telecommunication antenna, tower nor accessory facility/structure shall hereafter be erected, changed or altered, except after obtaining a special use permit from the Planning Board of the Village of Whitesboro.
No special use permit or renewal thereof or modification of a current special use permit relating to a telecommunications facility shall be authorized by the Planning Board unless it finds that such telecommunications facility:
Is necessary to meet current or expected demands for service;
Conforms with all applicable regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal agencies;
Is considered a public utility in the State of New York;
Is designed and constructed in a manner which minimizes visual impact to the extent practical;
Complies with all other requirements of this chapter, unless expressly superseded herein;
Is the most appropriate site among those available within the technically feasible area for the location of a telecommunications facility;
When including the construction of a tower, such tower is designed to accommodate future shared use by at least one other telecommunications service provider. Any subsequent location of telecommunications equipment by other service providers on existing towers specifically designed for shared use shall not require a new or modified special permit if there would be no increase in the height of the tower. However, the additional equipment will require Village review.
Collocated/existing structure antennas. An antenna that is to be attached to an existing communications tower, smoke stack, water tower or other structure is permitted in all zoning districts. The antenna is permitted upon issuance of a building permit. The building permit application will include a structural analysis/report verifying the ability of the structure to handle the antenna. The height of the new antenna shall not extend above the height of the existing structure by more than 50 feet.
Noncollocated/new structure antennas. An antenna that will not be mounted on an existing structure, as defined above, or is more than 50 feet higher than the existing structure on which it is mounted is permitted as follows:
In all zoning districts a tower special use permit pursuant to the provisions hereof and the site plan review requirements of the Village of Whitesboro.
In addition to a State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) full environmental assessment form (EAF), the Planning Board may require a visual assessment form (visual EAF) as an addendum to the full EAF for telecommunications facilities proposed at key viewpoints in the community. The Planning Board may require submittal of a more detailed visual analysis based on the results of the visual EAF.
The tower must be set back a minimum of the height of the tower, plus 10% of the tower height, from all adjoining property lines, any existing building, and all public parking lots, roads/driveways as well as private roads/driveways on adjoining parcels.
The maximum height of a tower in all zoning districts is 200 feet. An area variance for height will be required from the Zoning Board of Appeals to exceed this height following initial approval by the Planning Board and subject to any requirements of the FAA.
All applicants for a tower special use permit shall make written application to the Planning Board. This application shall include:
Village supplied permit application form.
Proof of notification (certified mail return receipts to be given to the Village by the applicant) of all property owners within 500 feet of the boundaries of the property on which the tower is to be constructed.
Site plan application forms, including long-form EAF.
Site plan, in form and content acceptable to the Village, prepared to scale and in sufficient detail and accuracy, showing at a minimum:
The exact location of the proposed tower, together with guy wires and guy anchors, if applicable.
The maximum height of the proposed tower.
A detail of tower type (monopole, guyed, freestanding or other).
The color or colors of the tower.
The location, type and intensity of any lighting on the tower.
The property boundaries. (A copy of a property survey must also be provided.)
Proof of the landowner's consent if the applicant will not own the property. (A copy of a lease agreement must also be provided if the applicant will not own the property.)
The location of all structures on the property and all structures on any adjacent property within 50 feet of the property lines, together with the distance of these structures from the tower.
The names of adjacent landowners.
The location, nature and extent of any proposed fencing and landscaping or screening.
The location and nature of proposed utility easements and access road, if applicable.
Building elevations of accessory structures or immediately adjacent buildings.
Before and after propagation studies prepared by a qualified radio frequency engineer (signed and sealed by a professional engineer registered in the State of New York), demonstrating existing signal coverage, contrasted with the proposed signal coverage resulting from the proposed telecommunications facility.
A search ring prepared by a qualified radio frequency engineer (signed and sealed documents by a professional engineer registered in the State of New York) and overlaid on an appropriate background map demonstrating the area within which the telecommunications facility needs to be located in order to provide proper signal strength and coverage to the target cell. The applicant must be prepared to explain to the Planning Board why it selected the proposed site, discuss the availability or lack of availability of a suitable structure within the search ring which would have allowed for a collocated antenna(s), and to what extent the applicant explored locating the proposed tower in a more intensive use district. Correspondence with other telecommunications companies concerning collocation is part of this requirement.
The applicant's engineer shall certify that any such telecommunications tower and accessory equipment attached thereto meet or exceed applicable wind load requirements as prescribed by the applicable State of New York Uniform Building Code.
The Planning Board, upon reviewing the application, may request reasonable additional visual and aesthetic information as it deems appropriate on a case-by-case basis. Such additional information may include, among other things, enhanced landscaping plans, line-of-sight drawings and/or visual simulations from viewpoints selected by the Planning Board. Line-of-sight drawings and visual simulations are mandatory for applications in residential and agricultural zoning districts.
The following criteria will be considered by the Planning Board prior to the approval/denial of a request for a tower special use permit; the criteria listed may be used as a basis to impose reasonable conditions on the applicant:
The Planning Board may require that the proposed telecommunications facility be located in an alternate technologically feasible and available location. A guideline for the Village's preference, from most favorable to least favorable districts/property, is as follows:
A telecommunications facility which is proposed to be located on land owned by the Village of Whitesboro will be given priority consideration for approval of a special use permit by the Planning Board regardless of the zoning district within which it is located.
[Added 4-28-2008 by L.L. No. 4-2008]
Aesthetics. Telecommunications facilities shall be located and buffered to the maximum extent which is practical and technologically feasible to help ensure compatibility with surrounding land uses. In order to minimize any adverse aesthetic effect on neighboring residences to the extent possible, the Planning Board may impose reasonable conditions on the applicant, including the following:
The Planning Board may require a monopole or guyed tower (if sufficient land is available to the applicant) instead of a freestanding tower. Monopoles are a preferred design.
The Planning Board may require reasonable landscaping consisting of trees or shrubs to screen the base of the tower and/or screen the tower to the extent possible from adjacent residential property. Existing on-site trees and vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible.
Landscaping. Landscaping shall mitigate the visual impacts of a communication tower. Where adequate vegetation is not present, tower facilities shall be landscaped with a landscape buffer that effectively screens the view of the tower compound. The use of existing vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent practicable and may be used as a substitute for or in supplement towards meeting landscaping requirements.
Landscape buffers shall be a minimum of 10 feet in width and located outside the fenced perimeter of the tower compound.
A row of trees a minimum of eight feet tall (planted height) and a maximum of 20 feet apart shall be planted around the perimeter of the fence.
A continuous hedge at least 30 inches high at planting and capable of growing to at least 36 inches in height within 18 months shall be planted in front of the tree line referenced above.
All landscaping shall be of the evergreen variety and conform with landscape standards and approved by Planning Board.
If existing foliage is to be used as buffer, it must be labeled and incorporated into site plan and approved through Planning Board.
The Planning Board can request additional site plan requirements, such as specially designed towers, additional screening, greater setbacks and improved landscaping to address aesthetic concerns.
The Planning Board may require the applicant to show that it has made good-faith efforts to collocate on existing towers or other available and appropriate structures and/or to construct new towers near existing towers in an effort to consolidate visual disturbances.
Towers should be designed and sited as to avoid, whenever possible, application of FAA lighting and painting requirements. Towers shall not be artificially lighted except as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Towers shall be of a nonreflective finish in a noncontrasting blue, gray or black finish. The color should be selected so as to minimize the equipment's visibility. Any lights which may be required by the FAA shall not consist of strobe lights, unless specifically mandated by the FAA.
No tower shall contain any signs or advertising devices. A small sign on the fencing shall be plated to identify the ownership of the facility and a telephone number for emergencies. Warning signs with respect to tower shall also be permissible.
The applicant must submit a copy of its policy regarding collocation with other potential future applicants on the proposed tower. Such policy must allow collocation.
Radio-frequency effect. The Planning Board may impose a condition on the applicant that the communications antennas be operated only at Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated frequencies and power levels and/or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) technical exposure limits, and that the applicant provide competent documentation to support that maximum allowable frequencies, power levels and exposure limits for radiation will not be exceeded.
Traffic, access and safety.
A road turnaround and one parking space shall be provided to assure adequate emergency and service access. Maximum use of existing roads, public or private, shall be made. The use of public roadways or road rights-of-way for the siting of a tower's or antenna's accessory structures is prohibited.
All towers and guy anchors, if applicable, shall be enclosed by a fence not less than eight feet in height or otherwise sufficiently protected from trespassing or vandalism.
The applicant must comply with all applicable state and federal regulations, including, but not limited to, FAA and FCC regulations.
Removal of tower. The applicant shall agree to remove the tower if the telecommunications facility becomes obsolete or ceases to be used for its intended purpose for 12 consecutive months. The Planning Board shall require the applicant to provide a demolition bond (in an amount determined by the Planning Board based on the cost of removal) for purposes of removing the telecommunications facility in case the applicant fails to do so as required above. The applicant shall submit estimated costs for removal to the Planning Board.
Structural safety. During the application process and every three years after construction of the tower, the applicant/owner shall provide to the Codes Enforcement Officer a certification from a qualified, professional engineer, certifying that the tower meets applicable structural safety standards.
Inspection. The Village may, at any time, inspect any telecommunications tower, antenna, or other facility to ensure its structural integrity. If, upon such inspection, the Village's duly designated inspector determines that the facility is not structurally sound and that such facility constitutes a danger to persons or property, then upon notice being provided to the owner of the facility and/or the property upon which it is located, the owner(s) shall have 30 days to properly repair such facility. Failure to properly repair the facility within the said 30 days shall constitute cause for the removal of the facility at the owner's expense.
Insurance and hold harmless agreement. The applicant shall provide the Village with proof of liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and naming the Village of Whitesboro as an additional insured, which protects against losses due to personal injury or property damage resulting from the construction, operation, or collapse of the tower, antenna or accessory equipment. In addition to the insurance required, the person applying for a permit shall agree to execute and deliver to the Village Clerk of the Village of Whitesboro an indemnification and hold harmless agreement in which the person applying for the permit agrees to save and hold the Village of Whitesboro, its Board, agents or employees harmless from any and all liabilities of any kind or nature whatsoever which may arise as a result of the person being issued a permit as described herein, including, but not limited by, enumeration, reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs incurred by the Village in defending against any claim. Such hold harmless agreement shall be executed prior to the issuance of the permit.
Liability insurance. Liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 shall be maintained by the owner and operator of the facility until such facility is dismantled and removed from the parent site. Failure to maintain insurance coverage shall constitute a violation of this chapter and grounds for revocation of conditional use approval. Proof of same shall be supplied to the Planning Board upon application for permit.
Towers and antennas may be repaired and maintained without restriction.
The owner/applicant shall submit to the Planning Board a completed, written application and site plan. Upon receipt of such application and site plan, the Planning Board shall conduct a two-step review process. The Planning Board shall first determine whether the applicant qualifies for a special use permit. Then the Planning Board shall conduct site plan review in accordance with Chapter 295, Zoning.
Any application requiring a tower special use permit and any other approvals from another board (i.e., Zoning Board of Appeals) must receive Planning Board approval prior to any action by any other boards.
The Planning Board, in determining whether to issue a tower special use permit, shall follow the procedure set forth in Village Law § 7-725-b, entitled "Approval of Special Use Permits." In the event such statutory provisions are renumbered or recodified, the renumbered or recodified provisions shall apply and are incorporated herein by reference. In particular, the Planning Board shall conduct a public hearing within 62 days from the date an application is received, with notice of said hearing to be printed in a newspaper of general circulation in the Village at least five days prior to the date thereof. The Planning Board shall render its decision to issue the special use permit within 62 days after the hearing as now provided in Village Law § 7-725-b, Subdivision 6. The Planning Board shall also comply with the notice requirements to the County Planning Board and other bodies as well as compliance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act, all as provided in Subdivisions 7 and 8 of the aforesaid Village Law § 7-725-b.
If the Planning Board approves a special use permit, the Planning Board shall then conduct site plan review. Site plan review shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in Chapter 223, Site Plan Review, of the Code of the Village of Whitesboro.
The approval of the Planning Board shall be contingent on the receipt by the Village Board of a bond for the demolition of the telecommunications tower, and said bond shall be subject to the approval of the Planning Board and Village Attorney.
Any materials (i.e., proof of continued use of the tower) to be filed by the owner/applicant or any subsequent owner/operator of the communications tower shall be filed with the Codes Enforcement Officer of the Village of Whitesboro on an annual basis determined as of the date of issuance of the special permit. In the event any lease is assigned or a sublessee is added, a copy of such document shall be filed with the Village Clerk within 10 days of the execution of such document.
The Planning Board may waive or vary any requirements in this chapter for good cause shown.
This chapter is meant to control towers and similar facilities in the Village. Unless specifically referenced in this chapter, other sections of Chapter 295, Zoning, are intended to be inapplicable (such as height limitations normally required in the relevant zoning district). This chapter shall be deemed to supersede any current law/ordinance of the Village of Whitesboro. In the event of any conflict with any provision of an existing local law, including, but not limited to, Chapter 223, Site Plan Review, and Chapter 295, Zoning, the provisions of this chapter shall control.
Any facility receiving a tower special use permit that subsequently does not meet the requirements of that permit shall have its permit revoked, and the tower shall be removed within 90 days of notification by the Village.
Telecommunications facilities fees shall be as follows:
Tower special use permit: $2,500 application fee (includes site plan fee); plus any additional costs for outside consultants incurred by the Village for review of propagation studies, search ring and analysis, collocation possibilities, or the structural planned specification for the construction of the tower, or any other review deemed necessary by Village officials.
Building permit fee: $250 base fee (examination of plans and review); plus $10 per $1,000 value of total verified construction cost.