City of Chicopee, MA
Hampden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Chicopee as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 12-17-2019 by Ord. No. 19-69]
The City finds that it is necessary and beneficial for the health, safety, and welfare of the community to regulate the development of small wireless facilities (SWF) while accommodating the communication needs of residents, businesses, and industries. SWFs shall be so designed and installed so as to minimize adverse visual effects through careful design and siting with an intent to preserve property values and the aesthetic character of Chicopee. To that end, this chapter seeks to maximize the use of existing towers, poles, and buildings to accommodate new SWF. This chapter applies to the placement and operation of small wireless facilities within the public rights-of-way, private rights-of-way, public and private property without regard to the type or owner of any structure to which they are affixed or attached. The requirements of this chapter are in addition to all other applicable federal, state, and local laws.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABANDONED
Cessation of all uses of an SWF for a period of 180 consecutive days or more. Where a wireless infrastructure provider has applied to place utility poles in the public right-of-way to support the collocation of small wireless facilities, and such collocation is not used by a wireless services provider to provide service within nine months after the date the application is approved, same shall be deemed abandoned.
ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, and the regulations promulgated thereunder.
ANTENNA
Apparatus designed for the purpose of emitting radiofrequency (RF) radiation, to be operated or operated from a fixed location for the transmission of writing, signs, signals, data, images, pictures, and sounds of all kinds, including the transmitting device and any on-site equipment, switches, wiring, cabling, power sources, shelters, or cabinets associated with that antenna and added to a tower, structure, or building as part of the original installation of the antenna.
APPLICABLE CODES
Massachusetts Building, Plumbing and Electrical Code, uniform building, fire, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical codes adopted by a recognized national code organization or local amendments to those codes, and the National Electric Code, National Electric Safety Code, and the rules, regulations and provisions of the Federal Communications Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and any other state or federal agency regulating wireless communications.
APPLICANT
Any person who submits an application and is or is acting on behalf of a wireless services provider or wireless infrastructure provider.
APPLICATION
A written special permit application form submitted by an applicant to the Chicopee City Council, to install or operate a small wireless facility within any right-of-way or in or on any building or structure, including a request for a permit to collocate small wireless facilities on an existing pole or wireless support structure; or a written request for installation of a new pole or wireless support structure for a new small wireless facility, as well as all required exhibits and submittals as required by the application form and the applicable fee for the review of such application.
BATCHED APPLICATION
Either multiple separate applications filed at the same time each for one or more sites or a single application covering multiple sites.
CITY UTILITY POLE
A utility pole owned by the City in the public right-of-way or a pole on City property but excluding utility poles owned by Chicopee Electric Light (CEL).
COLLOCATE or COLLOCATION
To install, mount, maintain, modify, operate, or replace an antenna on an existing tower, building, or structure for the purpose of transmitting or receiving radio frequency signals for communications purposes, whether or not there is an existing antenna on the structure.
CONCEALED FACILITY
A wireless facility that is not readily identifiable as a wireless facility and that is designed to be aesthetically compatible with existing and proposed building(s) and uses on a site or in the neighborhood or area. A concealed facility may have a secondary function. There are two types of concealed facilities:
A. 
Including but not limited to faux panels, parapets, windows, dormers or other architectural features that blend with an existing or proposed building or structure; and
B. 
A tower designed to resemble another structure that is common in the geographic region such as a traditional or decorative light standard or traffic signal or utility pole consistent in size with the height and girth of existing structures in the area.
FCC
The Federal Communications Commission of the United States.
FEE
A one-time charge paid to the City by the applicant with the application.
INTERFERENCE
The effect of unwanted energy due to one or a combination of emissions, radiations, or inductions upon reception in a radio communication system, manifested by any performance degradation, misinterpretation, or loss of information which could be extracted in the absence of such unwanted energy.
LAW
A federal, Massachusetts, or local statute, regulation, ordinance, order, policy, or rule.
PERMIT
A written authorization that must be obtained by the applicant from the SPGA to perform an action or initiate, continue, or complete installation of a small wireless facility.
PERSON
An individual, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association, trust, or other entity or organization.
PUBLIC SAFETY AGENCY
The functional division of the federal government, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City, any other unit of state or local government, or a special purpose district located in whole or in part within this commonwealth, that provides or has authority to provide firefighting, police, ambulance, medical, or other emergency services to respond to and manage emergency incidents.
RATE
A recurring charge paid by the applicant to the City.
RIGHT-OF-WAY
The area on, below, or above a public or private roadway, highway, street, public sidewalk, or alley dedicated for compatible use.
SMALL WIRELESS FACILITY
Facilities that meet each of the following conditions:
A. 
The facilities:
(1) 
Are mounted on structures 50 feet or less in height including their antennas as defined in 47 CFR 1.1320(d); or
(2) 
Are mounted on structures no more than 10% taller than other adjacent structures; or
(3) 
Do not extend existing structures on which they are located to a height of more than 50 feet or by more than 10% whichever is greater;
B. 
Each antenna associated with the deployment, excluding associated antenna equipment [as defined in the definition of antenna in 47 CFR 1.1320(d)], is no more than three cubic feet in volume;
C. 
All other wireless equipment associated with the structure, including the wireless equipment associated with the antenna and any preexisting associated equipment on the structure, is no more than 28 cubic feet in volume;
D. 
The facilities do not require antenna structure registration under part 17 of this chapter[1];
E. 
The facilities are not located on Tribal lands, as defined under 36 CFR 800.16(x); and
F. 
The facilities do not result in human exposure to radiofrequency radiation in excess of the applicable safety standards specified in 47 CFR 1.1307(b).
UTILITY POLE
A pole or similar structure that is used in whole or in part for electric distribution, lighting, traffic control, communications, or a similar function.
WIRELESS SUPPORT STRUCTURE
A freestanding structure, such as a monopole; tower, either guyed or self-supporting; billboard; or other existing or proposed structure designed to support or capable of supporting small wireless facilities. "Wireless support structure" does not include a utility pole.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 47 CFR Part 17.
A. 
Only small wireless facilities are permitted to be installed within a state or City right-of-way on new or existing utility poles (with permission from the pole owner) or wireless support structures. All small wireless facilities eligible for a special permit under this chapter shall not exceed the size dimensions for small wireless facilities as defined herein, and shall be, where possible, designed as concealed facilities and shall be subject to applicable development standards and procedures as required by local, state and federal laws and the terms and conditions of CEL, in cases involving utility poles owned by CEL.
B. 
New utility poles or wireless support structures shall be designed to match the design parameters established by the SPGA by regulation or, in the absence of such design guidance, match the size, girth and design of any existing utility poles or other vertical structures located in the surrounding area.
C. 
The applicant shall include with its application sufficient evidence, consistent with industry standards, to justify its requested placement.
D. 
Small wireless facilities must be placed in a right-of-way with residential or commercial uses on the opposite side of the right-of-way from such uses whenever possible. All small wireless facilities shall be located in such a way that they do not interfere with views from residential structures.
E. 
All small wireless facilities shall be located so as to minimize adverse visual effects on the landscape.
F. 
All small wireless facilities, either independently sited or mounted on or to existing buildings and structures, shall be camouflaged.
G. 
When a small wireless facility extends above the roof height of a building on which it is mounted, every effort shall be made to conceal every component within or behind existing architectural features to limit its visibility from public view.
H. 
All small wireless facility components mounted on a roof shall be stepped back from the front facade in order to limit its impact on the building silhouette and the public view.
I. 
The Chicopee City Council shall determine if sufficient area exists immediate to the proposed small wireless facility so that landscape improvements would be aesthetically beneficial it shall request a landscape plan from the applicant. Said plan will seek to screen or buffer the public view of the proposed small wireless facility.
J. 
Any small wireless facility shall be painted so as to visually blend into nearby vegetation or a light gray or light blue hue that blends with sky and clouds.
K. 
The Chicopee City Council may adopt other and further objective aesthetic and location criteria applicable to all applications submitted under this Chapter 277.
A. 
Each application must include the following:
(1) 
The application fee to the City for nonelectric utility pole attachments.
(2) 
A completed application cover sheet on the form available from the Chicopee Planning Department.
(3) 
The applicant's name, address, telephone number and email address.
(4) 
The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of anyone acting on behalf of the applicant with respect to the application.
(5) 
Detailed construction drawings and descriptions of the small wireless facility to be installed, whether mounted on poles or on the ground, or otherwise, including:
(a) 
Type of equipment.
(b) 
Specifications of equipment (including but not limited to dimensions and weight).
(c) 
Equipment mount type and material.
(d) 
Power source or sources for equipment, including necessary wires, cables, and conduit.
(e) 
Expected life of equipment.
(f) 
Coverage area of equipment, including:
[1] 
Number of antennas.
[2] 
Antenna model.
[3] 
Antenna length.
[4] 
RRU count and power.
[5] 
Antenna height.
[6] 
Typical coverage area radius.
(g) 
Call capacity of equipment, including:
[1] 
Total RRUs.
[2] 
Max bandwidth per RRU.
[3] 
MIMO per RRU.
[4] 
Backhaul rate per RRU.
(h) 
Hardening, including:
[1] 
If there is battery backup.
[2] 
If there is generator backup.
[3] 
If there are multiple fiber paths to switch.
(i) 
Rendering and elevation of equipment.
(6) 
Detailed map with locations of the poles or other facility on which equipment is to be located, including specific pole identification number, if applicable, and the areas it will service.
(7) 
Detailed map showing existing and proposed small wireless facility installations within 500 feet of the application site.
(8) 
Certification by a registered professional engineer that the pole/or location will safely support the proposed equipment.
(9) 
Proof of written consent of the pole or facility owner to the small wireless facility installation and attachment, such as copy of the agreement with such owner.
(10) 
Affidavit from a radio frequency engineer outlining the network/network service requirements in Chicopee and how the small wireless facility installation(s) address(es) that need. Such affidavit should characterize the current level of coverage and how the desired installations will change the current level of coverage, through or with coverage maps, including current and proposed coverage, including a breakdown of excellent, good and poor reception areas.
(11) 
Insurance certificate.
(12) 
Description as to why the desired location is superior to other similar locations, from a community perspective, including:
(a) 
Visual aspects.
(b) 
Proximity to single-family residences.
(13) 
Description of efforts to collocate the equipment on existing structures, poles, or towers which currently exist or are under construction. A good faith effort to collocate is required, and evidence of such efforts must be included within the application.
(14) 
An affidavit from the applicant which certifies that it will maintain the installations in good repair and according to FCC standards, and will remove any installation not in such good repair, or not in use, within 60 days of being no longer in good repair or no longer in use.
B. 
Submission requirements.
(1) 
No applications will be accepted by email. Applications delivered other than by hand will be deemed filed when they are received by the Chicopee Planning Department.
(2) 
All submitted drawings require a wet stamp or wet signature from the design professional.
(3) 
The applicant must pay for legal notices of the public hearing to local newspapers and abutters, as applicable. The applicant is responsible for submitting the abutters list for each location with the application.
(4) 
Twelve hard copies of the application and one electronic copy of the application must be submitted to the Chicopee City Council.
C. 
Action upon receipt.
(1) 
Upon receipt, the Planning Director shall: 1) date and time stamp the application as received; and 2) make a determination as to completeness of the application and notify the applicant, in writing, within 10 days, if the application is incomplete. If the applicant is notified that the application is incomplete, the time periods set forth in this chapter shall be tolled until such time as a complete application has been submitted.
(2) 
The Planning Department shall circulate a copy of the application to the following departments for comment and review: Building; DPW; City Council; Engineering; Health, Chicopee Electric Light; and any other department the Planning Director, in his or her sole discretion, determines.
(3) 
Written comments from the departments shall be submitted to the Planning Department within 20 days of circulation of the application.
(4) 
Once the application is deemed complete, and all comments have been received, the Planning Board will forward the same to the Chicopee City Council who shall schedule and hold a public hearing to consider the application.
D. 
Any material changes to an application, as determined by the SPGA in its sole discretion, shall constitute a new application for the purposes of the time standards. Where a changed or new application is submitted, the prior application shall be deemed withdrawn.
E. 
Approval process.
(1) 
The Chicopee City Council shall be the special permit granting authority (SPGA).
(2) 
No work relating to a small wireless facility shall be performed without a special permit(s) from the Chicopee City Council and a building permit from the Chicopee Building Inspector. Prior to submittal of a special permit application for a small wireless facility, the applicant shall obtain and submit all permits, licenses, and authorizations that are required for the installation and operation of the small wireless facility from other departments within the SPGA and persons other than the SPGA, including but not limited to private property owners, utilities such as Chicopee Electric Light and other governmental entities. An application that has not obtained all other necessary permits shall be deemed incomplete.
(3) 
The SPGA will review a small wireless facility special permit application and provide a determination of whether it is complete to the applicant in writing within 10 days from its submission date.
(4) 
The SPGA shall approve or deny an application within the time frame required by law, subject to extension by mutual agreement of the parties.
(5) 
The applicant is allowed to file a batched application for no more than 10 separate small wireless facilities.
(6) 
The SPGA may remove a small wireless facility from a batched application and treat separately small wireless facility locations for which incomplete information has been provided or that are denied. The SPGA will issue a separate permit for each location that is approved.
(7) 
Upon completion of the hearing, the SPGA may grant, grant with conditions, or deny the application, based on inadequate capacity of a City utility pole or mounting structure, safety concerns, reliability concerns, aesthetic standards or failure to meet applicable law or engineering standards.
(8) 
Any approval granted to an applicant shall be only for the specific applicant and application.
(9) 
If the SPGA denies an application, then the SPGA must:
(a) 
Document the basis for a denial, including the specific code provisions on which the denial was based;
(b) 
Send the documentation to the applicant on or before the day the SPGA denies an application.
Applicants for small wireless facilities shall submit all information and material as detailed within this chapter as part of a special permit application.
Any application proposing the installation of small wireless facilities within the City's historic district shall comply with the following requirements in addition to those generally applicable as required by the Historic Districts Commission:
A. 
Concealment techniques shall be designed to be consistent and harmonious with the nature and character of the historic district, including color, shape and size of proposed equipment.
B. 
New utility poles or wireless support structures shall be designed to match the size, girth, and design of any existing utility poles or other vertical structures located in the historic district right-of-way, i.e., decorative light poles.
C. 
A certificate of appropriateness, certificate of hardship, or certificate of nonapplicability must be obtained by the applicant before any application will be accepted by the Chicopee City Council.
D. 
This section shall not be construed to limit the City's enforcement of historic preservation in conformance with the requirements adopted pursuant to MGL c. 9, §§ 26 through 27C, c. 40C, or the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, 54 U.S.C. § 300101, et seq., and the regulations adopted to implement those laws.
A. 
Applicants for small wireless facilities shall certify through a qualified radio frequency (RF) engineer in their application that operation of the small wireless facilities, including under maximum licensed operating parameters, will not cause interference with the frequencies used by the City, commonwealth or any other public safety agency for public safety communications and shall further provide a list of radio frequencies the applicant will use at that location, which list shall be updated as needed. The applicant shall provide evidence of the certifying engineer's qualifications to make such certification.
B. 
Small wireless facilities shall be of the type and frequency that will not cause unacceptable interference with the City's and any other public safety agency's communications equipment; unacceptable interference will be determined by and measured by the City in accordance with industry standards and the FCC's regulations addressing unacceptable interference to public safety spectrum or any other spectrum licensed by the City or any other public safety agency. If a small wireless facility causes such interference, and the wireless services provider has been given written notice of the interference by the City or any other public safety agency, the owner or operator of such small wireless facility, at its own expense, shall take all reasonable steps necessary to correct and eliminate the interference, including, but not limited to, powering down the small wireless facility and later powering up the small wireless facility for intermittent testing, if necessary. The SPGA may terminate a permit for a small wireless facility based on such interference if the owner/operator is not making a good faith effort to remedy the problem in a manner consistent with the abatement and resolution procedures for interference with public safety spectrum established by the FCC including 47 CFR 22.970 through 47 CFR 22.973 and 47 CFR 90.672 through 47 CFR 90.675.
C. 
Any permit issued by the SPGA for a small wireless facility shall be subject to final testing for frequency and power output levels by the SPGA to determine whether the small wireless facility creates unacceptable interference to any public safety system. At the reasonable request of the SPGA, the small wireless facility provider shall engage the small wireless facility at maximum operating parameters for such period as required for the SPGA to conduct its testing for interference. Such testing shall be at the expense of the SPGA but shall be reimbursed by the applicant if the testing reveals unacceptable interference.
D. 
The owner/operator of a small wireless facility shall provide the City's Fire Chief a 24 hours/seven days a week (24/7) emergency contact list of not fewer than two persons responsible for the operation of the small wireless facility, including name, mobile/cellular phone and email address. The applicant shall update this list thereafter as necessary. If the contact list is not current, and no person can be reached during such circumstance, the City reserves the right to take whatever reasonable immediate action necessary to mitigate the emergency until such time as a responsible person for the small wireless facility is contacted. The City shall have no financial responsibility to the owner or operator of the small wireless facility or any service provider utilizing such small wireless facility arising from such actions.
A. 
An application for small wireless facilities shall be accompanied by the following fees payable to the City for nonelectric utility pole attachments:
(1) 
Application fee for one to five small wireless facilities: $500.
(2) 
Additional application fee for each small wireless facility greater than five SWFs: $100 per facility.
B. 
There is no application fee due for (i) routine maintenance of small wireless facilities; or (ii) the replacement of small wireless facilities with small wireless facilities that are substantially similar, the same size, or smaller than the original, provided that the owner/operator notifies the SPGA at least 10 days prior to the planned replacement and includes equipment specifications for the replacement of equipment consistent with the requirements of this chapter and application regulations. However, the applicant shall obtain any and all other permits and approvals, including but not limited to the permit(s) to work within rights-of-way for such activities that affect traffic patterns or require lane closures.
C. 
The SPGA reserves the right to require, in its sole discretion, a supplemental review by independent experts for any application for a small wireless facility under this chapter where the complexity of the analysis requires technical expertise, and/or for any request to vary a standard under this chapter. All the costs of such review shall be borne by the applicant, in addition to scheduled fees, pursuant to the provisions of MGL c. 44, § 53G, and SPGA Ordinance Ch. VIII, Chapter 5.
D. 
Whether based on the results of the supplemental review or the SPGA's own review, the SPGA may require changes to or supplementation of the applicant's submittal(s). The supplemental review may address any or all of the following:
(1) 
The accuracy and completeness of the application and any accompanying documentation;
(2) 
The applicability of analysis techniques and methodologies;
(3) 
The validity of certifications provided and conclusions reached; and/or
(4) 
Whether the proposed small wireless facility complies with the applicable approval criteria and standards of this chapter, and other applicable law.
An applicant who places a small wireless facility on a City nonelectric utility pole or any other structure within a right-of-way or upon any City property in accordance with this chapter shall execute a license agreement with the City and pay to the City an annual recurring rate of $270 per year per facility, or any such higher rate permitted under FCC rules or federal law and as set forth in the license agreement, for the use of such utility pole, or structure.
Each permit issued by the City Council and each license agreement for small wireless facilities shall be made upon the condition that the applicant agrees to the following conditions:
A. 
Indemnification. To the fullest extent allowed by law, both the wireless infrastructure provider and services provider (for this subsection, collectively referred to as "provider") constructing, installing, operating, repairing, maintaining and using a small wireless facility shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless the City, and its officials, agents, and employees from and against all suits, actions or claims of any character brought because of any injury or damage received or sustained by any person, persons or property arising out of, or resulting from, said provider's breach of any provision of law, or any asserted negligent act, error or omission of the provider, or its agents or employees, arising from or relating to its small wireless facility. The indemnifications required hereunder shall not be limited by reason of the specification of any particular insurance coverage for any permit. The provider's obligations under this provision shall not terminate with the expiration or termination of its permit, but shall survive it.
A. 
Nothing in this chapter authorizes a party to locate small wireless facilities on:
(1) 
Property owned by a private party, property that is not located within the rights-of-way, or a privately owned utility pole or wireless support structure within a right-of-way without the consent of the property owner.
(2) 
Property owned, leased, or controlled by any department or agency of the City used for public park, recreation or conservation purposes without the consent of the affected department or agency, excluding the placement of facilities on rights-of-way located in an affected department or agency's property; or
(3) 
Property owned by a rail carrier registered under federal law, MBTA Commuter Rail or any other public commuter rail service, or a utility, without the consent of the rail carrier, public commuter rail service, or utility.
B. 
Duration of special permit. Special permits issued under this Chapter 277 expire within one year of issuance, unless the Chicopee City Council issues a certificate of renewal of the special permit. The certificate shall be issued after the equipment owner submits an affidavit which shall list, by location, all small wireless facilities it owns within the City of Chicopee and shall certify: 1) each such installation remains in use; 2) each such installation remains covered by insurance; and 3) each such installation remains unchanged in dimension and RF frequency from the year before.
C. 
Any small wireless facilities that is abandoned shall be removed by the owner within 60 days of abandonment at the owner's expense. Failure to do so will cause the Chicopee City Council to refuse to issue a certificate of renewal to the equipment owner.