Town of Southold, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 11-12-1997 by L.L. No. 26-1997; amended 12-8-1998 by L.L. No. 25-1998; 2-24-2009 by L.L. No. 4-2009; 10-20-2009 by L.L. No. 13-2009; 7-13-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
It is the express purpose of this article to minimize the visual and environmental impacts of wireless communication facilities while protecting the health, safety and welfare of Southold's citizens and allowing wireless service providers to meet their technological and service objectives. In addition, the regulation of wireless facilities, including the type of structure, is intended to protect the scenic and aesthetic qualities of the Town of Southold. This article allows wireless communication facilities in certain preferred locations to be reviewed and approved in keeping with the Town's existing zoning and historic development patterns, including the size and spacing of structures.
The regulations of this article shall govern and control the erection, enlargement, expansion, alteration, operation, maintenance, relocation and removal of all wireless communication facilities. The regulations of this article relate to the location and design of these facilities and shall be in addition to the provisions of the Southold Building and Zoning Codes and any other federal, state or local laws or Federal Communication Commission (FCC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or other regulations pertaining to such facilities. Nothing herein shall be construed to, apply to, prohibit, regulate or otherwise affect the erection, maintenance or utilization of antennas or support structures by those licensed by the Federal Communications Commission pursuant to Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 97, to operate amateur radio stations, or satellite antennas that are used for individual business or residential voice, data, or video communications.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below:
ANTENNA
Any transmitting or receiving device, including whip (omnidirectional antenna), panel (directional antenna), disc (parabolic antenna) or similar device, mounted in or on a tower, monopole, building or structure and used in communications that radiate or capture electromagnetic waves, digital signals, analog signal, radio frequencies (excluding radar signals), wireless telecommunications signals or other communications signals.
ANTENNA SUPPORT STRUCTURE
Any structure that is designed and constructed primarily for the purpose of supporting one or more antennas for wireless telephone, television, radio and similar communication purposes, including monopoles. Lattice and guyed towers are not permitted antenna support structures. The term includes radio and television transmission towers, microwave towers, common-carrier towers, cellular telephone towers, camouflaged tower structures, and the like. The term includes the structure and any support thereto. The term does not include wireless facilities located in or on existing buildings or structures that previously existed or are being constructed for a primary purpose other than a wireless facility, e.g., water tower, electric utility pole, or church steeple.
BASE STATION EQUIPMENT
Equipment integral to the operation of an antenna system. Base station equipment typically includes, but is not limited to, communications equipment cabinet/shelter, backup power supplies, generators, electric and telecommunications backboards, wiring, grounding loops, equipment enclosures, security fencing and lighting.
CO-LOCATION
The use of a single mount on the ground by more than one provider (vertical co-location) and/or several mounts on an existing tower, building or structure by more than one carrier for the purpose of transmitting and/or receiving radio frequency signals for communications purposes.
EQUIPMENT SHELTER
An enclosed structure associated with the mount within which is housed the base station equipment for a wireless communications facility.
FALL ZONE
The area on the ground within a prescribed radius from the base of a wireless communications facility. The fall zone is the area within which there might be a potential hazard from falling debris or collapsing material, including the antenna support structure.
GUYED ANTENNA SUPPORT STRUCTURE
An antenna support structure that is supported, in whole or in part, by guy wires and ground anchors.
HEIGHT
When referring to a tower or other antenna support structure, the height is the distance from the top of the structure at its highest point, including antennas, lightning protection devices or any other apparatus attached to the top of the antenna support structure, to the base of the structure, measured in feet above ground level (AGL). Absolute height is the distance from the top of the structure, including all attachments, to the height of mean sea level (MSL).
LATTICE ANTENNA SUPPORT STRUCTURE
An antenna support structure that has open-framed supports on three or four sides and is constructed without guy wires and ground anchors.
MODIFICATION
The addition, removal, or change of any of the physical and visually discernible components or aspects of a wireless facility, such as antennas, cabling, radios, equipment shelters, landscaping, fencing, utility feeds, changing the color or materials of any visually discernible components, vehicular access, parking and/or an upgrade or replacement of the equipment. Adding a new wireless carrier or service provider (co-location) to a wireless communications tower or site is a modification. Modifications also include: extending the height of the antenna support structure above its current height, changing the footprint of the structure, expansion of the base station equipment or compound area, addition of antennas to an existing carrier's antenna array, re-orientation or relocation of existing antennas, changes affecting the operating frequencies, effective radiated power or number of operating channels. A modification shall not include ordinary maintenance, as defined herein.
MONOPOLE
A freestanding antenna support structure consisting of a single pole, without guy wires or ground anchors.
MOUNT
The structure or surface upon which antennas are mounted and/or the location of the antenna, e.g.:
A. 
Mounted on the roof of a building.
B. 
Mounted on the side of a building.
C. 
Mounted on a structure other than a building.
D. 
Mounted very close on a building or structure so that the profile of the antenna(s) is not readily apparent.
E. 
Mounted within a building or other structure so that the antennas are not visible from the outside.
F. 
Mounted on the ground.
ORDINARY MAINTENANCE
Work done to an existing wireless telecommunications facility and antenna support structure for the purpose of maintaining them in good operating condition. Ordinary maintenance includes inspections and testing to maintain functionality, aesthetic and structural integrity, and involves the normal repair of a wireless facility including the like-for-like replacement of damaged or defective components without otherwise adding, removing, or substantially changing anything and therefore does not include modifications.
RADIO FREQUENCY (RF) EMISSIONS OR RADIATION
The electromagnetic field of radiation emitted by wireless antennas.
RADIO FREQUENCY (RF) PROFESSIONAL
A person who specializes in the study of radio frequency engineering and has expertise in radio communication facilities.
RADIO FREQUENCY (RF) SIGNAL
The actual beam or radio waves sent and received by a wireless facility. A signal is the deliberate product of a wireless antenna. The RF radiation is the by-product.
WIRELESS CARRIER
A company that provides wireless telecommunications services.
WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITY
Antenna or antenna support structure and base equipment, either individually or together, including permanent or temporary movable facilities (i.e., wireless facilities mounted on vehicles, boats or other mobile structures) used for the provision of any wireless service.
WIRELESS SERVICES
Commercial mobile services, unlicensed wireless services, and common-carrier wireless exchange services, including, but not limited to, voice, data, images or other information, cellular telephone service, personal communications service (PCS), enhanced specialized mobile radio (ESMR) service, and paging service.
A. 
No wireless communication facility shall be used, erected or altered in the Town of Southold except in accordance with the provisions of this article and any other applicable sections of the Town Code.
B. 
All wireless communication facilities, and modifications to such facilities (as defined in § 280-69) shall require a building permit, site plan approval, and special exception approval, except those meeting certain requirements as stated in § 280-71A(2) and § 280-71B(2), and except in cases of ordinary maintenance as defined in § 280-69.
C. 
No new antenna support structures may be constructed without a carrier licensed by the FCC as a provider. An FCC-licensed provider of wireless communications services must be the applicant or the co-applicant for any proposed new wireless communication facility, co-location or modification.
D. 
Location of wireless facilities.
(1) 
Applicants for wireless communications facilities shall locate, site and erect said wireless facilities in accordance with the following priorities, of the lowest priority.
(a) 
On an existing antenna support structure or other structures on Town-owned properties, including the right-of-way.
(b) 
On an existing antenna support structure or other structures on other property in the Town.
(c) 
A new antenna support structure on Town-owned properties.
(d) 
A new antenna support structure on properties in the LI or LIO Zoning Districts.
(e) 
A new antenna support structure on properties in the MI, MII, B or HB Zoning Districts.
(f) 
A new antenna support structure on properties in the AC, R-40, R-80, R-120, R-200, R-400, LB, RO, RR, HD or AHD Zoning Districts.
(2) 
If the proposed site is not proposed for the highest priority listed above, the applicant shall submit a written report demonstrating the applicant's review of the above locations in order of priority, demonstrating the technological reason for the site selection. If appropriate, based on selecting a site of lower priority, a detailed written explanation as to why sites of a higher priority were not selected shall be included with the application. The applicant seeking such an exception must satisfactorily demonstrate the reason or reasons why such a permit should be granted for the proposed site, and the hardship that would be incurred by the applicant if the permit were not granted for the proposed site.
(3) 
An applicant may not bypass sites of higher priority by stating the site proposed is the only site leased or selected. An application shall address co-location as an option. If such option is not proposed, the applicant must explain to the reasonable satisfaction of the Planning Board why co-location is commercially or otherwise impracticable. Agreements between providers limiting or prohibiting co-location shall not be a valid basis for any claim of commercial impracticability or hardship.
(4) 
Notwithstanding the priorities above, the Planning Board may, if satisfied with the explanation provided by the applicant, approve any site located within an area in the above list of priorities, provided that the Planning Board finds that the proposed site is in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the Town and its inhabitants and will not have a deleterious effect on the nature and character of the community and neighborhood.
(5) 
Notwithstanding that a potential site may be situated in an area of highest priority or highest available priority, the Planning Board may also disapprove an application for any of the following reasons:
(a) 
Conflict with safety and safety-related codes and requirements;
(b) 
Conflict with the historic nature or character of a neighborhood or historical district;
(c) 
The use or construction of wireless facilities which is contrary to an already-stated purpose of a specific zoning or land use designation;
(d) 
The placement and location of wireless facilities which would create an unacceptable risk, or the reasonable probability of such, to residents, the public, employees and agents of the Town, or employees of the service provider or other service providers;
(e) 
Conflicts with the provisions of this chapter.
E. 
Guyed or lattice antenna support structures are prohibited.
F. 
Antenna support structures shall not be located in the following areas without a permit from all jurisdictional agencies:
(1) 
Wetlands, tidal and freshwater.
(2) 
Land above high groundwater (within 10 feet of the surface).
(3) 
Lands purchased with Community Preservation Funds.
(4) 
Coastal erosion hazard areas.
(5) 
Designated parkland.
G. 
Fall zones. An antenna support structure must include an area surrounding it that is free of other structures and areas where people congregate, except the base equipment, with a radius equal to a distance of two times the height of the structure. A smaller fall zone may be allowed if supported by a report submitted by a qualified structural engineer. The structural engineer's report shall be submitted to and reviewed by the Planning Board and corroborated by an independent consultant hired by the Town that demonstrates that a smaller fall zone is appropriate and safe. The fall zone of an antenna support structure must not include areas where people congregate, and must be clear of all structures except the base station equipment.
H. 
Federal aviation regulations. All wireless facilities shall comply with applicable airport and/or air space hazard and/or obstruction regulations. Any facility that would be classified as an obstruction or hazard under current federal aviation regulations or would otherwise interfere with the operation of radio navigation aids, communications and/or airport operations is prohibited.
I. 
Antenna support structures in the LI, LIO, MI, MII, B, and HB Zoning Districts are subject to the following restrictions:
(1) 
Minimum lot size: in accordance with the bulk schedule for each zone.
(2) 
Maximum height: 80 feet.
(3) 
Minimum distance of all wireless equipment to adjacent residential property lines or streets shall be no less than 500 feet.
J. 
Antenna support structures permitted in AC, R-40, R-80, R-120, R-200, R-400, LB, RO, RR, HD, or AHD Zoning Districts are subject to the following conditions (in addition to any other applicable conditions):
(1) 
Minimum area surrounding the proposed location: 200,000 square feet of contiguous vacant land restricted from future residential development by deed for the duration of the property's use for the wireless facility; and
(2) 
Maximum height: 45 feet; and
(3) 
The structure is a monopole with interior-mounted antennas, or a suitable unobtrusive camouflage structure; and
(4) 
The structure is screened from view from surrounding properties by dense vegetation and trees, either planted or existing, and meeting the site design appearance criteria for residential zones in Subsection N; and
(5) 
Noise from base equipment, including any backup generator, measures less than 45dB at all adjacent property lines; and
(6) 
Minimum distance of all wireless equipment to adjacent residential property lines or street shall be no less than 500 feet.
K. 
Radio emissions must fall within the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits established by the FCC.
(1) 
A power density analysis of the radio emissions for the proposed wireless communication facility must be provided by the applicant. The power density analysis shall be prepared and signed by a qualified professional specializing in radio communication facilities.
(2) 
The results from the analysis must clearly show that the power density levels of the electromagnetic energy generated from the proposed facility at the nearest point(s) of public access and the point(s) of greatest power density (if other than the nearest point of public access) are within the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits established by the FCC which are in effect at the time of the application.
(3) 
The power density analysis must be based on the most recent edition of FCC Office of Engineering and Technology Bulletin No. 65, must cite the specific formulas and assumptions used and must show all calculations, and must include simple sketches showing the spatial relationships between the facility and the points of interest. If the wireless communication facility would be co-located with an existing facility, or is designed for future expansion or co-location, the cumulative effects of all emitters now on, or likely to be on, the facility in the future must also be analyzed.
(4) 
The power density analysis shall be based on the assumption that all antennas mounted on the proposed facility are simultaneously transmitting radio energy on all channels at a power level equal to the maximum transmitter power rating specified by the manufacturer.
(5) 
The conclusions of the power density analysis must be corroborated by an independent radio frequency engineer retained by the Town to provide such determinations.
L. 
At the request of the Building Inspector, owners of wireless facilities shall provide a structural inspection report prepared by a structural engineer which verifies the structural integrity of the wireless facility and any associated antenna support structures.
M. 
No antenna support structure shall be constructed at, or remain at, a height that is taller than that required by installed and operational antennas.
N. 
Site design standards. All wireless facilities, including co-locations, shall be the least visually obtrusive design possible that also permits the applicant to achieve its service needs. To that end, the following design standards shall apply to all wireless communication facilities installed or constructed pursuant to the terms of this chapter:
(1) 
Setbacks. Antenna support structures and equipment facilities shall adhere to the setbacks for principal uses in the Bulk Schedule applicable to the zone in which the structures are located, unless otherwise indicated elsewhere in this chapter.
(2) 
Signs. Signs shall not be permitted on facilities except for signs displaying contact information and safety instructions, which are required. Safety signs shall be in accordance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for radio frequency radiation warning signs. Contact signs shall identify all service providers located on the facility and shall include normal and emergency contact information for each. Such signs shall not exceed five square feet in surface area.
(3) 
Base station equipment shelter. The base station equipment shelter shall be constructed with a finish similar to that of adjacent structures on the property and integrated into the architectural style. Any newly constructed base equipment shelter shall be located in accordance with the minimum height and yard requirements of the zoning district applicable to the site, and up to two adjacent off-street parking spaces may be provided for service vehicles. Notwithstanding the foregoing, base equipment related to interior-mounted wireless facilities shall be located in an area that is satisfactory to the Planning Board upon consideration of impacts on adjacent properties and minimizing visual impacts.
(4) 
Base equipment landscaping. A screen of evergreen trees shall be planted outside the fence of the base equipment area or shelter to provide a visual screen or buffer for adjoining private properties and the public right-of-way or other vantage points accessible to the public. The screen shall consist of a double row of evergreen shrubs and trees that are of sufficient density and height to immediately screen the base equipment from view. Required front yard setback areas shall be landscaped and include shrubs and trees. Survivability of the landscaping shall be guaranteed and maintained by the applicant for the life of the installation.
(5) 
Site lighting. The lighting permitted shall be the minimum required to protect the public welfare. Facilities sited on existing developed sites shall be incorporated into the lighting plans of those sites. Outside lighting shall use fully shielded fixtures so that the light source is not visible from beyond the property line, and no light is reflected or shone towards the sky, except in the case of structures required to follow FAA guidelines for safety lighting.
All wireless communication facilities, and modifications to such facilities (as defined in § 280-69) shall require a building permit, site plan approval, and special exception approval, except those meeting certain requirements as stated in § 280-71A(2) and § 280-71B(2), and except in cases of ordinary maintenance as defined in § 280-69.
A. 
Building permit required.
(1) 
All applications for a building permit shall comply with § 280-70, General requirements for all wireless communication facilities, and § 280-74, application requirements.
(2) 
Building permit only. A wireless communication facility is a permitted use requiring only a building permit, without the requirement of site plan approval, and special exception approval, if it conforms to § 280-70 and falls in one of the following two categories:
(a) 
New wireless facility that is interior-mounted in an existing building or existing structure in the LI, LIO, B, HB, MI, or MII Zoning District which conforms to the following requirements:
[1] 
Interior-mounted facilities in existing buildings shall be constructed so that the outward appearance of the building or structure before and after the installation is complete is identical or nearly identical. The addition of a significant architectural feature onto an existing building that is visible from outside for the purpose of accommodating interior-mounted antennas shall require site plan approval; and
[2] 
Base station equipment:
[a] 
Located within an existing shelter or building, not to be expanded beyond an additional 10% of floor area; or
[b] 
Located in an underground vault, with any aboveground components screened from view with evergreen planting; or
[c] 
Entirely concealed from view with dense evergreen planting so that all equipment, shelters, fences, gates and other associated structures are not visible from any vantage point. Plantings shall be of sufficient size to achieve this screening effect immediately upon planting;
[d] 
Noise from base equipment, including any backup generator, measures less than 45dB at all adjacent property lines; or
(b) 
Modification, as defined in § 280-69, including co-location, of an existing antenna support structure or other wireless facility holding all valid permits and causing essentially no visible change to the exterior, and which conforms to the following requirements:
[1] 
Modifications causing essentially no visible change in the appearance of the exterior means that the antennas are interior-mounted in the existing structure and are not visible from the outside after installation. Exceptionally well-designed flush-mounted antennas may also fall into this category if they present no visible profile protruding from the surface to which they are mounted, and are camouflaged to blend in with the background surface to which they are mounted; and
[2] 
Base station equipment, as specified above in Subsection A(2)(a)[2].
B. 
Site plan approval required.
(1) 
All applications for site plan approval shall comply with § 280-70, General requirements for all wireless communication facilities, and § 280-74, Application fees and requirements.
(2) 
Building permit and site plan only. A wireless communication facility is a permitted use requiring a building permit and site plan approval without the requirement of special exception approval if it conforms to § 280-70 and falls in one of the following two categories:
(a) 
New wireless facility that is interior, roof- or side-mounted to an existing building or existing structure in the LI, LIO, B, HB, MI, or MII Zoning District which conforms to the following requirements:
[1] 
Interior-mounted facilities that exceed the requirements of § 280-71A(2)(a).
[2] 
Roof-mounted facilities shall conform to the following requirements:
[a] 
Visual impact minimized to the greatest extent possible;
[b] 
Height limited to no more than 10 feet above the highest point of the building; and
[3] 
Side-mounted facilities shall be flush-mounted and painted or otherwise camouflaged to blend with the facade or background materials of the structure; and
[4] 
Base station equipment is as specified above in Subsection A(2)(a)[2]; or
(b) 
Modification, as defined in § 280-69, including co-location, to an existing wireless facility holding all valid permits in the LI, LIO, B, HB, MI, or MII Zoning Districts and causing a visible change to the exterior, and which conforms to the following requirements:
[1] 
Co-locations shall not extend the height of the structure more than 10 feet over the original approved structure. To prevent the incremental extension of height over time, any subsequent application with a proposed extension beyond the first 10 feet shall require special exception review and approval; and
[2] 
Base station equipment shall be as specified above in Subsection A(2)(a)[2].
C. 
Special exception. All applications for special exception shall comply with the standards in § 280-70, General requirements for all wireless telecommunication facilities, and § 280-74, Application fee and requirements.
A. 
Standards. In addition to the standards in Article XXIV and the standards in § 280-70 herein, all wireless facilities, including co-locations, shall be the least visually obtrusive design possible that also permits the applicant to achieve its service needs. To that end, the following design standards shall apply to all wireless communication facilities installed or constructed that require site plan approval:
(1) 
Camouflage on buildings. Wireless antennas, if mounted on a building facade, shall be flush-mounted and painted or otherwise treated to blend with the facade. When a wireless communication facility extends above the roof height of a building on which it is mounted, every effort shall be made to conceal the facility within or behind existing architectural features to limit its visibility from public and residential vantage points, yet permit the facility to perform its designated function. Facilities mounted on a roof shall be stepped-back from the front facade in order to limit their impact on the building's silhouette. If antennas are part of the stepped-back facility, the applicant shall submit an access control plan that precludes inadvertent access to the front faces of the antennas by building workers and the general public. The wireless communication facilities shall blend in with the existing building's architecture and shall be painted or shielded with material which is consistent with the design features and materials of the building.
(2) 
Access. Access to wireless facilities shall be from already established site access points whenever possible.
(3) 
Dish antennas. Dish antennas shall be colored, camouflaged or screened to the extent that they are as unobtrusive as possible, and in no case shall the diameter of a dish antenna exceed six feet.
(4) 
Electric line setback. Except for wireless facilities specifically designed for mounting on electric transmission towers, or within the footprint of such towers, no wireless communication facility shall be located nearer to any overhead electric transmission line carrying more than 220 volts than a distance equal to the facility's height above the roof or other permanent structure to which it is attached.
(5) 
Co-location. Wireless communication facilities shall be designed to provide for co-location by multiple providers or designed so that they can be retrofitted to accommodate multiple providers, wherever possible.
(6) 
Scenic landscapes and vistas. All antenna support structures which are not concealed inside of buildings or screened by existing trees or buildings must be surrounded by a planted buffer of dense tree growth. An antenna support structure that is located within a scenic vista or scenic landscape or within 300 feet of a scenic road, as designated by the Town, shall not be taller than 10 feet above the height of trees within a radius of 300 feet of the proposed location, or 35 feet maximum in the absence of trees.
(7) 
Color. Antenna support structures in the form of monopoles or other towers shall either be blue/gray in color or be colored appropriate to the context of the structure's location so that the tower is as unobtrusive as possible, unless otherwise required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If a wireless communication facility is installed on a structure other than a tower, the antenna and supporting electrical and mechanical equipment must be of a neutral color that is identical to or closely compatible with the colors of the supporting structure so as to make the antenna and related equipment as visually unobtrusive as possible.
(8) 
Wireless facilities sited within new structures meant to mimic some other structure or natural feature must be designed at a scale compatible with the community, be unobtrusive, and be characteristic of the area.
(9) 
Antenna support structures in or adjacent to residential zones. Where the site proposed for an antenna support structure is located within a residential zone or has one or more property lines abutting or on the opposite side of a street from a residential zone or use permitted in a residential zone, no antenna support structures may be constructed unless adequately screened from view of those residential zones by existing buildings or large trees, including evergreens. The structure may protrude no more than 10 feet above screening buildings and/or trees. In the absence of an adequate arrangement of existing large trees or buildings to provide effective screening, the height of the proposed structure may be no more than 35 feet, and the base equipment must be buried in an underground vault. Two rows of evergreen trees must be planted encircling the structure, one row at a distance from the structure of 50% of the height of the structure, and the other at 90% of the height of the structure. Transplanted trees shall have a minimum caliper of three inches, spaced 30 feet on center. The trees must have an expected height at maturity of at least 10 feet less than the height of the structure to be screened. Smaller evergreen shrubs must be used to fill in the gaps in between for screening during the time the trees are filling in and maturing. The Planning Board may vary the arrangement of the trees and shrubs to accommodate specific site conditions, and accomplish the goal of screening the facility from view of residential properties. A written guarantee from the wireless facility's owner shall be required to ensure that the plantings survive and are maintained throughout the existence of the installation.
(10) 
Commercial and industrial siting. Antenna support structures to be sited on developed commercial or industrial properties shall be located to the rear of other principal buildings and shall not encroach on planting buffers, parking areas or otherwise impair the operation of previously approved systems such as stormwater drainage basins. Existing buildings and structures should be used in the siting of freestanding towers to contribute to the visual screening of the antenna support structure.
A. 
Authority. For the purposes of this section, notwithstanding Article XXV of this chapter, the Planning Board shall be empowered to issue a special exception approval for wireless communication facilities, subject to the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Standards. In addition to the standards in Article XXV of this chapter, no special exception approval shall be granted unless the Planning Board specifically finds and determines the following:
(1) 
Construction of the proposed facility or modification of the existing facility is a public necessity, in that it is required to meet current or expected demands of the telecommunications provider and to render adequate service to the public.
(2) 
The applicant has made substantial effort to co-locate with existing wireless facilities or, failing that, has made substantial effort to locate on municipally owned land or structures, or within or on existing buildings or structures.
(3) 
There are compelling reasons which make it more feasible to construct the proposed facilities rather than alternatives.
C. 
Matters to be considered. In addition to the matters to be considered in Article XXV of this chapter, the Planning Board shall give consideration to the following in issuing a special exception approval for wireless communication facilities:
(1) 
The proposed antenna support structure must be demonstrated to be the lowest height above the ground feasible to achieve the service needs of the carrier(s). The rationale behind the explanation by the applicant must be corroborated by an independent consultant hired by the Town.
(2) 
The wireless communication facility has been situated to minimize its proximity and visibility to residential structures, residential district boundaries and landmarks designated by Town, federal or state agencies.
(3) 
The wireless communication facility is designed and situated to be compatible with the nature of uses on adjacent and nearby property.
(4) 
The wireless communication facility has been designed to use the surrounding topography to minimize its visual impacts.
(5) 
The wireless communication facility has been designed to use the surrounding tree, building or foliage coverage to minimize its visual impacts.
(6) 
The wireless communication facility maximizes design characteristics to reduce or eliminate visual impacts and obtrusiveness.
(7) 
Other adequate conditions have been placed on the wireless communication facility which will minimize any adverse impacts of the facility on adjoining properties.
D. 
Expiration. Any special exception approval granted under this article shall have a term of five years, commencing from the grant of the special exception, which may be extended for an additional five-year term upon application to the Planning Board. On a renewal application, the applicant shall demonstrate that the wireless communication facility is in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations and with all of the conditions of the special exception approval and site plan, that the facility is necessary to provide adequate service, and that there is no reasonable alternative available to the owner which will provide adequate service without the continuing use of the facility. Subsequent special exception renewals shall be subject to review by the Planning Board and subject to such standards that shall be included in the Town Code at that point in time.
A. 
Fees. The following fees are in place of those required in other sections of the Code:
(1) 
Building permit application fees.
(a) 
Modification: $500.
(b) 
New facility: $750.
(2) 
Site plan application fees.
(a) 
Modification: $1,000.
(b) 
New facility: $2,000.
(3) 
Special exception application fee: $1,000.
(4) 
Review by independent consultants.
(a) 
The Town may hire any consultant(s) and/or expert(s) necessary to assist the Town in reviewing and evaluating the application, including the construction and modification of the site, once permitted, and any site inspections. Said escrow account shall be funded by the applicant with an initial deposit of $8,500. No application shall be considered complete for review purposes until an escrow account is established and funded.
(b) 
Withdrawals from said escrow account may be made from time to time to reimburse the Town for the cost of its consultants' professional review services actually incurred in connection with the review of any application including where applicable, the lease negotiation, the preapproval evaluation, and the construction and modification of the site, once permitted. Whenever the balance in such escrow account is reduced to a balance of less than $2,500, the Planning Board shall notify the applicant and the applicant shall immediately deposit additional funds into such account so as to restore its balance to at least $5,000 or to such sum deemed necessary by the Planning Board. If such account is not replenished within 30 days after the applicant is notified in writing of the requirement for such additional deposit, the Planning Board may suspend its review of the application.
(c) 
The consultant(s) will work under the direction of the Town Planning Director. Copies of the consultants' qualifications, findings and reports will be provided to the applicant and an opportunity given to the applicant to respond to the content of the consultants' report prior to any decisions being made. In the event that the amount held in escrow by the Town is more than the amount of the actual invoicing at the conclusion of the project, the remaining balance shall be promptly refunded to the applicant.
B. 
Building permit application.
(1) 
The following application requirements are in addition to those required in § 144-8C.
(a) 
Written analysis demonstrating the project complies with the maximum permissible exposure regulations in accordance with § 280-70K.
(b) 
Written documentation as to the facility's structural compliance with local, state and federal codes.
(c) 
Copies of all applicable FCC licenses, notices of proposed construction or alteration, federal environmental impact statements and other documents verifying compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
(d) 
Propagation maps shall be submitted for existing coverage from existing surrounding and/or approved sites, coverage from all alternative sites considered and coverage from the proposed site. Propagation maps shall include a minimum of three signal strength depictions (-75dBm, -85dBm and -95dBm) and any other signal strength levels deemed appropriate by the applicant based on the applicant's documented coverage and reliability needs.
(e) 
A "gap map" prepared and signed by a qualified radio frequency engineer and overlaid on an "existing coverage" background propagation map demonstrating the area(s) within which the applicant's existing service is not adequate. In addition, a search ring shall be depicted indicating where the wireless communication facility needs to be located in order to provide adequate signal strength and/or capacity to the target gap area. The applicant must explain and document its standards and criteria for adequate signal strength, capacity and reliability and must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Planning Board why these standards and criteria are applicable to the Town of Southold.
(f) 
Digital files of the propagation and gap maps, including attribute information, in a geographic information system (GIS) format and projecting that is compatible with the GIS technology currently in use by the Town of Southold.
(g) 
A copy of the deed or lease agreement establishing applicant's right to use the parcel on which the wireless communication facility is to be located.
(h) 
Other information deemed necessary to assess the compliance with this article.
(2) 
Once the application is received in the Building Department, it will be forwarded to the Planning Director for report and recommendations on compliance with § 280-70, General requirements for all wireless communication facilities, and any technical consultant reports that may have been required. No building permit for a wireless facility may be granted prior to this report being submitted to the Building Inspector.
C. 
Site plan application. The following application requirements are in addition to those required in § 280-133:
(1) 
Seven copies of the completed building permit application required under Subsection B.
(2) 
Aeronautical study or appropriate consultant's report demonstrating that the proposed facility will not constitute an obstruction or hazard to air navigation.
(3) 
Visual impact analysis: renderings or computer graphics illustrating the appearance of the completed facility from residential and public vantage points to be determined by the Planning Board.
(4) 
Adjacent land uses, structures and zoning within 500 feet.
(5) 
The location in latitude and longitude, type and height of the wireless communication facility.
(6) 
A list of other carriers already located on the facility, with the number, type, height, orientation, effective radiated power, number of channels and operating frequencies of each antenna, including the proposed.
(7) 
Digital information about the facility (AutoCAD, Shapefile) that can be imported into a geographic information system depicting the search ring of the proposed facility.
(8) 
A photo of the facility, if already existing.
(9) 
Location of landmarks listed by federal, state or Town agencies within 300 feet.
(10) 
Distances between the proposed facility and the following:
(a) 
The nearest residential structure.
(b) 
The nearest property line with a residential use.
(c) 
All other structures.
(d) 
Roads, rights-of-way, driveways.
(11) 
Fall zone radius and distance.
(12) 
Proposed means of access.
(13) 
Elevation drawings with dimensions clearly indicated, including diameter or width of the structure at its widest and narrowest, and the tallest point, including antennas or lightning protection.
(14) 
Other information deemed by the Planning Board to be necessary to assess compliance with this article.
D. 
Special exception application. To make the determination on an application for special exception, the Planning Board shall require the following in addition to the requirements of Article XXV of this chapter:
(1) 
Each application shall include:
(a) 
One copy of the building permit application.
(b) 
One copy of the site plan application.
(c) 
A written site location alternative analysis describing the location of other sites considered, the availability of those sites, the extent to which other sites do or do not meet the provider's service or engineering needs and the reason why the subject site was chosen.
(d) 
Other information deemed by the Planning Board to be necessary to assess compliance with this article.
(2) 
The applicant shall document to the satisfaction of the Planning Board that a good-faith effort has been made to locate or co-locate on existing towers or other available and appropriate buildings and structures, that it is not feasible to co-locate on an existing facility and that the proposed location is necessary to provide adequate service to the public. The documentation shall include a notarized statement by the applicant as to whether construction of the wireless communication facility will accommodate co-location of additional antennas for future users.
(3) 
The Planning Board and Planning Department may retain technical consultants as they deem necessary to provide assistance in the review of the needs and site location alternatives analyses and other matters that the Board deems necessary. The applicant shall bear the reasonable cost associated with such consultation, which cost shall be assessed as an additional application fee. The consultants will work under the direction of the Town Planning Director. Copies of the consultants' qualifications, findings and reports shall be made available to the applicant upon acceptance of the final draft of the report by the Planning Board.
(4) 
The applicant must explain in writing to the Planning Board why it selected the proposed site, discuss the availability or lack thereof of a suitable structure within the search ring for co-location, and the extent to which the applicant has explored locating the proposed facility in a more intensive use district. Correspondence with other telecommunication providers concerning co-location is part of this requirement. The applicant shall also provide evidence supporting the existence of inadequate service. This may include the propagation maps cited above, drive test maps, traffic studies, customer complaint logs and similar data. The applicant must also demonstrate to the Board that the proposed facility satisfies the demonstrated service deficiency to an equal or greater degree than any of the reasonably available alternatives.
No wireless communication facility is allowed on any designated landmark property or district listed by federal, state or Town agencies, except as specified below, and subject to Chapter 170, Landmark Preservation:
A. 
Any wireless communication facility located on or within an historic structure listed by federal, state or Town agencies shall not alter the character-defining features, distinctive construction methods or original materials of the building.
B. 
Any alteration made to an historic structure to accommodate a wireless communication facility shall be fully reversible.
C. 
Wireless communication facilities within an historic district listed by federal, state or Town agencies shall be concealed within or behind existing architectural features, so that they are not visible.
A. 
Any wireless communication facility that is not operated for a continuous period of 12 months shall be deemed abandoned. At that time, the owner of the wireless communication facility or the owner of the property where the wireless communication facility is located shall remove all components thereof within 90 days of such deemed abandonment or will be in violation of this article. In the case of a wireless communication facility on preexisting structures, this provision shall apply to the wireless communication facility only. If the wireless communication facility is not removed within said 90 days, the Building Inspectors may give the owner notice that unless the removal is accomplished within 30 days, the Town will cause the removal at the owner's expense. All costs and expenses incurred by the Town in connection with any proceeding or any work done for the removal of a wireless communication facility shall be assessed against the land on which such wireless communication facility is located, and a statement of such expenses shall be presented to the owner of the property, or if the owner cannot be ascertained or located, then such statement shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises. Such assessment shall be and constitute a lien upon such land. If the owner of the facility and the owner of the property upon which the facility is located shall fail to pay such expenses within 10 days after the statement is presented or posted, a legal action may be brought to collect such assessment or to foreclose such lien. As an alternative to the maintenance of any such action, the Building Inspector may file a certificate of the actual expenses incurred as aforesaid, together with a statement identifying the property in connection with which the expenses were incurred and the owner of the facility and the owner of the property upon which the facility is located, with the Assessors, who shall, in the preparation of the next assessment roll, assess such amount upon such property. Such amount shall be included in the levy against such property, shall constitute a lien and shall be collected and enforced in the same manner, by the same proceedings, at the same time and under the same penalties as are provided by law for the collection and enforcement of real property taxes in the Town of Southold.
B. 
Height reduction. Where antennas are moved to lower heights on an existing antenna support structure and the full height is no longer needed, the overall height of the structure shall be reduced. No antenna support structure shall remain at a height that is taller than that required by installed and operational antennas.
C. 
This section is enacted pursuant to § 10 of the Municipal Home Rule Law to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of Town citizens through removal provisions to ensure the proper decommissioning of wireless communication facilities within the entire Town. The removal reduction provision of this chapter shall supersede any inconsistent portions of the Town Law § 64(5-a) and govern the subject of removal of wireless communication facilities in this chapter.
A. 
Preexisting antenna support structures and antennas, for which a permit has been issued prior to the effective date of this article, may continue in use for the purpose now used and as now existing, subject to the conditions of that permit. Preexisting antenna support structures and antennas may not be replaced, structurally altered, or added to without complying in all respects with this article. The issuance of permit renewals or other new permits for such facilities shall be in accordance with the provisions of this article. Preexisting antenna support structures and antennas without the proper permits shall be considered out of compliance with this article.
B. 
Any wireless service provider with at least one preexisting antenna support structure or antenna in the Town of Southold that is out of compliance with the building and zoning requirements in this chapter prior to the adoption of this article shall not be eligible for any new approvals until the preexisting antenna support structure or antenna is brought into compliance with this article.
C. 
Until all required permits are secured, no issuance of any new permit shall occur for a request to co-locate, attach, or share an existing antenna support structure, when such existing facility is found to have one or more antennas or mounts without permits.
D. 
Any application by a wireless service provider shall be deemed incomplete if that provider has a preexisting antenna support structure in the Town on which there is any antenna or mount without permits, and said application shall not be processed until that facility is brought into compliance with this article.
In approving a site plan or special exception, the Planning Board may waive or modify the following criteria if it finds that the goals and stated purposes of this article are better served by doing so, and that there is no detriment to the public health, safety and welfare.
A. 
Section 280-70I(2), Maximum height: 80 feet. In commercial zones, where co-location will achieve the result of fewer antenna support structures, the Planning Board may modify the eighty-foot height restriction with the condition that the antenna support structure be constructed so that antennas can be installed at any height on the structure, and that the overall height of the structure can be reduced if antennas are moved to lower heights. No antenna support structure shall remain at a height that is taller than that required by installed and operational antennas. The applicant must show that co-location of other carriers is likely by demonstrating that coverage or capacity gaps of other carriers are located in the same area as the proposed structure.
B. 
Section 280-70I(3), Minimum distance of all wireless equipment to adjacent residential property lines or streets shall be no less than 500 feet. This setback requirement may be modified upon a showing by the applicant that the actual distance of the antenna support structure to the residential structure is minimized to the greatest extent possible.
C. 
Section 280-72A(6), Scenic landscapes and vistas. The requirement of planting of surrounding tree coverage and foliage to account for existing vegetation and land contours may be modified by the Planning Board but only in cases where it can be shown that the existing vegetation achieves the purpose of concealing the structure.
D. 
Section 280-70N(4), Base equipment shelter landscaping. The requirement of planting of screening vegetation may be modified by the Planning Board in cases where it can be shown that existing screening that accomplishes the goal of concealing the base equipment shelter from other properties and roads.
E. 
Section 280-72A(9), Antenna support structures in or adjacent to residential zones. If the structure is located on a property that is adjacent to a residential zone, the Planning Board may modify the requirement of planting of surrounding tree coverage and foliage in cases where it can be shown that existing vegetation and land contours achieve the purpose of concealing the structure from nearby residences.
F. 
Section 280-76.1A and B, Preexisting antenna support structures and antennas not in compliance. The provision requiring preexisting nonconforming facilities to be brought into compliance may be modified by the Planning Board where such facilities would be required to be rebuilt or relocated to be in compliance, if, in those cases only, the applicant demonstrates that those preexisting facilities, given the carrier's coverage or capacity needs, are already located in a place that would comply the same or better as any alternate locations, or are already constructed to be as unobtrusive as possible.
With the exception of relief from the denial of an application for special exception approval pursuant to § 280-73, any applicant desiring any other relief or exemption from the requirements of this article may seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals in accordance with Article XXVI of this chapter.
The various parts, sections and clauses of this article are hereby declared to be severable. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this article shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the judgment shall not affect the validity of this article as a whole or any part thereof other than the part so decided to be unconstitutional or invalid.
This article shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State.