Township of Union, NJ
Union County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 12-23-1997 by Ord. No. 4532]
A. 
Purpose.
(1) 
The purpose of these regulations for the siting of wireless telecommunications towers and antennas is to:
(a) 
Protect residential areas and land uses from potential adverse impacts of towers and antennas.
(b) 
Encourage the location of towers in appropriate locations.
(c) 
Minimize the total number of towers throughout Union Township.
(d) 
Strongly encourage the joint use of approved tower facilities as a primary option rather than construction of new or additional single-use towers.
(e) 
Encourage users of towers and antennas to locate them, to the extent possible, in areas where the adverse impact on the community is minimal.
(f) 
Encourage users of towers and antennas to configure them in a way that minimizes the adverse visual impact of the towers and antennas through careful design, siting, landscape screening and innovative camouflaging techniques.
(g) 
Enhance the ability of the providers of telecommunications services to provide such services to the community quickly, effectively and efficiently.
(h) 
Consider the public health and safety of communication towers.
(i) 
Avoid potential damage to adjacent properties from tower failure through engineering and careful siting of tower structures.
(2) 
In furtherance of these goals, Union Township shall give due consideration to the Township Master Plan, Zoning Map, existing land uses and environmentally sensitive areas in approving sites for the location of towers and antennas.
B. 
Nonapplicability to amateur radio stations and to receive-only antennas. The provisions of this section shall not govern any antenna that is owned and operated by a federally licensed amateur radio station operator or is used exclusively as a receive-only antenna in accordance with Federal Communications Commission regulations.
C. 
Antennas and towers permitted on Township property. Wireless communications towers and antennas which are located on property owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the Township of Union and which are approved by the Township Committee shall be deemed to be permitted as a municipal facility in any zone district.
D. 
Antennas and towers which are not municipal facilities. Wireless telecommunications towers and antennas are permitted in the I Industrial Zone on nonmunicipal property upon submission and approval of a minor site plan by the Planning Board in accordance with the regulations set forth below:
(1) 
General requirements.
(a) 
Principal or accessory use. Wireless telecommunications towers and antennas may be considered either principal or accessory uses. A different existing use of an existing structure on the same lot shall not preclude the installation of an antenna or tower on such lot.
(b) 
Lot size. For purposes of determining whether the installation of a tower or antenna complies with district development regulations, including but not limited to setback requirements, lot coverage requirements and other such requirements, the dimensions of the entire lot shall control, even though the antennas or towers may be located on leased parcels within such lot.
(c) 
Inventory of existing sites. Each applicant for an antenna and/or tower shall provide to the Township as part of the application an inventory of its existing towers and antennas, or sites approved for towers or antennas, that are either within the jurisdiction of Union Township or within one mile of the border thereof, including specific information about the location, height and design of each tower. The Township may share such information with other applicants applying for approvals under this section or other organizations seeking to locate antennas within the jurisdiction of Union Township; provided, however, that the Township is not, by sharing such information, in any way representing or warranting that such sites are available or suitable.
(d) 
Aesthetics. Towers and antennas shall meet the following requirements:
[1] 
Towers shall either maintain a galvanized steel finish or, subject to any applicable standards of the FAA, be painted a neutral color so as to reduce visual obtrusiveness.
[2] 
At a tower site, the design of the buildings and related structures shall, to the extent possible, use materials, colors, textures, screening and landscaping that will blend them into the natural setting and surrounding buildings.
[3] 
If an antenna 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 color of the supporting structure so as to make the antenna and related equipment as visually unobtrusive as possible.
(e) 
Lighting. Towers shall not be artificially lighted, unless required by the FAA or other applicable authority. If lighting is required, the lighting alternatives and design chosen must cause the least disturbance to the surrounding views.
(f) 
State or federal requirements. All towers must meet or exceed current standards and regulations of the FAA, the FCC, and any other agency of the state or federal government with the authority to regulate towers and antennas. If such standards and regulations are changed, then the owners of the towers and antennas governed by this section shall bring such towers and antennas into compliance with such revised standards and regulations within six months of the effective date of such standards and regulations, unless a different compliance schedule is mandated by the controlling state or federal agency. Failure to bring towers and antennas into compliance with such revised standards and regulations shall constitute grounds for the removal of the tower or antenna at the owner's expense.
(g) 
Uniform Construction Code; safety standards. To ensure the structural integrity of towers, the owner of a tower shall ensure that it is maintained in compliance with standards contained in applicable state and local codes and the applicable standards for towers that are published by the Electronic Industries Association, as amended from time to time. If, upon inspection, the Township concludes that a tower fails to comply with such codes and standards and constitutes a danger to persons or property, then, upon notice being provided to the owner of the tower, the owner shall have 30 days to bring such tower into compliance with such standards. Failure to bring such tower into compliance within said 30 days shall constitute grounds for the removal of the tower or antenna at the owner's expense.
(h) 
Measurement. For purposes of measurement, tower setbacks and separation distances shall be calculated and applied to facilities located in Union Township irrespective of municipal and county jurisdictional boundaries.
(i) 
Franchises. Owners and/or operators of towers or antennas shall certify that all franchises required by law for the construction and/or operation of a wireless communication system in Union Township have been obtained and shall file a copy of all required franchises with the Township.
(j) 
Public notice. For purposes of this section, any variance request shall require public notice in accordance with the requirements of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-12.
(k) 
Signs. No advertising signs shall be allowed on an antenna or tower.
(l) 
Buildings and support equipment. Buildings and support equipment associated with antennas or towers shall comply with the requirements of § 170-195.7D(2).
(m) 
Multiple antenna/tower plan. Union Township encourages the users of towers and antennas to submit a single application for approval of multiple towers and/or antenna sites. Applications for approval of multiple sites shall be given priority in the review process.
(n) 
Maximum height.
[1] 
The tower shall meet the following maximum height and usage criteria:
[a] 
For a single user: up to 90 feet in height.
[b] 
For two users: up to 120 feet in height.
[c] 
For three or more users: up to 150 feet in height.
[2] 
A licensed New Jersey professional engineer must certify that the tower can structurally accommodate the number of shared users proposed by the applicant.
(o) 
Information required. In addition to any information required for applications for site plan review pursuant to this chapter, applicants for approval for a tower shall submit the following information:
[1] 
A location plan drawn to scale and clearly indicating the location, type and height of the proposed tower, on-site land uses and zoning, adjacent land uses and zoning (including when adjacent to other municipalities), Master Plan classification of the site and all properties within the applicable separation distances set forth in § 170-195.7D(1)(s), adjacent roadways, proposed means of access, setbacks from property lines, elevation drawings of the proposed tower and any other structures, topography and parking.
[2] 
Legal description of the parent tract and leased parcel (if applicable).
[3] 
The setback distance between the proposed tower and the nearest residential unit, platted residentially zoned properties and unplatted residentially zoned properties.
[4] 
The separation distance from other towers described in the inventory of existing sites submitted pursuant to § 170-195.7D(1)(c) shall be shown on an updated site plan or map. The applicant shall also identify the type of construction of the existing tower(s) and the owner/operator of the existing tower(s), if known.
[5] 
A landscape plan showing specific landscape materials.
[6] 
Method of fencing and finished color and, if applicable, the method of camouflage and illumination.
[7] 
A description of compliance with Subsection D(1)(c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (j), (l), (m), (r), (s) and all applicable federal, state or local laws.
[8] 
A notarized statement by the applicant as to whether construction of the tower will accommodate collocation of additional antennas for future users.
[9] 
Identification of the entities providing the backhaul network for the tower(s) described in the application and other cellular sites owned or operated by the applicant in the municipality.
[10] 
A description of the unsuitability of the use of existing towers, other structures or alternative technology not requiring the use of towers or structures to provide the services to be provided through the use of the proposed tower.
[11] 
A description of the feasible location(s) of future towers or antennas within the Township based upon existing physical, engineering, technological or geographical limitations in the event that the proposed tower is erected.
(p) 
Factors considered in granting approval for towers. In addition to any standards for consideration of site plans pursuant to this chapter, the municipal agency shall consider the following factors in determining whether to issue an approval:
[1] 
Height of the proposed tower.
[2] 
Proximity of the tower to residential structures and residential district boundaries.
[3] 
Nature of uses on adjacent and nearby properties.
[4] 
Surrounding topography.
[5] 
Surrounding tree coverage and foliage.
[6] 
Design of the tower, with particular reference to design characteristics that have the effect of reducing or eliminating visual obtrusiveness.
[7] 
Proposed ingress and egress.
[8] 
Availability of suitable existing towers, other structures, or alternative technologies not requiring the use of towers or structures, as discussed in § 170-195.7D(1)(q) of this chapter.
(q) 
Availability of suitable existing towers, other structures or alternative technology. No new tower shall be permitted unless the applicant demonstrates to the reasonable satisfaction of the municipal agency that no existing tower, structure or alternative technology that does not require the use of towers or structures can accommodate the applicant's proposed antenna. An applicant shall submit information requested by the municipal agency related to the availability of suitable existing towers, other structures or alternative technology. Evidence submitted to demonstrate that no existing tower, structure or alternative technology can accommodate the applicant's proposed antenna may consist of any of the following:
[1] 
No existing towers or structures are located within the geographic area which meet the applicant's engineering requirements.
[2] 
Existing towers or structures are not of sufficient height to meet the applicant's engineering requirements.
[3] 
Existing towers or structures do not have sufficient structural strength to support the applicant's proposed antenna and related equipment.
[4] 
The applicant's proposed antenna would cause electromagnetic interference with the antenna on the existing towers or structures, or the antenna on the existing towers or structures would cause interference with the applicant's proposed antenna.
[5] 
The fees, costs or contractual provisions required by the owner in order to share an existing tower or structure or to adapt an existing tower or structure for sharing are unreasonable. Costs exceeding new tower development are presumed to be unreasonable.
[6] 
The applicant demonstrates that there are other limiting factors that render existing towers and structures unsuitable.
[7] 
The applicant demonstrates that an alternative technology that does not require the use of towers or structures, such as a cable microcell network using multiple low-powered transmitters/receivers attached to a wireline system, is unsuitable. Costs of alternative technology that exceed new tower or antenna development shall not be presumed to render the technology unsuitable.
(r) 
Minimum required setback. The following minimum setback requirements shall apply to all towers for which site plan approval is required:
[1] 
Towers must be set back a distance equal to at least 100% of the height of the tower from any adjoining lot line, but in no event shall the tower be located in the minimum required yard area or buffer area of the zone district.
[2] 
Guys and accessory buildings must satisfy the minimum zoning district setback and buffer requirements.
(s) 
Minimum separation requirement between uses. The following separation requirements shall apply to all towers and antennas for which site plan approval is required:
[1] 
Separation from off-site uses/designated areas.
[a] 
Tower separation shall be measured from the base of the tower to the lot line of the off-site uses and/or designated areas as specified in Subsection D(1)(s)[1][b], below, except as otherwise provided.
[b] 
Towers shall maintain a separation distance of 750 feet from residential dwelling units or from lands zoned for residential use.
[Amended 2-24-1998 by Ord. No. 4536]
[2] 
Separation distances between towers. Separation distances between towers shall be applicable for and measured between the proposed tower and preexisting towers or other proposed towers. The separation distances shall be measured by drawing or following a straight line between the base of the existing tower and the proposed base, pursuant to a site plan, of the proposed tower. The separation distances (listed in linear feet) shall be as shown below in the table of required separation distances between towers.
SCHEDULE 2
REQUIRED SEPARATION DISTANCES BETWEEN WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS TOWERS
Tower Type
Lattice
(linear feet)
Guyed
(linear feet)
Monopole 75 Feet in Height or Greater
(linear feet)
Monopole Less Than 75 Feet in Height
(linear feet)
Lattice
5,000
5,000
1,500
750
Guyed
5,000
5,000
1,500
750
Monopole 75 feet in height or greater
1,500
1,500
1,500
750
Monopole less than 75 feet in height
750
750
750
750
(t) 
Security fencing. Towers shall be enclosed by security fencing not less than six feet in height and shall also be equipped with an appropriate anticlimbing device; provided, however, that the municipal agency may waive such requirements, as it deems appropriate.
(u) 
Landscaping. The following requirements shall govern the landscaping surrounding towers for which site plan approval is required; provided, however, that the municipal agency may waive such requirements if the goals of this section would be better served thereby:
[1] 
Tower facilities shall be landscaped with a buffer of plant materials that effectively screens the view of the tower compound from property used for residences.
[2] 
In locations where the visual impact of the tower would be minimal, the landscaping requirement may be reduced.
[3] 
Existing mature tree growth and natural land forms on the site shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible. In some cases, such as towers sited on large, wooded lots, natural growth around the property perimeter may be sufficient buffer.
(v) 
In approving the tower the municipal agency may impose conditions, including the use of an alternative tower structure, to the extent the municipal agency concludes such conditions are necessary to minimize any adverse effect of the proposed tower on adjoining properties.
(2) 
Buildings or other equipment storage.
(a) 
Antennas mounted on structures or rooftops. The equipment cabinet or structure used in association with antennas shall comply with the following:
[1] 
The cabinet or structure shall not contain more than 200 square feet of gross floor area or be more than 10 feet in height. In addition, for buildings and structures which are less than 65 feet in height, the related unmanned equipment structure, if over 200 square feet of gross floor area or 10 feet in height, shall be located on the ground and shall not be located on the roof of the structure.
[2] 
If the equipment structure is located on the roof of a building, the area of the equipment structure and other equipment and structures shall not occupy more than 10% of the roof area.
[3] 
Equipment storage buildings or cabinets shall comply with all applicable building codes.
(b) 
Antennas located on towers, utility poles or light poles. The related unmanned equipment structure shall not contain more than 200 square feet of gross floor area or be more than 10 feet in height and shall be located in accordance with the minimum yard and buffer requirements of the zoning district in which located and shall be screened from view of all residential properties.
(3) 
Removal of abandoned antennas and towers. Any antenna or tower that is not operated for a continuous period of 12 months shall be considered abandoned, and the owner of such antenna or tower shall remove the same within 90 days of receipt of notice from the Township of Union notifying the owner of such abandonment. Failure to remove an abandoned antenna or tower within said 90 days shall be grounds to remove the tower or antenna at the owner's expense. If there are two or more users of a single tower, then this provision shall not become effective until all users cease using the tower.
(4) 
Preexisting towers. Preexisting towers shall be allowed to continue their usage as they presently exist. Routine maintenance is permitted on such preexisting towers. New construction other than routine maintenance on a preexisting tower shall comply with the requirements of this section.