[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wallkill 9-9-1999 by L.L. No. 5-1999. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Zoning — See Ch. 249.
The Town of Wallkill has determined that, due to the increased demand for wireless communications transmitting facilities and the services they provide, the need for the construction of communications towers has substantially increased. The intent of this chapter is to regulate these telecommunications facilities, as herein defined, in order to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Town of Wallkill, as well as to to protect the aesthetic character of the town by providing standards for facilities consistent with applicable federal and state regulations in a manner consistent with sound land use planning.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACCESSORY STRUCTURE
- An accessory facility or structure serving or being used in conjunction with a telecommunications facility or tower and located on the same lot, including utility or transmission equipment and storage sheds.
- A system of electrical conductors that transmit or receive radio frequency signals, including radio, television, cellular, paging, personal communications services (PCS) and microwave communications.
- The construction of facilities to house or support telecommunications towers so that they blend with the landscape and neighborhood. Examples of camouflaging that could be used are silo, barn, windmill and simulated tree.
- COLLOCATED ANTENNAS
- Telecommunications facilities which utilize existing towers, buildings or other structures for placement of antenna(s) and which do not require construction of a new tower.
- TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES
- Towers and/or antennas and accessory structures used in connection with cellular telephone service, personal communications services (PCS), paging services, radio and television broadcast services and similar broadcast services. The following types of telecommunications facilities are not subject to the provisions of this section:
- A structure designed to support antennas, including freestanding towers, guyed towers, monopoles and similar structures which employ camouflaging technology.
- A. Monopoles range in height from 25 to 125 feet and are wider at the base than at the top. They may support any combination of antennas. Monopoles shall be preferred to lattice towers and guyed towers.
- B. Lattice towers range from 60 to 200 feet in height. These may have three or four support legs and hold a variety of antennas.
- C. Guyed towers are supported either partially or wholly by guy wires and ground anchors. The towers are 120 to 150 feet in height.
No telecommunications facility shall hereafter be used, erected, moved, reconstructed or altered except in conformity with these regulations.
No existing facility or structure shall be modified to serve as a transmission tower, communication tower, satellite dish, antenna or similar use unless in conformity with these regulations.
The application fee for any facility shall be $7,500. The applicant shall also place $7,500 in escrow with the Town Clerk to reimburse the town for engineering, planning and legal fees connected with the review of the project. Any unused funds will be returned to the applicant.
No telecommunications facilities are permitted in any zoning district in the Town of Wallkill without a special use permit, and compliance with the requirements for same as set forth in Chapter 249 (Zoning) of the Town Code shall apply in addition to the requirements set forth herein.
No special use permit or renewal or modification thereof relating to a telecommunications facility shall be authorized by the Planning Board unless it finds that such facility:
Is necessary to meet current or expected demands for services.
Conforms to all applicable regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration and other federal agencies.
Is considered a public utility in the State of New York.
Is designed and constructed in a manner which minimizes visual impact to the extent practical.
Complies with all other requirements of this chapter.
Is the most appropriate site among those available within the technologically feasible area for the location of a facility.
All applications for a special use permit shall be in writing on forms provided by the town.
Each applicant for a telecommunications facility shall submit an environmental assessment form (EAF) (long form) with visual addendum and an analysis demonstrating that the location of the telecommunications facility as proposed is necessary to meet the frequency reuse and spacing needs of the applicant's telecommunications system and to provide adequate service and coverage to the intended area. The Planning Board may require submission of a more detailed visual analysis based on the results of the visual EAF.
Each applicant shall submit a site plan prepared to scale and in sufficient detail and accuracy showing at a minimum:
The exact location of the proposed telecommunications facility, together with any guy wires and anchors, if applicable.
The maximum height of the proposed telecommunications facility and/or tower measured from the grade at the base of the tower.
Detail of tower type (monopole, guyed, freestanding or other).
The location, type and intensity of any lighting on the tower.
Property boundaries and names of adjacent landowners within 500 feet of the parcel on which the tower is located.
Proof of the landowners' consent if the applicant does not own the property.
The location of all structures on the property and all structures on any adjacent property within 100 feet of the property lines, together with the distance of these structures to the facility.
The location, nature and extent of any proposed fencing, landscaping and/or screening.
The location and nature of proposed utility easements and access roads, if applicable.
All applicants shall, in writing, identify the location of any additional sites that they are or will be considering or reviewing for telecommunications facilities in the town and all adjacent towns.
All applicants applying for telecommunications facilities agree to reimburse the town for consultants and/or specialists to assist the town in the applications.
All applicants must certify that transmission from their telecommunications facility will not interfere with existing signals, such as household television and radio, etc.
The following criteria and additional requirements shall apply to each application for a facility:
All new towers shall be set back from all adjacent property lines a sufficient distance to safeguard the general public and/or adjacent property. In the absence of any evidence supporting a greater or lesser setback distance, a setback of the tower from any adjacent property line equal to the height of the tower plus 50 feet shall be deemed adequate. In no case shall a tower be located closer than 1,000 feet to a residential dwelling located upon any other dwelling. Accessory structures and guy anchors must comply with the minimum setback requirements of the underlying district.
All telecommunications facilities shall be located on a single parcel.
The shared use of existing telecommunications facilities shall be preferred to the construction of new facilities. Where such shared use is unavailable, location of an antenna on preexisting structures shall be considered. Any special permit application, renewal or modification thereof shall include proof that reasonable efforts have been made to collocate with (share) an existing telecommunications facility or upon an existing structure. Copies of written requests and responses for shared use shall be provided. The application shall also include an adequate inventory report specifying existing facility sites and structures within the search range of the cell grid and an evaluation of opportunities for shared use as an alternative to new construction.
The applicant must demonstrate that the proposed facility cannot be accommodated on existing facilities or other structures in the inventory due to one or more of the following reasons:
The planned equipment would exceed the structural capacity of existing and approved facilities or other structures, considering existing and planned use for same.
The planned equipment would cause radio frequency interference with other existing or planned equipment which cannot be reasonably prevented.
Existing or approved facilities or other structures do not have space on which proposed equipment can be placed so it can function effectively or other technical reasons make it impracticable.
The property owner or owner of the existing facility or other structure refuses to allow such collocation.
The applicant must consider designing any proposed tower to accommodate future shared usage. The scope of this analysis shall be determined by the Planning Board for special use permit approvals. This requirement may be waived if the applicant demonstrates that the provisions of future shared usage of the facility is not feasible based upon:
The number of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licenses foreseeably available for the area.
The kind of tower site and structure proposed.
The number of existing and potential licenses without tower spaces/sites.
Available spaces on existing and approved towers.
Potential adverse visual impact by a tower designed for shared usage.
Lighting and markings.
Towers shall not be artificially lighted and marked beyond the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Notwithstanding the preceding subsection, an applicant may be compelled to add FAA-style lighting and marking if, in the judgment of the Planning Board, such a requirement would be of direct benefit to public safety.
Appearance and buffering.
The use of any portion of a telecommunications facility for signs, promotional or advertising purposes of any type is prohibited.
The facility shall have the least practical visual effect on the environment, as determined by the Planning Board. Any tower that is not subject to FAA marking shall otherwise:
Have a galvanized finish or shall be painted gray or green below the tree line, as deemed appropriate by the Town Planning Board; or
Be disguised or camouflaged to blend in with the surroundings, to the extent that such alteration does not impair the ability of the facility to perform its designed function.
Accessory structures shall maximize the use of building materials, colors and textures designed to blend in with the natural surroundings.
The Town Planning Board shall require that the facility have appropriate vegetative buffering around the fences of the tower base area, accessory structure and the anchor points of guyed towers to buffer their view from neighboring residences, recreation areas or public roads. Such screening shall include the maximum feasible retention of existing vegetation.
Traffic access and safety.
A gated and locked road turnaround and at least two parking spaces shall be provided to assure adequate emergency and service access. Any necessary road construction shall minimize ground disturbance and vegetation cutting and shall closely follow natural contours to assure minimal visual disturbance and reduce soil erosion potential.
All towers and guy anchors, if applicable, shall be enclosed by a fence not less than eight feet in height or otherwise sufficiently secured to protect from trespassing or vandalism. All such fenced areas shall be screened as provided herein.
The applicant shall, in each instance, provide a certification from a qualified, licensed engineer, certifying hat the tower or telecommunications facility meets structural safety standards, and said facility must be maintained in good condition at all times.
Height. The applicant shall submit sufficient information to justify the proposed height of a tower as the minimum necessary to achieve its coverage objections. In no event, however, shall any tower exceed a height of 150 feet as measured from the grade level at the base of the tower. The maximum height of any tower with antennas shall not exceed a height which requires artificial lighting of any kind, in accordance with any federal laws or regulations, without first obtaining an area variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The applicant shall agree, in writing, to remove the tower or antennas if the telecommunications facility ceases to be used for its intended purpose for six consecutive months. Removal of such obsolete and/or unused towers shall take place within three months thereafter. Such agreement shall also include a commitment by the applicant to impose similar obligation to remove any unused and/or obsolete tower or antennas upon any person subsequently securing rights to collocate on the tower or telecommunications facility.
Bond or security.
The applicant shall be required to execute and file with the Town Clerk a bond, or other form of security acceptable to the Town Attorney and Engineer, in an amount sufficient for the faithful performance of the terms and conditions of the permit issued hereunder and to provide for the aforesaid removal and restoration of the site subsequent to its removal.
The amount of the bond or security shall be no less than 150% of the cost of removal of the tower and restoration of the site and shall be reviewed and adjusted at five-year intervals.
In the event of a default upon performance of such conditions or any of them, the bond or security shall be forfeited to the town, which shall be entitled to maintain an action thereon. The bond or security shall remain in full force and effect until the removal of the telecommunications facility and site restoration.
The applicant shall also maintain general liability insurance coverage on any tower or facility in the amounts of $1,000,000 for injuries and $500,000 for property damages, naming the Town of Wallkill as additional insured.
Any violation of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 per day said violation continues.