CHAPTER 156

WIRELESS COMMUNICATION FACILITIES

156.01  Purpose

156.08  Removal of Abandoned Wireless Communication

156.02  Interpretation and Definitions

Facilities

156.03  Designation and Applicability

156.09  Nonconforming Wireless Communication Facilities

156.04  Allowable Uses/Development Criteria

156.10  Revocation of Tower Use Permit

156.05  Review Process

156.11  Penalty

156.06  Approval Process

156.12  Permitted Use Sites

156.07  Shared Facilities and Collocation Policy

 


156.01    PURPOSE
.  The City recognizes and desires to encourage the orderly development of wireless communication technologies for the benefit of the City and its citizens. Such development activities will promote and protect the health, safety, prosperity, and general welfare of persons living in the City.  Specifically, this chapter is designed to achieve the following:

1.                  Provide options for locations for wireless communication facilities in various zoning districts;

2.                  Encourage the location of wireless communication facilities onto existing structures to reduce the number of new communication towers needed within the City;

3.                  Encourage collocation and site sharing of wireless communication facilities;

4.                  Establish adequate development and design criteria to enhance the ability of providers of telecommunications service to the community quickly, effectively, and efficiently;

5.                  Protect residential, historic preservation areas, and scenic corridors from the uncontrolled development of wireless communications facilities by requiring reasonable siting conditions;

6.                  Promote the use of suitable sites (public and private) for the location of wireless antennas, towers and/or wireless communication facilities;

7.                  Ensure the harmonious, orderly and efficient growth and development of the City;

8.                  Provide overlay districts in which the zoning regulations permit the development of wireless communication facilities which are consistent with the requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and are in the best interest of the future of the City;

9.                  Provide clear performance standards addressing the siting of wireless communication facilities; and

10.              Streamline and expedite the permitting procedures to effect compliance with the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

156.02    INTERPRETATION AND DEFINITIONS.

1.                  Construction of Other Ordinances.  To the extent this chapter conflicts with the zoning ordinance, sign ordinance or any other ordinance of the City, this chapter shall control.

2.                  Rules for Words and Phrases.  For the purposes of this chapter, the word “used” includes “designed and intended or arranged to be used or occupied”; and the word “person” includes a firm, association, organization, partnership, trust, foundation, company or corporation as well as an individual.

3.                  Definitions.  For the purpose of this chapter certain words, phrases and terms used herein shall be interpreted as defined.  If not defined, words shall have the meanings normally ascribed to them.  Questions as to interpretation shall be resolved by the Board of Adjustment.  For the purpose of this chapter, all definitions defined herein are in addition to all definitions in this Code of Ordinances.

A.                 “Antenna array” means one or more rods, panels, discs or similar devices used for the transmission or reception of radio frequency signals, which may include omnidirectional antenna (rod), directional antenna (panel) and parabolic antenna (disc).  The antenna array does not include the support structure.

B.                 “Attached wireless communication facility” means an antenna array that is attached to an existing building or structure (attachment structure), which structures include (but are not limited to) utility poles, signs, water towers, rooftops, towers with any accompanying pole or device (attachment device) which attaches the antenna array to the existing building or structure and associated connection cables, and an equipment facility which may be located either inside or outside of the attachment structure.

C.                 “Collocation/site sharing” means use of a common wireless communication facility or common site by more than one wireless communication license holder or by one wireless license holder for more than one type of communications technology and/or placement of a wireless communication facility on a structure owned or operated by a utility or other public entity.

D.                 “Equipment facility” means any structure used to contain ancillary equipment for a wireless communication facility which includes cabinets, shelters, a build out of an existing structure, pedestals, and other similar structures.

E.                  “FTA” means Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

F.                  “FAA” means Federal Aviation Administration.

G.                 “FCC” means Federal Communications Commission.

H.                 “Height” means, when referring to a wireless communication facility, the distance measured from ground level to the highest point on the wireless communication facility, excluding the antenna array.

I.                    “Setback” means the required distance from the property line of the parcel on which the wireless communication facility is located to the base of the support structure and equipment shelter or cabinet where applicable, or, in the case of guy-wire supports, the guy anchors.

J.                   “Support structure” means a structure designed and constructed specifically to support an antenna array, and may include a monopole, self-supporting (lattice) tower, guy-wire-support tower and other similar structures.  Any device (attachment device) which is used to attach an attached wireless communication facility to an existing building or structure (attachment structure) shall be excluded from the definition of and regulations applicable to support structures.

K.                 “Temporary wireless communication facility” means a wireless communication facility to be placed in use for ninety (90) or fewer days.

L.                  “Tower use permit” (TUP) means a permit issued by the City specifically for the location, construction and use of a wireless communication facility subject to an approved site plan and any special conditions determined to be appropriate under the provision of this chapter.

M.                “Wireless communications” means any personal wireless services as defined in the FTA, which includes FCC licensed commercial wireless telecommunications services including cellular, personal communication services (PCS), specialized mobile radio (SMR), enhanced specialized mobile radio (ESMR), paging, and similar services.

N.                 “Wireless communication facility” means any unstaffed facility for the transmission and/or reception of wireless communications services, usually consisting of an antenna array, connection cables, an equipment facility, and a support structure to achieve the necessary elevation.

156.03    DESIGNATION AND APPLICABILITY.  The City shall be divided into two (2) wireless communication facility overlay districts.  Said districts shall include all lands situated within the City.

1.                  Wireless Communication Facility Overlay District 1 shall include only those areas described in Section 156.12 of this chapter and any subsequently added thereto less any areas subsequently deleted therefrom.  Attached wireless communication facilities with support structures shall be permitted as provided herein in Wireless Communication Facility Overlay District 1.

2.                  Wireless Communication Facility Overlay District 2 shall consist of all lands not included in Wireless Communication Facility Overlay District 1 which are located within the City.  Attached wireless communication facilities shall be permitted as set out herein in Wireless Communication Facility Overlay District 2.  Wireless communication facilities with support structures shall not be permitted under this chapter in Wireless Communication Facility Overlay District 2.

3.                  Permit Required.  No person, firm or corporation shall install or construct any wireless communication facility unless and until a tower use permit (TUP) has been issued pursuant to the requirements of this chapter.

4.                  Amateur Radio Exclusion.  This chapter shall not govern the installation of any amateur radio facility that is owned and operated by a federally licensed amateur radio station operator or is exclusively for receive only antennas.  Such installations shall comply with any other applicable provisions of the zoning code.

5.                  Airport Zoning.  Any wireless communication facility located or proposed to be located in airport areas governed by the FAA shall also comply with the provisions of all applicable local, state and federal airport regulations.

6.                  Building Codes.  Construction of all wireless communication facilities shall comply with the requirements of the Princeton Building Codes and permitting process in addition to the requirements of this chapter.

156.04    ALLOWABLE USES/DEVELOPMENT CRITERIA.  Allowable uses, subject to the limitations within each overlay district, will include the underlying zoning district plus wireless communication facilities in compliance with the following development criteria:

1.                  Height Standards.  The following height standards shall apply to all wireless communications facility installations:

A.                 Attached Wireless Communication Facilities.  Attached wireless communication facilities shall not add more than twenty (20) feet to the height of the existing building or structure to which it is attached (attachment structure), or increase the height of tower above the maximum permitted height of an existing tower.

B.                 Maximum Height.  Wireless communication facilities with support structures shall have a maximum height as set out in Section 156.12 of this chapter in Wireless Communication Facility Overlay District 1.

2.                  Setback Standards.  The following setback standards shall apply to all wireless communication facility installations:

A.                 Attached Wireless Communication Facilities.  Attached wireless communications facilities shall meet the setback provisions of the zoning district in which they are located.  However, an attached wireless communication facility antenna array may extend up to thirty (30) inches horizontally beyond the edge of the attachment structure if the antenna array does not encroach upon an adjoining parcel.

B.                 Wireless Communications Facilities With Support Structures.  Wireless communications facilities with support structures shall meet the setback requirements for principal structures of the underlying zoning district in which they are located.

C.                 Placement of a Support Structure Within the Setback.  Placement of a support structure for a wireless communication facility may be within the setback when adjoining property owners consent thereto and when an Iowa registered engineer certifies that the structure, in the event of failure, will not collapse upon other properties.

3.                  Landscaping.  The following landscaping requirements shall apply to all wireless communications facility installations:

A.                 New Construction.  New wireless communications facilities with support structures and attached wireless communication facilities with new building construction shall be landscaped in accordance with the applicable provisions of the landscape ordinance that may now or hereafter be adopted.

B.                 Landform Preservation.  Existing mature tree growth and natural landform on the site shall be preserved to the extent feasible; provided however, that vegetation that causes interference with the antennas or inhibits access to the equipment facility may be trimmed or removed.

C.                 Existing Vegetation.  Existing vegetation on a wireless communication facility site may be used in lieu of required landscaping where approved by the zoning administrator.

4.                  Aesthetics, Placement, Materials and Colors.  Wireless communications facilities shall be designed so as to be compatible with the existing structures and surroundings, including placement in a location which is consistent with proper functioning of the wireless communications facility, and the use of compatible or neutral colors, or camouflage technology.

5.                  Lighting and Signage.  The following lighting and signage requirements shall apply to all wireless communications facility installations:

A.                 Artificial Illumination.  Wireless communications facilities shall not be artificially illuminated, directly or indirectly, except for:

(1)        Security and safety lighting of equipment buildings if such lighting is appropriately down-shielded to keep light within the boundaries of the site; and

(2)        Such illumination of the wireless communications facility as may be required by the FAA or other applicable authority installed in a manner to minimize impacts on adjacent residences.

B.                 Signage.  Wireless communications facilities shall not display any signage, logos, decals, symbols or any messages of a commercial or noncommercial nature, except for a small message containing provider identification and emergency telephone numbers and such other information as may be required by local, State or Federal regulations governing wireless communications facilities.

6.                  Fencing.  Wireless communications facilities with support structures shall be enclosed by an opaque fence (excluding slatted chain link) not less than six (6) feet in height.  Security features may be incorporated into the buffer and landscaping requirements for the site.  Nothing herein shall prevent fencing that is necessary to meet requirements of State or Federal agencies.  Such fencing shall be deemed security fencing and permitted notwithstanding any other provisions hereof.

7.                  Radio Frequency Emissions/Sound.  The following radio frequency emissions standards shall apply to all wireless communications facility installations:

A.                 Radio Frequency Impact.  The FTA gives the FCC jurisdiction of the regulation of radio frequency (RF) emissions, and wireless communications facilities that do not exceed the FCC standards shall not be conditioned or denied on the basis of RF impact.

B.                 Sound Prohibited.  No unusual sound emissions such as alarms, bells, buzzers or the like are permitted.

8.                  Structural Integrity.  Wireless communications facilities with support structures shall be constructed to the Electronics Industries Association/Telecommunications Industries Association (EIA/TIA) 222 Revision F Standard entitled Structural Standards for Steel Antennas, Towers and Antenna Support Structures (or equivalent), as it may be updated and amended.  Each support structure shall be capable of supporting multiple antenna arrays.

9.                  Collocation Agreement.  All applicants for wireless communications facilities are required to submit a statement with the application agreeing to allow and reasonably market collocation opportunities to other wireless communications facility users.  The statement shall include the applicant's policy regarding collocation of other providers and the methodology to be used by the applicant in determining reasonable rates to be charged other providers.  The collocation agreement shall be considered a condition of issuance of a TUP (tower use permit).  A TUP shall not be issued unless the applicant agrees in writing to comply with the collocation policy outlined in Section 156.08.

156.05    REVIEW PROCESS.

1.                  Development Criteria.  The applicable development criteria referred to herein are those set forth in Section 156.04.

2.                  Permitting Procedures.  Attached wireless communications facilities with or without new building construction that meet the development criteria may be permitted by administrative review in all zoning districts except as hereinafter specified.  All monopole-type (or other tower types, if any, specified in Section 156.02) wireless communications facilities with support structures that meet the development criteria and that are located on properties in Wireless Communication Facility Overlay District 1 may be permitted by the zoning administrator as a permitted use.  All others, regardless of type or location shall be subject to the site plan review process.

3.                  Wireless Communications Facilities as a Part of a Coordinated Development Approval.  Wireless communications facilities as part of a proposed residential or nonresidential subdivision, planned unit development, site plan, rezoning, or other coordinated development approval shall be reviewed and approved through those processes.

4.                  Temporary Wireless Communications Facilities.  Temporary wireless communications facilities may be permitted by administrative approval for a term not to exceed ninety (90) days.  Once granted, a temporary wireless communications facility permit may be extended for an additional ninety (90) days upon evidence of need by the applicant. In case of emergency (e.g., storm damage to an existing tower or other circumstances resulting in the interruption of existing service) the administrative review shall be expedited to the extent feasible. Denial of a request for a temporary permit may be appealed to the Board of Adjustment.

156.06    APPROVAL PROCESS.

1.                  Application Submission.  All requests for a tower use permit, regardless of wireless communication facility type, shall submit an application in accordance with the requirements of this section.

A.                 Application Contents.  Each applicant requesting a TUP under this chapter shall submit a sealed complete set of drawings prepared by a licensed architect and engineer that will include a site plan, elevation view and other supporting drawings, calculations and other documentation showing the location and dimensions of the wireless communications facility and all improvements associated therewith, including information concerning specifications, antenna locations, equipment facility and shelters, landscaping, parking, access, fencing and, if relevant as determined by staff, topography, adjacent uses and existing vegetation.

B.                 Submission Requirements.  Application for a TUP shall be submitted to the City Clerk on forms prescribed by the City.  The application shall be accompanied by a site plan containing the information described above and a copy of the appropriate FCC license.  If Planning and Zoning Commission review is required, the application and site plan shall be placed on the next available Commission agenda in accordance with the agenda deadlines established.

C.                 Application Fees.  A plan review fee of five hundred dollars ($500.00) shall accompany each application.  These fees shall be used by the City to engage an engineer(s) or other qualified consultant(s) to review the technical aspects of the application.

2.                  Administrative Review.  The following administrative review process shall apply to all wireless communications facility applications eligible for administrative review:

A.                 Review Authority.  Review of wireless communication facilities under this section shall be conducted by the zoning administrator upon filing a wireless communication facility application.

B.                 Review Criteria.  Each application shall be reviewed for compliance with the development criteria specified in Section 156.04 of this chapter.

C.                 Timing of Decision.  The zoning administrator shall render a decision on the wireless communication facility application by written response to the applicant within ten (10) business days after receipt of the complete application, except that an extension may be agreed upon by the applicant.  Any application that is not reviewed within ten (10) business days shall be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission for review.

D.                 Deferral.  The zoning administrator may defer administrative approval of wireless communication facilities for any reason.  Deferral of administrative approval shall require submission to the Planning and Zoning Commission for review.

E.                  Application Denial.  If administrative approval is not obtained or is denied due to noncompliance with the development criteria, the applicant may appeal the denial by applying for Planning and Zoning Commission review.

F.                  Application Approval.  If the TUP application is in compliance with the development criteria and otherwise meets the requirements of this chapter, the zoning administrator shall issue a tower use permit.

3.                  Planning and Zoning Commission Review.  The following shall apply to all tower use permit applications requiring submission to the Planning and Zoning Commission:

A.                 Review Authority.  The Planning and Zoning Commission shall be the review authority for TUP applications not eligible for administrative review or otherwise referred to the commission.

B.                 Notice.  Notice of the application and the public hearing by the Planning and Zoning Commission shall be accomplished in the same manner as a site plan under the zoning ordinance.

C.                 Hearing.  The Planning and Zoning Commission shall review and consider the TUP application at a public meeting.  At the meeting, interested persons may appear and offer information in support or opposition to the proposed application.  The Planning and Zoning Commission shall consider the following in reaching a decision:

(1)        Development Criteria.  The tower use permit application shall be reviewed for compliance with the development criteria set forth in Section 156.04 of this chapter, provided that the applicable development criteria may be waived as long as the approval of the wireless communication facility meets the goals and purposes of this chapter. The Planning and Zoning Commission may recommend an alternative development criteria by specific inclusion in a motion for approval.

(2)        Tower Siting Conditions.  The Planning and Zoning Commission may impose conditions and restrictions on the application or on the premises benefited by the TUP as it deems necessary to reduce or minimize any adverse effects and to enhance the compatibility of the wireless communication facility with the surrounding property, in accordance with the purposes and intent of this chapter.  The violation of any condition shall be grounds for revocation of the TUP.  The Planning and Zoning Commission may recommend such conditions in addition to the development criteria upon the following findings:

(a)        The wireless communication facility would result in significant adverse visual impact on nearby residences.

(b)        The conditions are based upon the purpose and goals of this chapter.

(c)        The conditions are reasonable and capable of being accomplished.

(3)        Action.  Following the public meeting and presentation of evidence, the Planning and Zoning Commission shall take one of the following actions:

(a)        Recommend the application as submitted.

(b)        Recommend the application with conditions or modifications.

(c)        Defer the application for additional information or neighborhood input; or

(d)        Deny the application in writing.

D.                 Findings.  All decisions rendered by the Planning and Zoning Commission concerning a tower use permit shall be supported by written findings of fact based upon substantial evidence of record.

E.                  Timing of Decision.  The Planning and Zoning Commission shall render its decision within thirty (30) days or less of the final submission of all required application documents and technical review, however, this time may be increased due to deferrals by either the applicant or the Planning and Zoning Commission.

F.                  Appeals.  The decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission shall be referred to the City Council, which shall approve, reject or modify such decision.  Council action shall be based upon the same standards as used by the commission in its deliberations.

156.07    SHARED FACILITIES AND COLLOCATION POLICY.

1.                  Collocation.  All new wireless communication facilities shall be engineered, designed and constructed to be capable of sharing the facility with other providers, to collocate with other existing wireless communication facilities and to accommodate the future collocation of other wireless communication facilities.  A TUP shall not be issued until the applicant proposing a new wireless communications facility shall demonstrate that it has made a reasonable good faith attempt to locate its wireless communication facility onto an existing structure, if such a structure is available.  Competitive conflict and financial burden are not deemed to be adequate reasons against collocation.

2.                  All wireless communication facilities with support structures up to a height of one hundred fifty (150) feet shall be engineered and constructed to accommodate at least three (3) antenna arrays.  All wireless communication facilities with support structures up to height of more than one hundred fifty (150) feet shall be engineered and constructed to accommodate at least four (4) antenna arrays.

156.08    REMOVAL OF ABANDONED WIRELESS COMMUNICATION FACILITIES.  Any wireless communication facility that is not operated for a continuous period of twelve (12) months shall be considered abandoned, and the City, at its election, may require the wireless communication facility owner or the owner of the ground on which the tower is located, or both, to remove the wireless communication facility within ninety (90) days after notice from the City to remove the wireless communication facility.  If the abandoned wireless communication facility is not removed within ninety (90) days, the City may remove it and recover its costs from the wireless communication facility owner or owner of the property upon which the facility is located.  If there are two (2) or more users of a single wireless communication facility, this provision shall not become effective until all providers cease to use the wireless communication facility.

156.09    NONCONFORMING WIRELESS COMMUNICATION FACILITIES.  Wireless communication facilities in existence on the date of the adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter which do not comply with the requirements of this chapter (nonconforming wireless communications facility) are subject to the following provisions:

1.                  Expansion.  Nonconforming wireless communication facilities may continue in use for the purpose now used, but may not be expanded without complying with this chapter except as further provided in this section.

2.                  Additions.  Nonconforming wireless communications facilities may add additional antennas (belonging to the same provider or other providers) subject to administrative review under this chapter.

3.                  Repairs or Reconstruction.  Nonconforming wireless communications facilities which become damaged due to any reason or cause, may be repaired and restored to their former use, location, and physical dimensions subject to the provisions of this chapter.  Provided, however, that if the damage to the wireless communication facility exceeds 50 percent of replacement cost, said wireless communication facility may only be reconstructed or repaired in compliance with this chapter.

4.                  Abandoned Use.  Any nonconforming wireless communication facility not in use for twelve (12) months shall be deemed abandoned and all rights as a nonconforming use shall cease.

156.10    REVOCATION OF TOWER USE PERMIT.  Any tower use permit issued pursuant to this chapter may be revoked after a hearing as hereinafter provided.  If the zoning administrator finds that any permit holder has violated any provision of this chapter, or has failed to make good faith reasonable efforts to provide or seek collocation, the zoning administrator shall notify the permit holder in writing that the TUP is revocable due to the permit holder's noncompliance with the conditions of the permit and the zoning administrator shall convene a meeting with the permit holder no later than thirty (30) days from the date of the letter.  The zoning administrator may require the permit holder to correct the violation within a reasonable amount of time or the zoning administrator may revoke the permit. Thereafter, the permit holder may appeal such decisions to City Council.

156.11    PENALTY.  Violation of this chapter, in addition to the revocation proceedings as described above, shall subject the permit holder to the municipal infraction procedure of this Code of Ordinances.

156.12    PERMITTED USE SITES.  Any applicant desiring to locate at the following sites shall be allowed to do so as a permitted use with no review necessary beyond approval of the zoning administrator.

 

Wireless Site

Number

Field Site

Name

Recommended Communication Facility Use