Town of Sweden, NY
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Sweden 8-26-1997; amended in its entirety 8-22-2006 by L.L. No. 3-2006. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 175.

§ 166-1 Intent.

The intent of these regulations is to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of Sweden. Specifically, these regulations are intended to:
A. 
Provide standards for the safe provision of telecommunications consistent with applicable federal and state regulations.
B. 
Minimize the number of telecommunications towers in the community by encouraging shared use of existing and future towers and the use of existing tall buildings and other high structures.
C. 
Minimize adverse visual effects from telecommunications facilities by requiring careful siting, visual impact assessment and appropriate screening.

§ 166-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:
ACCESSORY FACILITY
Any facility or structure serving or being used in conjunction with a telecommunications tower and located on the same lot as the telecommunications tower. Examples of such facilities include transmission equipment and storage sheds, buildings or cabinets.
ANTENNA
A system of electrical conductors that transmit or receive electronic frequency signals. Such signals shall include but not be limited to radio, television, cellular, paging and personal communication services (PCS).
TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITY
Telecommunications towers, antennas and accessory facilities used in connection with the provision of radio, television, cellular telephone, PCS, paging and similar services.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS TOWER or TOWER
A structure on which transmitting and/or receiving antennas are located. It includes, without limit, freestanding towers, guyed towers, monopoles and other similar structures.

§ 166-3 Applicability.

A. 
No telecommunications facility shall be used, erected, moved, reconstructed, changed or altered, except after approval of a conditional use permit, site plan and building permit and in conformity with these regulations.
B. 
These regulations shall apply to all zoning districts.
C. 
No existing structure shall be modified to serve as a telecommunications facility unless in conformity with these regulations. An antenna that is to be attached to an existing smokestack, water tower or other structure is permitted in all zoning districts. The building permit application will include a structural analysis/report verifying the ability of the structure to handle the antenna. The height of the new antenna shall not extend above the existing height of the existing structure by more than 50 feet.
D. 
Land use rankings. Sites for the location of telecommunications facilities will be ranked according to the following scale, i.e., one, most desirable, to six, least desirable:
(1) 
Existing antenna towers and sites suitable for collocation.
(2) 
Municipal or governmentally owned property.
(3) 
Industrial/light industrial districts.
(4) 
Commercial districts.
(5) 
Rural low density.
(6) 
Residentially developed high density.
E. 
Exemptions to these regulations are limited to:
(1) 
New uses which are accessory to residential uses, such as satellite dishes and television antennas.
(2) 
Amateur radio operators as licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
(3) 
Lawful or approved uses existing prior to the effective date of these regulations.
F. 
Where these regulations conflict with other laws and regulations of Sweden, the more restrictive shall apply, except for tower height restrictions which are governed by these conditional use standards.

§ 166-4 General requirements.

A. 
Conditional use permit.
(1) 
No conditional use permit or renewal thereof or modification of a current conditional use permit relating to a telecommunications facility shall be authorized by the Town Board unless it finds that such telecommunications facility:
(a) 
Is necessary to meet the current or expected demand for service.
(b) 
Conforms to all applicable regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other federal agencies.
(c) 
Is considered a public utility in the State of New York.
(d) 
Is designed and constructed in a manner which minimizes visual impact to the extent practical.
(e) 
Is the most appropriate site among those available within the technically feasible area for the location of a telecommunications facility.
(f) 
When including the construction of a tower, such tower is designed to accommodate future shared use by at least one other telecommunication service provider.
(2) 
Exception. Any subsequent location of telecommunications equipment by other service providers on existing towers specifically designed for shared use shall not require a new or modified conditional use permit if there would be no increase in the height of the tower. However, the additional equipment will require site plan approval and a building permit.
B. 
The shared use of existing telecommunications facilities or other structures shall be preferred to the construction of new facilities.
(1) 
Any conditional use permit application, renewal or modification thereof shall include proof that reasonable efforts have been made to collocate onto an existing telecommunications facility or upon an existing structure, such as a silo, water tank or emissions stack.
(2) 
The application shall include an adequate inventory report specifying existing telecommunications towers and structures exceeding 75% of the height of the proposed tower within the applicant's cell grid area. The inventory report shall contain an evaluation of opportunities for shared use as an alternative to the proposed location.
(3) 
The applicant must demonstrate that the proposed telecommunications facility cannot be accommodated on existing telecommunications facility sites in the inventory due to one of the following reasons:
(a) 
The planned structure would exceed the structural capacity of existing and approved telecommunications facilities, or other structures, considering existing and planned uses for those facilities.
(b) 
The planned equipment would cause radio frequency interference with other existing or planned equipment which cannot be reasonably prevented.
(c) 
Existing or approved telecommunications facilities or structures do not have space on which proposed equipment can be placed so it can function effectively and reasonably.
(d) 
Other technical reasons make it impractical to place the equipment proposed by the applicant on existing facilities or structures.
(e) 
The property owner or owner of the existing telecommunications facility or other structure refuses to allow such collocation.
C. 
Site plan. The site plan shall show elevations, height, width, depth, types of materials, color schemes and other relevant information for all existing and proposed structures, equipment, parking and other improvements. The site plan shall also include a description of the proposed telecommunications facility and such other information that the Town Board and/or Planning Board requires. See § 175-11, Site plan review.
D. 
A completed environmental assessment form (EAF), including a visual EAF addendum, pursuant to State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) shall accompany any conditional use permit or site plan application, modification or renewal thereof. Particular attention shall be given to the visibility of the facility from key viewpoints identified in the visual EAF, existing tree lines and proposed elevations.
E. 
Landscape plan. A landscape plan must accompany any conditional use permit or site plan application, modification or renewal thereof. The plan shall delineate the existing trees or areas of existing trees to be preserved, the location and dimensions of proposed planting areas, including the size, type and number of trees and shrubs to be planted, curbs, fences, screening elevations of fences and material used. No certificate of compliance shall be issued until landscaping is planted as approved or until a satisfactory landscape bond is posted.
F. 
A safety analysis of the electromagnetic environment surrounding the proposed telecommunications facility must accompany any conditional use permit or site plan application, modification or renewal thereof. The safety analysis shall be prepared by a qualified electromagnetic engineering specialist or health professional qualified to produce such analysis. The safety analysis must demonstrate that the general public electromagnetic radiation exposure does not exceed the standards set by federal regulations.
G. 
Building permit. See § 175-25, Buildings and structures, and § 175-13, Certificate of occupancy and certificate of compliance.

§ 166-5 Fees.

A. 
A fee established by the Town Board shall be paid with the application for every proposed use under this chapter.
B. 
The Town Board may, at the expense of the applicant, employ its own consulting assistance to review the findings and conclusions of the safety analysis, visual analysis or structure inspection provided by the applicant. As security for this, an applicant shall deposit the sum of $2,500 with the Town at the time of application.
C. 
Any part of said deposit which is not used by the Town will be refunded to the applicant at the time a certificate of compliance is issued. No certificate of compliance shall be issued until all unpaid fees have been paid.

§ 166-6 Lot standards.

A. 
A lot leased or owned for the purpose of construction of a tower as part of a telecommunications facility shall not result in the creation of a nonconforming lot.
B. 
All telecommunications facilities shall comply with the greater of the setback standards of the underlying zoning district, the fall zone of the tower or the height of the tower.
C. 
The entire fall zone may not include public roads and must be located entirely within property either owned or leased by the applicant or for which the applicant has obtained an easement and may not contain any structure other than those associated with the telecommunications facility.

§ 166-7 Lighting, screening and aesthetics.

A. 
Towers shall not be artificially lighted and marked beyond requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However, an applicant may be required to add FAA-style lighting and marking if, in the judgment of the Town Board, such a requirement would be of direct benefit to public safety.
B. 
The use of any portion of a telecommunications facility for signs, promotional or advertising purposes, including but not limited to company name, phone numbers, banners, streamers or balloons, is prohibited.
C. 
The facility shall have the least practical visual effect on the environment, as determined by the Town Board. Any tower that is not subject to FAA marking pursuant to Subsection A of this section shall:
(1) 
Have a galvanized finish or shall be painted gray above the surrounding tree line and gray or green below the tree line, as deemed appropriate by the Town Board; or
(2) 
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.
D. 
Accessory facilities shall maximize the use of building materials, colors and textures designed to blend in with the natural surroundings.
E. 
In addition to a visual EAF addendum, the Town Board may require visual and aesthetic information as it deems appropriate on a case-by-case basis. Such additional information may include, among other things, line-of-sight drawings and/or visual simulations.
F. 
Proposed telecommunications facilities shall have appropriate vegetative screening around the tower base area and any accessory facilities to screen their view from neighboring residences, recreation areas or public roads. Such screening shall include the maximum feasible retention of existing vegetation. The Town Board may similarly require screening adjacent to waterways, landmarks, refuges, community facilities or conservation or historic areas within common view of the public.

§ 166-8 Access and parking.

A. 
Accessways shall make maximum use of existing public or private roads to the extent practical. New accessways constructed solely for telecommunications facilities must be at least 20 feet but no more than 30 feet wide and closely follow natural contours to assure minimal visual disturbance and reduce soil erosion potential.
B. 
The road surface (driveway) shall be centered within accessways and shall not comprise more than 60% of the width of the accessway.
C. 
Parking areas shall be sufficient to accommodate the greatest number of service vehicles expected on the premises at any one time.
D. 
Driveways or parking areas shall provide adequate interior turnaround, such that service vehicles will not have to back out onto a public thoroughfare.
E. 
Equipment or vehicles not used in direct support, renovation, additions or repair of any telecommunications facility shall not be stored or parked on the facility site.

§ 166-9 Security.

A. 
Towers and accessory facilities shall be surrounded by a fence or wall at least eight feet in height of a reasonable design approved by the Town Board, but with limited visual impact. Barbed wire is not to be used in residential areas or on public property unless specifically permitted by the Town Board as part of site plan review and conditional use approval.
B. 
Motion-activated or staff-activated security lighting around the base of a tower or accessory facilities may be provided if such lighting does not project off the site. Such lighting should only occur when the area within the fenced perimeter has been entered.
C. 
There shall be no permanent climbing pegs within 30 feet of the ground of any tower.
D. 
A locked gate at the junction of the accessway and a public thoroughfare may be required to obstruct entry by unauthorized vehicles. Such gate must not protrude into the public right-of-way.

§ 166-10 Engineering and maintenance.

A. 
All telecommunications facilities shall be built, operated and maintained to acceptable industry standards, including but not limited to the most recent applicable standards of the Institute of Electronic and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
B. 
All telecommunications facilities shall be inspected at least every second year for structural integrity by a New York State licensed professional engineer. A copy of the inspection report shall be submitted to the Code Enforcement Officer.

§ 166-11 Removal.

A. 
The applicant shall submit an agreement, in writing, to remove all towers, antennas, accessory facilities, etc., if such facilities become technically obsolete or cease to be used for its originally intended purpose for more than 12 consecutive months. Upon removal of said facilities, the land shall be restored to its previous condition, including but not limited to the seeding of exposed soil.
B. 
The applicant must submit an analysis, certified by a New York State licensed professional engineer, of the cost of removal of the telecommunications facility and surrounding property restorations.
C. 
Prior to obtaining a building permit, the applicant must provide a financial security bond for the removal of the telecommunications facility, with the Town of Sweden as the designated assignee, in an amount approved by the Town Engineer, Town Attorney and/or Town Board, but not less than $100,000.

§ 166-12 Penalties for offenses.

Violation of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both.