Town of Ulysses, NY
Tompkins County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 212-143 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to recognize the increased demand for wireless communications transmission facilities and for the services they provide. Often these facilities require the construction of a communications tower. The intent of this article is to protect the Town's interest in siting towers in ways consistent with sound land use planning by minimizing visual and environmental effects of towers through careful design, siting, and vegetative screening; avoiding potential damage to adjacent properties from tower failure or falling debris through engineering and careful siting of tower structures and facilities; and maximizing use of any new or existing tower and encouraging the use of existing buildings and/or structures in order to reduce the number of towers needed while also allowing wireless service providers to meet their technological and service objectives for the benefit of the public.

§ 212-144 Exemptions.

For the purpose of this article, any telecommunications facility that: 1) is less than 75 feet in height and is set back from any lot line a distance equal to its height plus 10 feet; and 2) does not require use of guy wires to stabilize the antenna structure; and 3) does not have an antennae or dish that extends more than 10 feet horizontally from the tower structure nor have more than seven square feet of surface area is exempt from the requirements of this article.

§ 212-145 Definitions.

For the purpose of this article the following definitions shall apply:
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 as the telecommunications facility or tower. Examples of such structures include utility or transmission equipment, storage sheds or cabinets.
ANTENNA
A system of electrical conductors that transmit or receive radio frequency signals. Such signals shall include, but not be limited to, radio, television, cellular, paging, personal communications services and microwave communications.
CO-LOCATED 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.
HEIGHT
Height includes height of structure and any attachments on the principal structure.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES
Towers and/or antennas and accessory structures used in connection with the provision of cellular telephone service, personal communications services, radio and television broadcast services and similar broadcast services.
TOWER
A structure designed to support antennas. Towers may include freestanding towers, guyed towers, monopoles and similar structures that employ camouflage technology.

§ 212-146 Standards.

The following requirements related to project and site dimensions shall be adhered to:
A. 
Height. The tower shall be less than 100 feet in height unless a different height above that limit is demonstrated by the applicant as being necessary, and proof as to coverage needs is fully proven for additional height.
B. 
Lot. A fall zone around any tower constructed as part of a telecommunications facility must have a radius at least equal to the height of the tower and any attached antennas. The entire fall zone may not include public roads and must be located on property either owned or leased by the applicant or for which the applicant has obtained an easement, and may not, except as set forth below, contain any structure other than those associated with the telecommunications facility. If the facility is attached to an existing structure, relief may be granted by specific permission of the Planning Board, on a case-by-case basis, if it is determined by such Board after submission of competent evidence that the waiver of this requirement will not endanger the life, health, welfare or property of any person. In granting any such waiver, the Board may impose any conditions reasonably necessary to protect the public or adjacent property from potential injury.
C. 
Aesthetics and environmental considerations. Telecommunications facilities shall be located and buffered to the maximum extent that is practical and technologically feasible to help ensure compatibility with surrounding land uses. In order to minimize adverse aesthetic effects on neighboring residences, the Planning Board may impose reasonable conditions on the applicant, including the following:
(1) 
The Planning Board may require reasonable landscaping consisting of trees or shrubs to screen the base of the tower and accessory structures to the maximum extent possible from adjacent residential property. Existing on-site trees and vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible.
(2) 
The Planning Board may require that the tower be designed and sited so as to avoid, if possible, application of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lighting and painting requirements, it being generally understood that towers should not be artificially lighted except as required by the FAA.
(3) 
The tower shall be of galvanized finish or painted matte gray, unless otherwise required by the FAA, and accessory facilities should maximize use of building materials, colors and textures designed to blend with the natural surroundings.
(4) 
No tower, accessory facility, or fencing shall contain any signs not mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
(5) 
Towers shall be designed to minimize the impact on migratory birds and other wildlife.
D. 
Access and parking. A road turnaround and two parking spaces shall be provided to assure adequate emergency and public access. Maximum use of existing roads, public or private, shall be made. Road construction and public utility services at the site shall at all times minimize ground disturbance and vegetation cutting, and road grades shall closely follow natural contours to assure minimal visual disturbance and reduce the potential for soil erosion.
E. 
Safety and security.
(1) 
All towers and guy anchors, if applicable, shall be enclosed by a fence not less than six feet in height or otherwise sufficiently secured to protect them from trespassing or vandalism. The applicant must comply with all applicable state and federal regulations including, but not limited to, FAA and FCC regulations.
(2) 
Every five years the owner shall provide a certification from a qualified, licensed engineer certifying that the tower or telecommunications facility meets applicable structural safety standards.
F. 
Shared use of towers. In the interest of minimizing the number of towers, the Planning Board may require, as a condition of either site plan or tower permit approval, that the applicant indicate, in writing, a commitment to co-location of telecommunications facilities and to provide to the Planning Board's satisfaction the same.

§ 212-147 Filing application.

The applicant will submit a written application for such a permit with the Zoning Officer. The applicant will submit such information and documents as the Zoning Officer or any other officer or Town agency having jurisdiction may require. Included in these documents must be a development plan and copies of all documents submitted by the applicant to the Federal Communications Commission or any other governmental agency having jurisdiction. Furthermore, the applicant shall submit an environmental assessment form (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. In addition, each applicant shall submit to the Planning Board a site plan, prepared to scale and in sufficient detail and accuracy and including at the minimum the following materials:
A. 
Site plan.
(1) 
The applicant shall submit to the Planning Board the following materials:
(a) 
Exact location of the proposed telecommunications facility and/or tower, including geographic coordinates, together with any guy wires and guy anchors, if applicable;
(b) 
The maximum height of the proposed telecommunications facility and/or tower, to include all appurtenances;
(c) 
The details of tower type, to include engineering drawings from tower manufacturer (monopole, guyed, freestanding or other);
(d) 
Location, type and intensity of any lighting on the tower;
(e) 
Property boundaries and names of adjacent landowners;
(f) 
Proof of the landowner's consent to abide by this article if the applicant does not own the property;
(g) 
Location of all other structures on the property and all structures on any adjacent property within 100 feet of the property lines, together with the distance of those structures from any proposed tower;
(h) 
Location, nature and extent of any proposed fencing, landscaping and/or screening; and
(i) 
Location and nature of proposed utility easements and access road, if applicable.
(2) 
For the area within construction area, the applicant shall show:
(a) 
Topographical layout in ten-foot increments;
(b) 
All bodies of water and streams;
(c) 
Existing and proposed drainage;
(d) 
Proposed grading plans;
(e) 
Location of all trees over eight inches in diameter bh; and
(f) 
Construction plans and elevation drawings of the proposed project.
(3) 
At the time the applicant is notified of the public hearing date, he or she will be required to obtain signage provided by the Planning Board by way of the Zoning Officer to be posted at the site by the applicant in such a manner as to be readily visible to the public from the nearest adjacent public road at least 10 days prior to the public hearing.
B. 
Application.
(1) 
The applicant shall submit to the Planning Board the following materials:
(a) 
A report from a professional engineer, which shall:
[1] 
Describe the tower and the technical, economic and other reasons for the tower design;
[2] 
Demonstrate that the tower is structurally sound;
[3] 
Describe how many and what kind of antennas are proposed;
[4] 
Describe how many and what kind of antennas are possible on the tower;
[5] 
Demonstrate that the site can contain on site substantially all ice fall or debris from tower failure;
[6] 
Demonstrate that the proposed electromagnetic radiation will not exceed the levels for the environment recommended by the Federal Communications Commission in FCC 96-326, Table 1, "Limits for Maximum Permissible Exposure," and including current limits set by the FCC at time of application, at the following locations:
[a] 
Base of the tower or point near the tower with the highest radiation levels;
[b] 
The nearest point on the property line; and
[c] 
The nearest habitable space regularly occupied by people.
(b) 
A copy of the applicant's FCC license, including any requirements from the FAA.
(c) 
A copy of the certificate of need issued by the Public Service Commission.
(d) 
A letter of intent committing the tower owner applicant and/or landowner to negotiate in good faith for shared use by third parties. This letter, which shall be filed with the Building Inspector prior to the issuance of a building permit (assuming the telecommunications tower is approved), shall commit the tower owner and his or her successors in interest to:
[1] 
Respond in a timely, comprehensive manner to a request for information from a potential shared-use applicant;
[2] 
Negotiate in good faith for shared use by third parties;
[3] 
Allow shared use if an applicant agrees, in writing, to pay charges; and
[4] 
Make no more than a reasonable charge for shared use, based on generally accepted accounting principles. The charge may include, but is not limited to, a pro rata share of the cost of site selection, planning, project administration, land costs, site design, construction and maintenance, financing, return on equity and depreciation, and all of the costs of adapting the tower or equipment to accommodate a shared user without causing electromagnetic interference or causing uses on the site to emit electromagnetic radiation in excess of levels described above.
(e) 
Evidence that existing facilities or structures, within the technically feasible area, do not have space on which planned equipment can be placed so as to function effectively. This shall include the following:
[1] 
The applicant shall contact the owners of all existing or approved towers within a ten-mile radius of a proposed site;
[2] 
The applicant shall provide each contacted owner with the engineer's report required above; and
[3] 
The applicant shall request each contacted owner to assess the following:
[a] 
Whether the existing tower could accommodate the antenna to be attached to the proposed tower without causing structural instability or electromagnetic interference;
[b] 
If the antenna cannot be accommodated, assess whether the existing tower could be structurally strengthened or whether the antennas and related equipment could be protected from interference;
[c] 
Whether the owner is willing to make space available; and
[d] 
The projected cost of shared use.
(f) 
Visual environmental assessment form (EAF) addendum to the full EAF.
[1] 
The applicant shall indicate how the structure can be blended with the viewshed, including any attempts at camouflage;
[2] 
The Planning Board may require submittal of a more detailed analysis based on the results of the visual environmental assessment form addendum.
(g) 
Application fee as established by Town Board resolution.
(h) 
Application shall provide a five-year plan for build-out with propagation studies.
(i) 
Analysis of alternative sites that includes a preliminary viewshed analysis.
(j) 
Names, addresses, and phone numbers of the applicant, landowner, engineering consultant, and service provider.
(2) 
The Building Inspector will not be required to proceed under this chapter until an application is complete and application fee is paid as set by the Town Board.

§ 212-148 Planning Board procedure.

A. 
Procedures.
(1) 
After the applicant has filed all documents and supplied all the information required by the Building Inspector, but not later than 30 days from the date a completed application is filed, the Building Inspector shall file such application and all other documents with the Chair of the Planning Board, who shall place the application on the agenda of the next meeting of the Planning Board.
(2) 
The application shall be reviewed at such meeting and the Chair shall set a date for a public hearing, notice of which shall be posted and published at least once in the official newspaper, the first publication of which shall be at least 10 days prior to the date set for the public hearing, and mailed to owners of property lying within 1,000 feet of the proposed site and to such other owners of property in the vicinity of the proposed site as the Chair of the Planning Board shall determine, at the applicant's cost. It shall be sufficient if the determination of the ownership is based on the current assessment roll and the assessment map, but the failure to notify all such owners shall not render defective any action of the Planning Board.
(3) 
The date of said public hearing shall be within the requirements set forth in Town Law and the State Environmental Quality Review Act from the date on which the completed application was filed with the Chair of the Planning Board.
(4) 
The Planning Board may at any stage of the proceedings require additional information, documents or testimony, and may adjourn final consideration of its recommendation for a reasonable period for the foregoing purpose and for further study and review, but no more than 60 days after the first date set for the public hearing.
(5) 
If the Planning Board requires the assistance of a consultant to evaluate the application, the reasonable fees for consultation required by the Planning Board to evaluate the application shall be borne by the applicant.
(6) 
The special permit may be granted, denied, or granted with conditions by the Planning Board.
B. 
Planning Board criteria. The Planning Board, before rendering its decision, shall consider the following standards and matters:
(1) 
The proposed structure is necessary to meet current or reasonably expected demands for services in the community.
(2) 
The application significantly demonstrates that alternative sites were evaluated.
(3) 
The application conforms to all federal and state laws and all applicable rules or regulations promulgated by the FCC, the FAA and other federal agencies having jurisdiction.
(4) 
The proposed structure is considered a public utility in the State of New York.
(5) 
The proposed structure is sited, designed and constructed in a manner which minimizes:
(a) 
Visual impact to the extent practical; and
(b) 
Adverse impact upon migratory birds and other birds and wildlife.
(6) 
The application complies with all other requirements of this chapter, unless expressly superseded herein.
(7) 
The site is the most appropriate choice among the sites available within the technically feasible area for the location of a telecommunications facility.
(8) 
In considering construction of a new tower, such tower is designed to accommodate future shared use by at least two other telecommunication service providers. Any subsequent location of telecommunication equipment by other service providers on existing towers specifically designed for shared use shall not require a new or modified special permit if there would be no increase in the height of the tower and if the tower's original design was adequate to accommodate the proposed additional equipment. However, the proposed structure will require a site plan review and issuance of a building permit before construction occurs. At the discretion of the Zoning Officer there may be required, before issuance of a building permit, an engineer's certificate or report to the effect that with the proposed additional equipment the existing tower continues to be safe and meets all then currently applicable design and construction criteria in accordance with generally accepted good engineering practices and generally accepted industry standards.
(9) 
The size of the site chosen for the proposed use. The tower must be located on an unoccupied parcel having an area of sufficient size that no part of the tower will fall on a neighboring property should the structure collapse.

§ 212-149 Building permits.

No building permit shall be issued until final approval has been granted to the applicant by any county, state and federal agency having jurisdiction in the matter and any and all other permits which may be required have been issued to the applicant.

§ 212-150 Limited permit.

Any permit granted under this article shall be valid only for the dimensions and number of antennas or towers in the original application. A new application must be submitted to the Planning Board for any changes.

§ 212-151 Removal provisions.

A. 
At the time of submittal of the application for a special permit for a telecommunications facility, the applicant shall submit an agreement to remove all antennas, driveways, structures, buildings, equipment sheds, lighting utilities, fencing, gates, accessory equipment or structures, as well as any tower(s) designated solely for use within a telecommunications facility if such facility becomes technologically obsolete or ceases to perform its original intended function for more than 12 consecutive months. Upon removal of said facility, the land shall be restored to its previous condition, including, but not limited to, the seeding of exposed soils.
B. 
At the time of obtaining a building permit, the applicant must provide a financial security bond for removal of the telecommunications facility and restoration of the property, with the municipality as the assignee, in an amount approved by the Planning Board, but not less than $50,000.
C. 
In instances of modification of the special permit, the Planning Board may adjust the required amount of the financial security bond to adequately cover increases in the cost of the removal of the telecommunications facility and the restoration of the property.