Borough of Fort Lee, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[1]
Editor's Note: This article was formerly included as Ch. 141, Antennas, derived from Ch. XXV of the Revised General Ordinances of the Borough of Fort Lee, 1978, adopted 3-1-1979. Ordinance No. 2001-51, adopted 12-13-2001, provided for its relocation to this chapter.
A. 
For the health, safety and general protection of the residents of the Borough of Fort Lee, the Mayor and Council are desirous of regulating the construction and maintenance of antennas and connected equipment and/or appurtenances in the Borough of Fort Lee.
B. 
In that regard the Borough of Fort Lee had adopted this article providing for the regulation of satellite dish antennas.
C. 
Pursuant to the regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission, specifically 47 C.F.R. § 25.104, any state or local zoning ordinance that differentiates between satellite receive-only antennas and other antennas is preempted unless the ordinance has clearly defined health, safety or aesthetic objectives and the ordinance does not impose unreasonable limitation on, or prevent reception of, satellite delivered signals by receive-only antennas or impose costs on users of such antennas that are excessive in light of the purchase and installation cost of said antennas.
D. 
The Borough of Fort Lee desires to regulate all antennas in a manner consistent with the goals and objectives of federal law.
E. 
Reasonably accommodate cellular telecommunications as may be required by the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 and by the Federal Communications Commission.
[Added 12-13-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-51]
F. 
Minimize the number of antennas, towers or monopoles in the Borough and to encourage as an alternative the installation of cellular telecommunications antennas at or near the top of existing tall structures in certain zones.
[Added 12-13-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-51]
G. 
Encourage the collocation of cellular telecommunications antennas on as few structures as necessary, rather than locating such antennas each on separate structures.
[Added 12-13-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-51]
H. 
Mitigate the visual impacts from cellular telecommunications antennas in all areas through proper location and through the use of creative and compatible design.
[Added 12-13-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-51]
I. 
Protect residential areas and schools and parks from encroachment by incompatible uses, specifically cellular telecommunications antennas, and to provide for the appropriate separation of residential uses and cellular telecommunications antennas.
[Added 12-13-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-51]
J. 
Avoid the potential damages to adjacent properties from tower or antenna failure or from falling ice from such structures through stringent engineering and siting of tower structures.
[Added 12-13-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-51]
[Amended 12-13-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-51]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ANTENNA
Any exterior transmitting or receiving device mounted on a tower, building or structure and used in communications that radiate or capture electromagnetic waves, digital signals, analog signals, radio frequencies (excluding radar signals), wireless telecommunications signals or other communication signals.
COMMUNICATION TOWER
Includes any and all antennas or towers, as defined in this section, together with other accessory structures and equipment associated therewith.
MOUNTING EQUIPMENT
Structures, supports or other equipment used to attach an antenna to the side or roof of a building or other structure.
[Added 6-12-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-18]
PREEXISTING TOWERS AND PREEXISTING ANTENNAS
Any tower or antenna for which a building permit has been properly issued, or for which a contract, lease or other agreement has been awarded or entered into by the Borough Council, prior to the effective date of this section, including permitted towers or antennas that have not yet been constructed so long as such approval is current and not expired.
RF-PENETRABLE MATERIAL
A material that is opaque to the visible light spectrum but can be penetrated by radio frequency waves.
[Added 6-12-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-18]
TOWER
Any structure that is designed and constructed primarily for the purpose of supporting one or more antennas for telephone, radio and similar communication purposes, including self-supporting lattice towers, guyed towers or monopole towers. The term includes radio and television transmission towers, microwave towers, common-carrier towers, cellular telephone towers, alternative tower structures, and the like. The term shall include the structure and any support thereof.
The construction, erection, maintenance or outdoor storage of any antenna and structural supports is prohibited except as set forth herein.
All such equipment shall require a permit issued by the Construction Official of the Borough of Fort Lee. The applicant shall file an application on a form prescribed by the Construction Official which shall show the location, dimensions and manner of securing said antenna.
[Amended 12-13-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-51]
Cellular telecommunications antennas shall be permitted in commercial districts within the Borough, if attached at or near the top of an existing structure, only if the following requirements are complied with:
A. 
All towers and antennas shall be subject to these regulations.
B. 
Towers and antennas shall be regulated and permitted pursuant to this article, and shall not be regulated or permitted as essential services, public or private utilities.
C. 
An antenna is only permitted as an accessory use on a lot that contains a principal commercial structure.
D. 
All antennas shall be secured in a reasonable manner in consideration of the height, weight, other dimensions and anticipated wind resistance of the antenna.
E. 
No antenna shall be more than 10 feet in height, as measured from the ground if ground-mounted, or 10 feet in height above the roof of the building if roof-mounted.
F. 
No cellular telecommunications antenna shall be placed or erected within 300 feet of any school, park or playground. No cellular telecommunications antenna shall be placed or erected in any residential zone within the Borough of Fort Lee.
G. 
Demonstration of need and minimal negative impact. The applicant shall be required to demonstrate that the development is the minimal necessary to provide adequate communications as may be authorized by the Federal Communications Commission. The applicant shall also demonstrate that the development results in the minimal negative impact to the community and surrounding neighborhood. As part of this requirement, the applicant shall demonstrate at least, but not necessarily limited to, the following:
(1) 
That the area to be served by the antenna(s) does not presently have adequate cellular telecommunications available from the provider as required by the Federal Communications Commission and that the proposed antenna(s) will remedy such deficiency.
(2) 
That the applicant is a licensed provider of cellular telecommunications services by the Federal Communications Commission and that all requisite franchises including, but not limited to, franchises from other communications carriers, have been obtained for provision of such services.
(3) 
That collocation of the antenna on other existing or pending structures, either within or outside the Borough of Fort Lee, is either not practical in order to provide adequate communication or that the visual impact to the community from the proposed tower and/or antenna on the site is less than would exist at such alternative locations. The applicant shall submit an inventory of all existing antenna towers, building-mounted antennas or sites approved or pending approval, as well as all other tall buildings, water towers, utility towers and similar structures that could theoretically serve as an alternative location for the proposed antenna. The applicant shall also identify the various cellular telecommunications service providers within such distance and the type and location of the antennas of such providers within the aforesaid area.
(4) 
That the design and technology proposed is the least visually intrusive of various suitable designs and technologies. Evaluation of alternative technologies shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the use of digital technology, the use of a cable microcell network using multiple low power transmitters and receivers attached to a wire line and the use of more numerous, but lower in height, antennas.
H. 
Mitigation of visual impact. All cellular telecommunications antennas shall be designed to mitigate negative visual impacts, as required below:
(1) 
The base of any antenna support structure and any structures accessory to or servicing the tower and antenna structure, except for buildings, shall be screened from the street and adjacent properties in a manner acceptable to the Board.
(2) 
If deemed necessary by the Board to mitigate the visual impact of the antenna and related structures, the color, materials and design of the entire antenna and related structures shall be required to be modified in appearance so as to blend in with the surrounding environment, as determined by the Board to be appropriate in the particular situation.
(3) 
The buffer requirements of § 410-33 shall apply.
I. 
Parking. Adequate parking shall be provided for the use as determined by the Board.
J. 
Periodic inspection/proof of need. The applicant shall be required to submit to the Zoning Officer annual certifications that the installed equipment has been inspected and that it continues to meet all applicable safety standards and continues to comply with all the requirements of approval. In the event that safety standards and requirements are no longer complied with, the applicant shall be required to correct such deficiencies or to remove the antennas and related structures, as applicable.
K. 
Removal upon termination of use. All cellular telecommunications antennas and related structures and equipment shall be removed when same are unused or abandoned. Such removal shall take place within six months of such lack of use or abandonment. A copy of the relevant portions of a signed lease or deed restriction, as applicable, which requires removal of the antenna and related structures and equipment as required shall be deemed to be a violation of this chapter and shall be subject to the penalties and remedies set forth by this chapter.
[Added 12-13-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-51[1]]
In addition to the general requirements for cellular telecommunications antennas in § 410-78 above, the following additional requirements shall apply to freestanding cellular telecommunications antennas:
A. 
Freestanding cellular communications antennas shall be permitted only in the C-5 Zone District.
B. 
No freestanding tower or antenna structure shall exceed 120 feet above the normal grade at the base of such tower or structure. Any buildings or equipment accessory to or servicing the cellular telecommunications tower or antenna shall conform to the height requirements otherwise applicable in the zone district.
C. 
Any freestanding tower or antenna structure shall be set back from any property line a distance equal to or greater than the height of the tower and antenna. Any buildings or equipment accessory to or servicing the cellular telecommunications tower or antenna shall conform to the setback requirements otherwise applicable in the zone district.
D. 
Any proposed cellular telecommunications antenna and related structures shall be designed, structurally, electrically and in all respects, to accommodate both the applicant's antennas and auditional antennas that may be installed in the future by the applicant or other telecommunications service providers as required below, unless the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Board that such collocation is not feasible or necessary to minimize the number or visible impact of future antennas.
(1) 
The antenna shall provide space for the antennas and related structures of at least two additional users if the antenna is over 100 feet in height.
(2) 
The antenna shall provide space for the antennas and related structures of at least one additional user if the antenna is over 60 feet and equal to or less than 100 feet in height.
(3) 
The antennas and related structures shall be designed for future rearrangement of antennas and to accept antennas mounted at varying heights.
(4) 
The applicant shall provide a letter of commitment, submitted prior to any approval by the Board, to lease excess space on the facility to other potential users at reasonable rental rates and on reasonable terms. The letter shall commit the owner of the antenna and related structures and equipment, as well as any successors in interest.
(5) 
If the foregoing design for collocation requires additional antenna height or structures beyond that necessary for a single user installation or beyond that permitted above, the Board, in determining the acceptable design, shall balance the benefits and probability of collocation against any detriments resulting from such additional antenna height or structures and may waive such colic cation requirement if the detriments to the public welfare outweigh the benefits.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former § 141-6, Permit fee, and § 141-7, Other ordinances.
In addition to the general requirements for cellular telecommunications antennas in §§ 410-78 and 410-79 above, the following additional requirements shall apply to cellular telecommunications antennas mounted on an existing structure:
A. 
The existing structure shall be at least 40 feet in height.
B. 
The antenna(s) shall be located at or near the top of the existing structure.
C. 
The height of such antenna and related structures above the ground shall not exceed the height above the ground of the existing structure in the location of the antenna by more than 10 feet.
D. 
Visibility and screening requirements for antennas and mounting equipment. All antennas and mounting equipment installed on buildings within the Borough of Fort Lee shall be designed to have the least visual impact from all street rights-of-way and adjacent properties.
[Amended 6-12-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-18]
(1) 
Antennas and mounting equipment that are attached to a roof shall be sited near the center of the roof, if the roof is flat, or shall be integrated with elements of the roof design so as to minimize visibility from street rights-of-way and adjacent properties if the roof is pitched. Said equipment shall be set back from the building facade by a distance greater than or equal to the total height of the equipment. All rooftop antennas and mounting equipment shall be fully concealed with architectural screening that matches the color, texture and quality of the building, with the exception that whip antennas may extend above the screening so long as all mounting equipment is fully screened. All screening shall be constructed of materials that match those used on the exterior of the building or with RF-penetrable materials of similar texture. In lieu of screening, antennas and mounting equipment may be colored to match the exterior of the building if it can be demonstrated that the antennas and mounting equipment alone would be less visually distinct from the building than the architectural screening that would otherwise be required.
(2) 
Antennas and mounting equipment that are attached to the side of a building shall be integrated with architectural elements on the building, such as window design or decorative features, or shall be screened by siding or other materials matching the building exterior or shall otherwise utilize elements of design, material, shape and color so as not to be visibly distinct from the building exterior.
E. 
Rooftop mechanical equipment and utility equipment. All rooftop mechanical and utility equipment shall conform with the visibility and screening requirements in § 410-33.1.
[Added 6-12-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-18]