[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Liverpool 9-21-1998 by L.L. No. 4-1998 (Ch. 122 of the 1987 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Zoning — See Ch. 380.
The Village of Liverpool recognizes the increased demand for wireless communications transmitting facilities and the need for the services they provide. Often these facilities require the construction of a communications tower. The intent of this chapter is to protect the Village's interest in siting towers in a manner consistent with sound land use planning by minimizing visual 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 maximizing use of any new or existing tower and encouraging the use of existing buildings and/or structures 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.
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 as the telecommunications facility or tower. Examples of such structures include utility or transmission equipment, storage sheds or cabinets.
- A system of electrical conductors that transmit or receive radio frequency signals. Such signals shall include but not be limited to radio, televisions, cellular, paging, PCS and microwave communications.
- 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 the provision of cellular telephone service, personal communications services (PCS), paging services, radio and television broadcast services and similar broadcast services.
- A structure designed to support antennas. It includes, without limit, freestanding towers, guyed towers, monopoles and similar structures which employ camouflage technology.
Collocated antennas. Telecommunications facilities comprised of collocated antennas utilizing existing buildings or structures other than towers shall be permitted in any district upon the issuance of a building permit.
New towers. Telecommunications facilities requiring construction of a new tower also shall be deemed a permitted use in any district, but shall require the following permits and/or approvals:
On municipal- or government-owned property at any height, a tower shall be permitted upon the issuance of a building permit in accordance with the standards set forth by Chapter 380, Zoning, and upon site plan approval by the Planning Board.
In industrial and agricultural districts where the proposed tower is 150 feet or less in height, or in any nonresidential district where the proposed tower location is more than 500 feet from any adjoining residential use and the proposed tower is 150 feet or less in height, site plan approval from the Planning Board shall be required in accordance with the standards set forth in this chapter and in Chapter 380, Zoning.
In all other districts and locations, telecommunications facilities requiring construction of a new tower shall require, in addition to site plan approval, a tower permit from the Planning Board in accordance with the standards set forth in this chapter.
For each telecommunications facility requiring only a building permit, the applicant shall submit a written application and such other supporting materials as are generally required for such permits under Chapter 380, Zoning.
For each telecommunications facility requiring a tower permit, the applicant shall submit a written application for such permit to the Planning Board on a form prescribed by the Planning Board.
Each applicant for a telecommunications facility, other than a telecommunications facility requiring only the issuance of a building permit, shall submit an environmental assessment form (long form) with the visual addendum, and an analysis demonstrating that 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 a site plan prepared to scale and in sufficient detail and accuracy, showing, at a minimum:
The exact location of the proposed telecommunications facility and/or tower, together with any guy wires and guy anchors, if applicable.
The maximum height of the proposed telecommunications facility and/or tower.
A 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.
Proof of the landowners' consent if the applicant does not own the property.
The location of all other structures on the property and all structures on any adjacent property within 10 feet of the property lines, together with the distance of those structures to any proposed tower.
The location, nature and extent of any proposed fencing, landscaping and/or screening.
The location and nature of proposed utility easements and access road, if applicable.)
The following criteria and additional requirements shall apply to each application for site plan approval for a telecommunications facility:
All 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 residential property line equal to the tower height and setback of at least 50 feet from any other adjacent property line shall be deemed adequate. The required setbacks may be decreased in those instances when the applicant has submitted plans for a tower designed to minimize damage to adjacent property in the event of a structural failure.
Accessory structures and guy anchors must comply with minimum setback requirements of the underlying district.
Future shared use of new towers. In the interest of minimizing the number of new towers, the Planning Board may require, as a condition of either site plan or tower permit approval, that the applicant indicate, in writing, its commitment to collocation of telecommunications facilities and that the applicant will design the tower to have a minimum height and carrying capacity needed to provide future shared usage. The condition for collocation may not be required if the applicant demonstrates that provisions of future shared usage are not feasible or impose an unnecessary burden based upon the number of Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) licenses foreseeably available for the area; the kind of tower site and structure proposed; the number of existing and potential licensees without tower spaces; available spaces on other existing and approved towers; and potential adverse visual impacts by a tower designed for shared usage.
Aesthetics. Telecommunications facilities shall be located and buffered to the maximum extent which is practical and technologically feasible to help ensure compatibility with surrounding land uses. In order to minimize adverse aesthetic effects on neighboring residences to the extent possible, the Planning Board may impose reasonable conditions on the applicant, including the following:
The Planning Board may require reasonable landscaping consisting of trees or shrubs to screen the base of the tower and accessory structures to the extent possible from adjacent residential property. Existing on-site trees and vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible.
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.
The tower shall be of a galvanized finish or painted matte grey 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.
No tower shall contain any signs of advertising devices.
Traffic access and safety.
A road turnaround and two parking spaces shall be provided to assure adequate emergency and service access. Maximum use of existing roads, public or private, shall be made. Road construction 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 soil erosion potential.
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.
The applicant shall provide a certification from a qualified, licensed engineer, certifying that the tower or telecommunications facility meets applicable structural safety standards and upon operation does not interfere with local radio and/or television frequencies.
Removal of obsolete/unused facilities. The applicant shall agree, in writing, to remove the tower or antennas if the telecommunications facility becomes obsolete or ceases to be used for its intended purpose for 12 consecutive months. Removal of such obsolete and/or unused towers or antennas shall take place within six months of cessation of use. Such agreement shall also include a commitment by the applicant to impose a 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.
Public involvement. The Planning Board shall notify adjacent property owners within 500 feet of any application for any telecommunications facility permit and shall allow input from such property owners upon its site plan review.
The following criteria and additional requirements shall apply to each application for a tower permit:
Height. The building height regulations otherwise applicable in the underlying district shall not apply to towers, provided that the applicant submits sufficient information to justify the proposed height as the minimum necessary to achieve its coverage objectives. In no event, however, shall any tower exceed a height of 250 feet without first obtaining a height variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Shared use of existing towers and/or structures. At all times, shared use of existing towers and/or structures, e.g., municipal water tank, buildings, towers, etc., shall be preferred to the construction of new towers. An applicant for a tower permit shall present a report inventorying existing towers and/or structures within a reasonable distance of the proposed site and outlining opportunities for shared use of existing facilities as an alternative to a proposed new tower. The applicant shall submit documentation demonstrating good faith efforts to secure shared use on existing towers or structures, as well as documentation of the technical, physical and/or financial reasons why shared usage is not proposed. Written request for shared use shall be provided where applicable. The applicant shall also demonstrate efforts to locate a new tower on the same site as an existing tower or structure, if it is not collocating on the existing tower or structure.
The following types of telecommunications facilities are not subject to the provisions of this chapter:
Antennas used solely for residential household television and radio reception.
Satellite antennas measuring two meters or less in diameter and located in commercial districts and satellite antennas one meter or less in diameter, regardless of location (NOTE: FCC Rule Regarding Preemption of Local Zoning Regulations for Satellite Antennas, 47 CFR Part 25.)
In addition, telecommunications facilities may be repaired and maintained without restrictions.