Village of Johnson City, NY
Broome County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Johnson City 5-3-2011 by L.L. No. 5-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Antennas — See Ch. 100.
Zoning — See Ch. 300.
A. 
Statutory authority. Pursuant to the authority conferred by Article 7 of the Village Law of the State of New York and the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York, the Village Board of the Village of Johnson City, County of Broome, State of New York, has ordained and does hereby enact this chapter regulating and restricting the location, size and use of telecommunications facilities and their accessory structures in the Village of Johnson City.
B. 
Legislative intent. The Village of Johnson City recognizes the increased demand for wireless communication transmitting facilities and the need for the services they provide. Often these facilities require the construction of a communications tower and/or similar facilities. The intent of this article is to regulate the location, construction and modification of the telecommunications facilities in accordance with the guidelines of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and other applicable laws by:
(1) 
Accommodating the need for telecommunications towers/antennas while regulating their locations and number in the community.
(2) 
Minimizing adverse visual impacts of these towers/antennas through proper siting, design and screening.
(3) 
Preserving and enhancing the positive aesthetic qualities of the natural environment and current development in the Village of Johnson City.
(4) 
Providing for the health, safety and welfare of the community by avoiding potential damage or other negative impact to adjacent properties from power failure, falling ice, etc., through proper siting and engineering.
(5) 
Requiring the joint use of towers when available and encouraging the placement of antennas on existing structures to minimize the number of such structures in the future.
[Added 4-18-2017 by L.L. No. 3-2017]
A. 
For purposes of this chapter, and where not inconsistent with the context of a particular section, the defined terms, phrases, words, abbreviations, and their derivations shall have the meanings given in this section. When not inconsistent with the context, words in the present tense include the future tense, words used in the plural number include words in the singular number and words in the singular number include the plural number. The word "shall" is always mandatory, and not merely directory.
B. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACCESSORY FACILITY OR STRUCTURE
An accessory facility or structure serving or being used in conjunction with wireless telecommunications facilities, and located on the same property or lot as the wireless telecommunications facilities, including but not limited to utility or transmission equipment storage sheds or cabinets.
ANTENNA
A system of electrical conductors that transmit or receive electromagnetic waves or radio frequency or other wireless signals.
ANTENNA SPECIAL USE PERMIT
The official document or permit by which an applicant is allowed to file for a building permit to construct and use a DAS or microcell as granted or issued by the Village.
APPLICANT
Any wireless service provider submitting an application for a special use permit for wireless telecommunications facilities.
APPLICATION
All necessary and appropriate documentation that an applicant submits in order to receive a special use permit for wireless telecommunications facilities.
CO-LOCATED/EXISTING STRUCTURE ANTENNAS
Any antenna that is attached to an existing telecommunications tower.
CO-LOCATION
The use of an existing tower or structure to support antennas for the provision of wireless services. A replacement tower that is constructed on the same site as an existing tower will be considered a co-location as long as the new tower is no taller than the old tower and the old tower is removed within 180 days after the new tower is constructed.
COMMERCIAL IMPRACTICABILITY or COMMERCIALLY IMPRACTICABLE
The inability to perform an act on terms that are reasonable in commerce, the cause or occurrence of which could not have been reasonably anticipated or foreseen and that jeopardizes the financial efficacy of the project. The inability to achieve a satisfactory financial return on investment or profit, standing alone, shall not deem a situation to be "commercial impracticable" and shall not render an act or the terms of an agreement "commercially impracticable."
COMPLETED APPLICATION
An application that contains all information and/or data necessary to enable an informed decision to be made with respect to an application.
DISTRIBUTED ANTENNA SYSTEM (DAS)
A network of spatially separated antenna nodes connected to a common source via a transport medium that provides wireless service within a geographic area or structure. DAS antenna elevations are generally at or below the clutter level, and node installations are compact.
FAA
The Federal Aviation Administration, or its duly designated and authorized successor agency.
FCC
The Federal Communications Commission, or its duly designated and authorized successor agency.
HEIGHT
When referring to a tower or structure, the distance measured from the preexisting grade level to the highest point on the tower or structure, even if said highest point is an antenna or lightning protection device.
MICROCELL
A cell in a mobile phone network served by a low-power cellular base station (tower), covering a limited area such as a mall, hotel, school or transportation hub.
MODIFICATION or MODIFY
The addition, removal or change of any of the physical and visually discernable components or aspects of a wireless facility, such as antennas, cabling, equipment shelters, landscaping, fencing, utility feeds, changing the color or materials of any visually discernable components, vehicular access, parking and/or an upgrade or changeout of equipment for better or more modern equipment. Adding a new wireless carrier or service provider to a telecommunications tower or telecommunications site as a co-location is a modification. A modification shall not include the replacement of any components of a wireless facility where the replacement is identical to the component being replaced or for any matters that involve the normal repair and maintenance of a wireless facility without adding, removing or changing anything.
NIER
Non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation.
NON-CO-LOCATED/NEW STRUCTURE ANTENNAS
An antenna that will not be mounted on an existing structure as defined herein or that is located 15 feet higher than the existing structure on which it is mounted. These antennas are permitted in accordance with the requirements set forth in this chapter.
PERSON
Any individual, corporation, estate, trust, partnership, joint stock company, association of two or more persons having a joint common interest, or any other entity.
PERSONAL WIRELESS FACILITY
See definition for "wireless telecommunications facilities."
PERSONAL WIRELESS SERVICES or PWS or PERSONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE or PCS
The same meaning as defined and used in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
PLANNING BOARD
The Planning Board of the Village of Johnson City.
REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE
The replacement of any components of a wireless facility where the replacement is identical to the component being replaced or for any matters that involve the normal repair and maintenance of a wireless facility without the addition, removal or change of any of the physical or visually discernable components or aspects of a wireless facility that will add to the visible appearance of the facility as originally permitted.
STATE
The State of New York.
STEALTH or STEALTH TECHNOLOGY
To minimize adverse aesthetic and visual impacts on the land, property, buildings, and other facilities adjacent to, surrounding, and in generally the same area as the requested location of such wireless telecommunications facilities, which shall mean using the least visually and physically intrusive facility that is not technologically or commercially impracticable under the facts and circumstances.
TELECOMMUNICATION SITE
See definition for "wireless telecommunications facilities."
TELECOMMUNICATIONS
The transmission and/or reception of audio, video, data, and other information by wire, radio frequency, light, and other electronic or electromagnetic systems.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS STRUCTURE
A structure used in the provision of services described in the definition of "wireless telecommunications facilities."
TEMPORARY
Temporary in relation to all aspects and components of this chapter; something not intended to, or that does not, exist for more than 90 days.
TOWER
Any structure designed primarily to support an antenna for receiving and/or transmitting a wireless signal.
TOWER SPECIAL USE PERMIT
The official document or permit by which an applicant is allowed to file for a building permit to construct and use wireless telecommunications facilities as granted or issued by the Village.
VILLAGE BOARD
The Village Board of the Village of Johnson City.
WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES
Includes a "telecommunications site" and "personal wireless facility." It means a structure, facility or location designed, or intended to be used as, or used to support antennas or other transmitting or receiving devices. This includes, without limit, towers of all types and kinds and structures, including but not limited to buildings, church steeples, silos, water towers, signs or other structures that can be used as a support structure for antennas or the functional equivalent of such. It further includes all related facilities and equipment such as cabling, equipment shelters and other structures associated with the site. It is a structure and facility intended for transmitting and/or receiving radio, television, cellular, SMR, paging, 911, personal communications services (PCS), commercial satellite services, microwave services and any commercial wireless telecommunication service not licensed by the FCC.
No telecommunications facility shall be sited, located, constructed, erected or modified without the issuance of a building permit, tower special use permit and site plan approval, and such other permits or approvals as are prescribed by the Code of the Village of Johnson City.
A. 
Co-located/existing structure antennas and modifications to existing towers/antennas, approvals, submittal and requirements.
[Amended 4-18-2017 by L.L. No. 3-2017]
(1) 
Approvals. A co-located or existing structure antenna is permitted without a tower special use permit upon issuance of site plan approval and a building permit. DAS/microcell applications that also meet the definition of a co-located/existing structure antenna shall only require minor site plan approval and a building permit. The applicant shall also be responsible for all reasonable costs incurred by the Village in reviewing and analyzing an application, including, but not limited to, any engineering or technical reports or studies submitted by the applicant relative to its application and any legal fees related thereto. As a condition of approval, the approving department or board may require a removal bond.
(2) 
Submittal and bulk requirements. The site plan and building permit application shall include the following:
(a) 
A structural analysis/report, certified by a licensed professional engineer or architect, verifying the ability of the structure to handle the antenna.
(b) 
Certification by a qualified radio frequency engineer (signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer or architect) that the cumulative emissions from all antennas proposed to be located at the proposed site meet federal guidelines.
(c) 
The height of the new antenna shall extend no more than 15 feet above the height of the existing structure. Antennas projecting over walkways or sidewalks must have a minimum clearance between the bottom of the equipment and the ground of nine feet. Antennas projecting over a traffic area, such as a driveway or parking lot aisle, must have a minimum clearance between the bottom of the equipment and the ground of 15 feet.
(d) 
The antenna and any mounting structure and related equipment shall be integrated into said structure in such a manner as to minimize its visual impact to the greatest extent practicable.
B. 
Non-co-located/new structure antennas, approvals and bulk requirements.
[Amended 4-18-2017 by L.L. No. 3-2017]
(1) 
Requirements for approval. No application for a non-co-located or new structure antenna, regardless of whether such antenna is a DAS/microcell, shall be considered complete unless and until the applicant shall have submitted a report that establishes to the satisfaction of the Village of Johnson City Planning Board the following:
(a) 
That the applicant is required to provide service to locations which it is not able to serve through existing facilities which are located either within or outside of the Village, showing the specific locations and/or areas the applicant is seeking to serve.
(b) 
The report shall set forth an inventory of existing facilities and/or structures, within or outside of the Village, which might be utilized or modified in order to provide coverage to the locations the applicant is seeking to serve and shall include a report on the possibilities and opportunities for co-location as an alternative to a new site.
(c) 
The applicant must demonstrate that the proposed facility cannot be accommodated on any such existing facility or structure either within or outside of the Village due to one or more of the following reasons:
[1] 
The proposed equipment would exceed the existing reasonable potential structural capacity of existing facilities or structures within or outside of the Village, considering existing and planned use for those facilities or structures.
[2] 
The existing or proposed equipment would cause interference with other existing or proposed equipment that could not reasonably be mitigated or prevented.
[3] 
Said existing facilities or structures do not have space on which the proposed equipment can be placed so it can function effectively and reasonably, and/or the applicant has not been able, following good faith efforts, to reach an agreement with the owner(s) of such facilities or structures.
[4] 
Other reasons which make it impractical to locate or place the proposed equipment on said facilities or structures.
(2) 
Bulk requirements.
(a) 
Non-co-located or new structure antennas, other than DAS/microcells. In all residential zoning districts, including the PUD District, new or relocated towers and antennas shall be set back from all property lines a minimum distance equal to their height (measured from their base) plus 100 feet and in all other zoning districts a minimum distance equal to their height (measured from their base). The towers shall also be set back a minimum distance equal to their height from all power lines. The Planning Board may require an additional setback area in the case of guy wires, taking into consideration the length of the guy wires and the location of ground anchors.
(b) 
DAS/microcells. In residential districts, setbacks from all property lines should be equal to 1/2 the height of the structure. In commercial and industrial districts, the setbacks from all property lines shall be 1/3 the height of the structure. If placed within a public right-of-way, setback of structures should be determined by acceptable engineering practices. The Planning Board may require an additional setback area in the case of guy wires, taking into consideration the length of the guy wires and the location of ground anchors.
(3) 
Tower special use permit required. For all new, relocated or replacement towers and antennas, including DAS/microcells that do not meet the definition of a co-located/existing structure antenna, a tower special use permit shall be required.
(4) 
The applicant shall also be responsible for all reasonable costs incurred by the Village in reviewing and analyzing an application, including, but not limited to, any engineering or technical reports or studies submitted by the applicant relative to its application and any legal fees related thereto.
C. 
All applications for telecommunications facilities in all zoning districts shall comply with the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
A. 
Application required. All applicants for a tower special use permit shall make a written application for special use permit to the Village of Johnson City Zoning Board.
B. 
Said application shall include:
(1) 
A completed tower special use permit application form. In addition to the requirements set forth herein, all applications shall be processed in accordance with the requirements of § 300-66 of the Code of Johnson City generally applicable to special use permits. The application shall be accompanied by the payment of the tower special use permit application fee of $2,500. In addition to the tower special use permit application fee, the applicant shall also be responsible for all reasonable costs incurred by the Village in reviewing and analyzing an application, including, but not limited to, any engineering or technical reports or studies submitted by the applicant relative to its application and any legal fees related thereto.
(2) 
A special use application form, including long-form environmental assessment form (EAF). The application shall not be deemed complete unless accompanied by the propagation studies and search ring analysis described in Subsection B(4) and (5) of this section.
(3) 
A site plan, in the form and content acceptable to the Village, prepared to scale and in sufficient detail and accuracy. In addition to the site plan requirements set forth in § 300-63, the site plan shall include:
(a) 
The exact location of the proposed tower, together with guy wires and ground anchors, if applicable, and any accessory structures.
(b) 
The maximum height of the proposed tower and antennas.
(c) 
A detail of tower type (monopole, guyed, freestanding or other).
(d) 
The color or colors of the tower.
(e) 
The location, type and intensity of any lighting on the tower and antennas.
(f) 
A survey, showing the boundary of the property and any easements, and a topographical map of the property with contour lines not exceeding two-foot intervals.
(g) 
Proof of ownership of the land by the applicant or the landowner's consent if the applicant will not own the property. A copy of the final lease agreement, plus any amendments thereto, must also be provided if the applicant will not own the property.
(h) 
The location of all current and proposed structures on the property and all structures on any adjacent property within 50 feet of the property lines, together with the distance of these structures to the tower and antennas.
(i) 
Identification of adjacent landowners.
(j) 
The location, nature and extent of any proposed fencing and landscaping or screening. Existing on-site vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible.
(k) 
The location and nature of proposed utility easements and access roads, if applicable. The applicant must demonstrate that all private access roads will be maintained in order to ensure access by emergency vehicles on a year-round basis.
(l) 
Building elevations of accessory structures or immediately adjacent buildings.
(m) 
Visual study showing where within a two-mile radius any portion of the proposed tower/antenna could be seen.
(4) 
Before-and-after propagation studies prepared by a qualified radio frequency engineer (signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer) demonstrating existing signal coverage resulting from the proposed telecommunications facility.
(5) 
Search ring analysis:
(a) 
A search ring analysis prepared by a qualified radio frequency engineer (signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer) and overlaid on an appropriate background map demonstrating the area within which the telecommunications facility needs to be located in order to provide proper signal strength and coverage to the target cell.
(b) 
The applicant must be prepared to explain to the Village of Johnson City Planning and Zoning Boards how and why it selected the proposed site, discuss the availability (or lack of availability) of a suitable structure, within the search ring, which would have allowed for collocated antenna(s), and to what extent the applicant explored locating the proposed tower and antennas in a more desirable use district. Proof of correspondence with other telecommunications companies concerning collocation shall be part of this requirement.
(6) 
The Village of Johnson City Planning Board, upon reviewing the application, may request reasonable additional visual, aesthetic and site information, as it deems appropriate on a case-by-case basis. Such additional information may include, among other things, visual impact statements, enhanced landscaping plans, line-of-sight drawings and/or visual simulations from viewpoints selected by the Village Planning staff.
(7) 
For sites in close proximity to significant historical sites or important preservation/conservation areas, the Village will request additional site plans and tower special use permit requirements. These requirements can include specially designed towers, additional screening, greater setbacks and improved landscaping. Siting in these areas should be avoided to the maximum extent possible.
(8) 
Upon issuance of a tower special use permit by the Village of Johnson City Planning and Zoning Boards, the applicant will apply to the Johnson City Planning Board for site plan review and, upon approval, to the Village of Johnson City for a building permit.
A. 
The following criteria will be considered by the Village prior to the approval/denial of a request for a tower special use permit. The criteria listed may be used as a basis to impose reasonable conditions on the applicant. Tower special use permits are not assignable and nontransferable, except upon approval by resolution of the Village of Johnson City Zoning Board.
B. 
The Village may express a preference for an alternative site(s) and/or that the proposed telecommunications facility be located in a higher-intensity-use district or on higher-intensity-use property, provided that there is a technologically feasible and available location. A guideline for the Village's preference, from most desirable to least desirable zoning district/property, is as follows:
(1) 
Property with an existing structure suitable for collocation.
(2) 
Municipal or government-owned property.
(3) 
Industrial (IN) or General Commercial (GC) Zoning Districts.
(4) 
Neighborhood Commercial (NC) and Central Business (CB) Zoning Districts.
(5) 
Commercial Office (CO) Zoning District, and any over lay districts.
(6) 
Rural Residential (RR), Urban Single-Family (USF), Suburban Single-Family (SSF), Urban Two-Family (UTF), Urban Multifamily (UMF) and Suburban Multifamily (SMF) Zoning Districts.
(7) 
Sites which are in close proximity to significant historic sites and/or important preservation/conservation areas.
C. 
Any request by the Village for information or technical analysis on a preferred alternate site shall be provided by the applicant at its sole cost and shall not unreasonably delay the application.
D. 
Aesthetics. 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 any adverse aesthetic effect on neighboring residences to the extent possible, the Village of Johnson City Planning Board may impose reasonable conditions on the applicant, including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Tower height, including antennas, and design are matters of primary public concern. The Board may require a monopole or guyed tower (if sufficient land is available to the applicant) instead of a freestanding tower. Monopoles are a preferred design. The Board may impose reasonable restrictions and/or conditions on height. For example, the Board may reasonably determine that adverse impact upon the community will be best mitigated by requiring the applicant to construct multiple towers of lower height at several different locations to meet the applicant's demonstrated service coverage requirement(s) or that the tower height be reduced in the future if the applicant is unable to demonstrate a continuing need for the approval height in light of changes in the applicant's service coverage needs or technological advances.
(2) 
The Board may require reasonable landscaping consisting of trees or shrubs to screen the base of the tower and antennas and/or to screen the tower and any accessory structure or buildings to the extent possible from adjacent residential property. Existing on-site trees and vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible.
(3) 
The Board may require the applicant to show that it has made good-faith efforts to collocate on existing towers or other available and appropriate structures and/or to construct new towers near existing towers in an effort to consolidate visual disturbances. However, such request shall not unreasonably delay the application.
(4) 
The type of finish, color and lighting shall be subject to Village and/or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval. The Village may require lights to be shielded to minimize ground visual impact.
(5) 
No tower shall contain any signs or advertising devices. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Board may require appropriate signage indicating ownership of the facility and phone numbers to call in case of emergency.
(6) 
The applicant must submit a copy of its policy regarding collocation on the proposed tower with other potential future applicants. Such policy should allow collocation under the following conditions:
(a) 
The new antenna(s) and equipment do not exceed structural loading requirements, interfere with Village space used or to be used by the applicant or pose any technical or radio frequency interference with existing equipment.
(b) 
The party desiring to collocate pays the applicant an appropriate and reasonable sum to collocate.
(c) 
The party desiring to collocate has a similar policy of collocation for the applicant.
(7) 
All other uses ancillary to the antenna and associated equipment (including a business office, maintenance depot, vehicle storage, etc.) are prohibited from the site unless otherwise permitted in the zoning district in which the facility is located.
E. 
Radio frequency; inspections.
(1) 
The Village of Johnson City Planning Board shall impose a condition on the applicant that the communications antenna will be operated only at Federal Communication Commission (FCC) designated frequencies and power levels and/or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) technical exposure limits and may periodically require that the applicant provide competent documentation to support that maximum allowable frequencies, power levels and exposure limits for radiation will not be exceeded.
(2) 
Unless otherwise preempted by federal or state law, the telecommunications facility shall be inspected every two years, at the applicant's expense, for radio emissions, and a copy of the report shall be promptly delivered to the Building Inspector. A licensed professional engineer specializing in electrical engineering with expertise in radio communications facilities shall perform radio emission inspections. The radio emission inspection shall describe the power density levels of the electromagnetic energy generated from the facility, including the cumulative effects of collocated antennas. In the event that the radio emission inspection indicates that the electromagnetic energy generated from the facility is above the allowable limits stated with applicable FCC or ANSI standards or other applicable federal or state guidelines in effect at the time of inspection, the applicant shall cease all use of the facility until such time as it proves, to the satisfaction of the Building Inspector or pertinent Village consultant, that the power density levels of the electromagnetic energy to be generated at the facility are below the applicable standards.
F. 
Traffic, access, and safety.
(1) 
A road turnaround and one parking space shall be provided to assure adequate year-round emergency and service access. Maximum use of existing roads, public or private, shall be made. The use of public roadways or road rights-of-way for the siting of a tower or antenna(s) accessory structures is prohibited.
(2) 
All towers and ground anchors, if applicable, shall be enclosed by a fence not less than eight feet in height and otherwise sufficiently protected from trespassing or vandalism.
(3) 
The applicant must comply with all applicable state and federal regulations, including, but not limited to, FAA and FCC regulations, and from time to time may be required to provide certification of such compliance.
(4) 
All towers and antennas shall include anticlimbing devices for a minimum of 25 feet extending above ground level.
G. 
Removal of tower.
(1) 
The applicant shall agree to remove the tower and antenna if the telecommunications facility becomes obsolete or ceases to be used for its intended purpose for 12 consecutive months. The Village of Johnson City Planning Board shall require the applicant to provide an appropriate and adequate demolition bond for the purpose of removing the telecommunications facility and restoration of the land in case the applicant fails to do so as required above.
(2) 
The sufficiency of the demolition bond shall be confirmed at least every five years by analysis and report of the cost of removal and property restoration, which is to be performed by a licensed professional engineer, the cost of same to be borne by the applicant. If the said analysis and report determines that the amount of the bond in force is insufficient to cover the removal, disposal and restoration costs, the bond shall be increased to the amount necessary to cover such costs within 10 days of the applicant's receipt of such report.
H. 
Structural safety.
(1) 
During the application process and after construction of the tower, the applicant shall provide a certification from a qualified licensed professional engineer, certifying that the tower and antennas meet applicable New York State and ANSI structural safety standards.
(2) 
Unless otherwise preempted by federal or state law, the telecommunications facility shall be inspected every two years, at the applicant's expense, for structural integrity. A copy of the report shall be promptly delivered to the Building Inspector. A licensed professional engineer specializing in structural engineering shall perform the structural inspection. The structural inspection report shall describe the structural integrity of the facility, maintenance issues and repairs needed or made, if any. In the event that the structural inspection indicates structural deficiencies, then the deficiencies must be remedied within the time reasonably set by the Building Inspector. Upon the applicant's failure to do so, the permit may be revoked.
I. 
Maintenance of telecommunications facility. All telecommunications facilities shall be maintained in good order and repair. The Village may require that reasonable records of such maintenance be kept and available for Village review upon request.
Exemptions are as follows:
A. 
Towers and antenna(s) may be repaired and maintained without restriction.
B. 
Antennas and satellite antennas used solely for residential household television and radio reception.
C. 
Satellite antennas measuring two meters or less in diameter and located in commercial and industrial districts and satellite antennas one meter or less in diameter regardless of location.
A. 
In the event of any conflicts or inconsistencies between this chapter and any other local law, including the Zoning Law, this article is meant to control for telecommunications towers and similar facilities in the Village unless otherwise specifically referenced in this article.
B. 
In the event that there is a change in technology that alters the use of the telecommunications facilities cited pursuant to this chapter, the Village reserves the right to require a new application to be submitted, which complies with the above requisites, from all owners of such telecommunications facilities.