Town of Johnston, RI
Providence County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 4-9-2012 by Ord. No. 2010-21]
The purpose of this article is to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare of residents while accommodating the telecommunications needs of residents and businesses and preserving the intrinsic aesthetic character of the community. By establishing parameters for the siting, construction, and modification of wireless telecommunications facilities, it is the Town of Johnston's intent to:
A. 
Facilitate access to reliable wireless communications services for residents and businesses throughout the Town of Johnston;
B. 
Ensure compliance of telecommunications facilities with current applicable federal, state, and local regulations, including the Telecommunications Act of 1996;
C. 
Designate appropriate zoning districts and establish other requirements for the siting of telecommunications facilities in accordance with Town zoning, planning, and design standards and policies;
D. 
Encourage the co-location of telecommunications facilities on existing towers, utility poles, and other structures to minimize new construction;
E. 
Limit the location of new towers to industrial zones;
F. 
Minimize potential adverse effects through the implementation of design, screening, landscaping, and construction standards, as well as siting and setback requirements;
G. 
Establish standards and criteria for evaluating fair and reasonable procedures for processing telecommunications facility applications; and
H. 
Provide for the removal of abandoned and unsafe telecommunications towers and antennas.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABANDONMENT
Cease of operation of wireless telecommunications facilities for a period of one year.
ANTENNA
Any exterior transmitting or receiving device mounted on a tower, building or structure and used in wireless telecommunications to radiate or capture electromagnetic waves; radio frequencies (excluding radar signals); and digital, analog, wireless communications, or other communications signals. For the purposes of this article, antennas do not include AM or FM radio or television transmitters, amateur shortwave radio antennas, or satellite communications "dishes."
ARRAY
Supporting mounts for wireless communications devises on a monopole or lattice tower.
BACKHAUL NETWORK
The lines that connect a provider's towers/cell sites to one or more cellular telephone switching offices, and/or long-distance providers, or the public switching telephone network.
BUILDING-MOUNTED FACILITY
Antenna mounted on an existing structure such as a lattice tower, stack, water tower, or rooftop installation.
CO-LOCATION
The use and installation of wireless telecommunications equipment by more than one provider on a single site.
DISGUISED FACILITY
Existing or new features that camouflage or conceal the presence of antennas, such as man-made trees, clock towers, bell steeples, lightpoles, flagpoles, or similar alternative design mounting structures.
FAA
Federal Aviation Administration.
FALL ZONE
The farthest distance from the base of a monopole or lattice tower that a structure could be expected to collapse into in the event of structural failure. The purpose of this zone is to safeguard citizens and property during hurricanes and other storms from the dangers of falling or collapsing tower structures and windborne objects or debris from the structure. This area may not be less than 150% of the total height of the structure.
FCC
Federal Communications Commission.
HEIGHT
For a tower or other structure, the distance measured from the finished grade of the parcel to the highest point on the tower or other structure, including, if building-mounted, the height of the portion of the building on which it is mounted.
LATTICE TOWER
A guyed or self-supporting three- or four-sided open-frame structure constructed of vertical metal struts and cross braces used to support telecommunications equipment, including antennas (for the purposes of this article, not a wind power facility, including a meteorological tower).
MONOPOLE
A single, freestanding pole-type structure securely anchored to a foundation without guy wires, which, for the purposes of this article, does not include a "tower." Monopoles shall be limited to one exterior wireless telecommunications provider, for a total of two providers: one exterior provider and one interior provider.
POLE-MOUNTED FACILITY
An antenna mount attached to or upon a publicly owned electric transmission or distribution pole, streetlight, traffic signal, or similar facility located within a public right-of-way or utility easement. The facility shall include any associated equipment shelters, regardless of where they are located with respect to the mount. This includes distributed antenna systems that are mounted on a utility pole within the public right-of-way.
PREEXISTING TOWERS and PREEXISTING ANTENNAS
Any tower or antenna for which a building permit, special use permit, or use variance has been properly issued prior to the effective date of this article, including permitted towers or antennas that have not been constructed, as long as such approval is current and not expired.
TOWER
See "lattice tower" and "wireless telecommunications tower" definitions.
WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITY
Includes an antenna, a wireless communications tower, a monopole, a building-mounted facility, a pole-mounted facility, or a disguised telecommunications facility.
WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS TOWER
A structure intended to support equipment used to transmit and/or receive telecommunications signals, including monopoles and lattice towers.
A. 
Upon receipt of a special use permit from the Zoning Board of Review, the following five types of new wireless telecommunications facilities shall be permitted in the Town of Johnston, in accordance with § 340-8:
(1) 
Lattice towers. An applicant must demonstrate that adequate telecommunications service cannot be achieved with a monopole, building-mounted facility, disguised facility, or pole-mounted antenna, in accordance with § 340-157.
(2) 
Monopoles. No monopole shall be approved unless the applicant demonstrates that the need for wireless telecommunications services that will be satisfied by constructing the monopole cannot, for technological, legal, or economical reason other than the financial circumstances of the applicant, be reasonably satisfied by co-locating on an existing or approved tower or by using or constructing one or more building-mounted facilities, pole-mounted antennas, or disguised facilities. The applicant must further prove that it has made all reasonable efforts to procure antenna space on existing facilities and that the cost of co-location exceeds the cost of a new monopole facility by at least 50%.
(3) 
Building-mounted facilities. Wireless telecommunications facilities shall be permitted on existing buildings and structures subject to the requirements of this article, except that no building-mounted facility shall be approved unless the applicant demonstrates that the need for wireless communications services that will be satisfied by means of a disguised facility cannot, for technological, legal, or economical reasons, be reasonably satisfied by co-locating on an existing or approved tower or by using or constructing one or more pole-mounted or disguised facilities.
(4) 
Disguised facilities. A disguised facility shall be permitted as a new facility or interior to an existing facility subject to all applicable provisions of this article, except that no disguised facility shall be approved unless the applicant demonstrates that the need for wireless telecommunications service to be satisfied by means of a disguised facility cannot, for technological, legal, or economical reasons, be reasonably satisfied by co-locating on an existing or approved tower or by using or constructing one or more pole-mounted facilities.
(5) 
Pole-mounted antennas. Pole-mounted antennas, including distributed antenna systems, shall be permitted on existing poles or standards subject to the requirements of this article.
B. 
If an applicant demonstrates that the purposes of the Federal Telecommunications Act cannot be achieved without the construction of a new lattice tower, approval for such facility will be subject to review and approval of the Planning Board as a major land development in accordance with the Town of Johnston Land Development and Subdivision Regulations[1] and issuance of a special use permit by the Zoning Board as set forth in § 340-157.
[1]
Editor's Note: The most current regulations are on file in the Town offices.
A. 
As part of the building permit process, the Building/Zoning Official may approve, by right or by right with conditions, the following wireless communications facilities (assuming that the facilities meet FCC regulations):
(1) 
Co-location of antenna array systems on an existing or approved wireless telecommunications tower, provided that:
(a) 
The antenna complies with all applicable building codes;
(b) 
Structural analysis is conducted, as required by the Building Official and stamped by a Rhode Island registered professional engineer indicating that the structure is appropriate for the proposed load;
(c) 
Ground-level facilities meet the landscaping requirements in § 340-27.2;
(d) 
An electromagnetic study is conducted to demonstrate that there will be no interference with existing signals;
(e) 
The owners of the tower upon which antenna arrays are proposed for co-location shall comply with the requirements of § 340-158; and
(f) 
A copy of the lease or other agreement by which the owner of the tower permits co-location shall be filed with the Zoning Official within 30 days after it has been signed or before installing the additional antenna, whichever occurs first. Before the lease or agreement is filed, it may be edited to block disclosure of financial or other sensitive information.
(2) 
Installation of antennas, not towers, upon the roof of any building, 10 stories or higher, located within any zoning district.
(3) 
Installation of pole-mounted antennas, including distributed antenna systems on existing utility poles or standards, if the applicant has demonstrated that the need for wireless telecommunications services cannot be reasonably satisfied by using an existing or approved tower or by using or constructing one or more disguised facilities. Pole-mounted antennas shall be of a color that is identical to or closely compatible with the color of the structure on which they are mounted.
(4) 
Disguised facilities located within existing buildings. The applicant shall have the burden of proof to demonstrate that no component of the system will be visible from the exterior.
(5) 
Monopole construction in industrial zones.
(6) 
The applicant shall pay an administrative fee of $1,000 for review.
(7) 
The applicant shall prepare a two-hundred-foot radius map and submit a mailing list of all property owners to the Town. The Building/Zoning Official shall mail notice to all property owners within the two-hundred-foot radius via first-class mail, requesting comments within 14 days of the date of said notice.
(8) 
The applicant shall comply with the requirements provided in §§ 340-156 and 340-157.
B. 
Special use permits shall comply with §§ 340-156 and 340-8 with regard to the following:
(1) 
A new lattice tower construction;
(2) 
A monopole construction in the R-15, R-20, R-40, B-2, B-3 and PMUD Zones;
(3) 
A building- or structure-mounted facility; and
(4) 
A disguised facility in a new structure or within a preexisting structure with visibility from the exterior.
C. 
If it is demonstrated that the purposes of the federal Telecommunications Act cannot be achieved without the construction of a new lattice tower or modification of an existing tower, approval for such facility will be subject to review and approval as a major land development in accordance with the Town of Johnston Land Development and Subdivision Review Regulations by the Planning Board in accordance with § 340-157 and a special use permit by the Zoning Board in accordance with § 340-156.
The following conditions apply to wireless telecommunications facilities requiring special use permits as indicated in § 340-8.
A. 
General requirements for applicants seeking a special use permit. The applicant shall have the burden of producing evidence to satisfy all applicable requirements and standards set out in this article. Applicants seeking a special use permit to construct or substantially modify a wireless telecommunications facility shall:
(1) 
Meet with the Zoning Official for a preapplication conference to review the proposed project and permitting requirements.
(2) 
Provide documentation that the standards of development as required in § 340-154 are adequately addressed. The technological, legal or economic basis for why the proposed facility could not be located on an existing or approved facility shall be provided. The documentation shall be prepared by a duly licensed engineer or other person qualified by education or experience and shall address the reason(s) why the proposed facility could not be accommodated:
(a) 
Without causing/being subject to or causing unacceptable interference with/from the operation of an existing or planned telecommunications or other type of electronic facility or equipment, and that such interference could not be prevented or eliminated at a reasonable cost.
(b) 
On an existing or approved tower due to structural deficiencies, and the reason(s) why such deficiencies could not be eliminated at a reasonable cost.
(c) 
On an existing or approved tower or other structure because no other reasonably available tower or structure could accommodate the facility's antenna at the height necessary for the communications services to be offered.
(d) 
On an existing or approved tower or other structure for other valid reasons.
(3) 
A description of all proposed equipment, buildings or boxes, including proposed shielding and material details. No externally visible accessory equipment structures shall be allowed in connection with building-mounted facilities, disguised facilities, or pole-mounted antennas except as otherwise permitted by this article.
(4) 
A report from a licensed engineer affirming that the proposed telecommunications facility will comply with applicable emission standards of the FCC and that the installation of the facility will not interfere with public safety communications.
(5) 
Inventory and master plan report. Each application for a wireless telecommunications facility shall include an inventory report of the applicant's existing or approved towers and antennas in Johnston and within one mile of the Town of Johnston's border. This report shall become part of the public record and may be used by relevant Town entities and officials in connection with future applications from other applicants. The inventory report shall specify:
(a) 
Identification of the entities providing the backhaul network and other wireless sites owned or operated by the applicant in the municipality;
(b) 
Type, design, and location of each tower and antenna, and longitude and latitude of each tower of all wireless communications providers;
(c) 
Owner/operator of each existing tower(s), if known;
(d) 
Ability of each tower to accommodate additional antennas; and
(e) 
Height of support structures on which the applicant's existing antennas are located (where applicable).
(6) 
A plan set to include the following, or as requested by the Building/Zoning Official during the preapplication conference:
(a) 
A scaled site plan clearly indicating the location, type and height of proposed wireless communications facilities, ground-level structures, on-site land uses and zoning, fall zone diameter, land uses and zoning within 200 feet of the subject parcel, adjacent roadways, proposed means of access, setbacks from property lines, topography, unique features, including wetlands, historic sites, cemeteries and endangered habitats, and other information deemed necessary by the Building/Zoning Official in order to assess compliance with this article;
(b) 
Elevation drawings of the proposed wireless communications facility and any other existing or proposed structures on the parcel;
(c) 
Area map of the public notice area (radius map), including roads, parcels, zoning and Johnston Comprehensive Community Plan Future Land Use Map classification;
(d) 
The setback distance between the proposed wireless communications facility and the nearest residential unit or vacant residentially zoned parcel;
(e) 
A landscape plan showing specific landscape materials (if required by the Building/Zoning Official); and
(f) 
Fencing, and finished color and method of camouflage and illumination (if required by the Building/Zoning Official). All telecommunications facilities shall be protected against access by children and other unauthorized persons to the maximum extent reasonably possible for the type and location of the facility. Security measures shall include vandal-resistant accessory equipment structures.
(7) 
Legal description of the parent tract and leased parcel (if applicable).
(8) 
Structural analysis as requested by the Building/Zoning Official, stamped by a Rhode Island registered professional engineer. Said analysis shall consider the weight of both proposed and existing antenna mounts.
(9) 
A description of compliance with all applicable federal, state or local laws.
(10) 
Proof of ownership of the proposed site or of a contractual right to its long-term use, and evidence that necessary easements have been or will be acquired.
(11) 
The applicant shall comply with the requirements provided in § 340-158.
(12) 
The Zoning Board of Review is authorized to hire outside consultants, at the applicant's expense, as necessary to fully evaluate the design and potential impact of the proposed wireless telecommunications facility.
B. 
Specific requirements.
(1) 
Monopole. No more than one exterior array shall be permitted. An application shall also be subject to the following:
(a) 
Monopoles shall be adequately separated from residential uses both on and off of the subject parcel in accordance with § 340-156B(1)(a)[1] and [2]. Separation distances shall be measured from the base of the tower to the foundation of the closest residential use or property line of an undeveloped residential zone and shall comply with either of the following minimum standards:
[1] 
One hundred feet or 300% of the height of the monopole, whichever is greater, to single-family units, including mobile homes, or duplex units.
[2] 
Seventy feet or 150% of the height of the monopole, whichever is greater, to existing multifamily units with more than two units.
(b) 
The fall zone of a monopole must be entirely located within the dimensional setbacks for the subject parcel for the zoning district as indicated in § 340-9.
(c) 
The Building/Zoning Official's approval of the monopole color with the objective being that the color be compatible with and complementary to the surroundings.
(d) 
Visual analysis.
[1] 
The applicant shall submit visual impact demonstrations using computer-generated photographic simulations of the proposed facility as it would be seen from residential areas, public rights-of-way, public parks, and other sites as deemed appropriated by the Zoning Official.
[2] 
Visual impact demonstrations shall be submitted comparing the proposed facility to an existing monopole or other structure recommended by the Zoning Official.
(e) 
Height shall be subject to Federal Aviation Administration approval and fall zone requirements.
(2) 
Building-mounted facilities on a building less than 10 stories or 80 feet in height, whichever is less. The following additional information shall be provided on or with the site plan for building-mounted facilities that do not qualify as disguised facilities in accordance with this article:
(a) 
A plan, drawn to scale, showing where and how the proposed antenna will be affixed to a particular building or structure.
(b) 
An operations and maintenance plan shall be provided to the Department of Public Works for any antenna mounted on a municipal building or structure, such as a water tower. This plan shall address how water tank cathodic protection will be maintained during antenna installation and will clearly define responsibilities for the carrier during water tank maintenance and painting. Approval of the Department of Public Works is required prior to requesting a lease agreement with the Town Council.
(c) 
The maximum height of a building-mounted antenna shall be 20 feet above the highest point of the roof, excluding chimneys and other appurtenances.
(d) 
The exterior components of building-mounted facilities shall be of a color that is identical to, or closely compatible with, the color of the building and shall be located on the building at the point of least visibility to persons on adjacent property, unless such location is shown to be impractical for substantial reasons.
(e) 
Telecommunications equipment inside building-mounted facilities shall be designed and located to ensure limited access, for authorized persons only, such as by locating it in a separate lockable room, cage or box, and access to antennas attached to the roof of the building shall be through a lockable door.
(3) 
Disguised facilities.
(a) 
Existing structures.
[1] 
An applicant for a disguised facility to be located in or on an existing structure shall submit, as part of the permit application, at least four color photographs of the structure containing or constituting the disguised facility taken within the month preceding the filing of the application. Such photographs shall be approximately eight inches by 10 inches in size and shall show clearly each side or facade of the existing structure as it appears to observers located on adjacent property.
[2] 
Telecommunications equipment inside disguised facilities in existing structures shall be disguised and located to ensure limited access for authorized persons only, such as by locating the equipment in a separate lockable room, cage or box.
(b) 
New structures. The maximum height of a disguised facility which is not located in an existing building shall be subject to the fall zone provisions § 340-153. An application for a disguised facility in a new structure shall include the following:
[1] 
A site map showing the location of the proposed facility and all existing structures on the lot;
[2] 
One or more sketches or drawings of the proposed facility including all of the existing structures on the lot; and
[3] 
One or more photographs of the completed facility. Approval of an application for a disguised facility shall be conditioned on submission of the photograph(s) to the Building/Zoning Official within one month after completion of the facility. If the facility is located in or on an existing structure, this submission shall consist of a set of photographs corresponding in all respects to the photographs submitted as part of the permit application, except that the photographs required by this subsection shall be taken after completion of the facility. If the facility is a new structure, the photograph or photographs shall correspond as closely as reasonably possible to the sketches or drawings submitted with the application.
New lattice wireless communications towers shall be approved by the Zoning Board as a special use on property zoned industrial in accordance with § 340-156A and B and by the Planning Board as a major land development project in accordance with the Johnston Land Development and Subdivision Review Regulations.[1] Said towers are prohibited in all other zoning districts.
A. 
Procedure.
(1) 
All applicants must attend a preapplication conference with the Administrative Officer and Zoning Official to familiarize applicants with Town regulations.
(2) 
Concept plan, master plan, preliminary plan and final plan approval by the Planning Board shall be required in accordance with the Town of Johnston Land Development and Subdivision Review Regulations as a major land development project. The Planning Board shall have the right to impose certain conditions to protect health, safety and welfare.
(3) 
Approval shall be subject to Zoning Board approval of a special use permit, in accordance with § 340-156.
(4) 
Town Council approval shall be required for all facilities to be located on Town property.
B. 
Additional requirements for Planning Board review.
(1) 
Separation distances from residential use. Lattice towers shall be adequately separated from residential uses located both on and off of the subject parcel. Separation distances shall be measured from the base of the tower to the foundation of the closest residential use or to the property line of vacant residentially zoned property and shall comply with either of the following minimum standards:
(a) 
Two hundred feet or 300% of the tower height, whichever is greater, to single-family units, including mobile homes, duplex units, or residential zone line other than R-7 if the property is not developed.
(b) 
One hundred feet or 150% of the tower height, whichever is greater, to existing multifamily units greater than duplex units, or R-7 Zone line if the property is not developed.
(2) 
Lot size. Telecommunications towers shall not be located on any lot less than 20,000 square feet in area. The dimensions of the entire lot shall be used, whether or not the tower is to be located on a leased parcel within such lot, in order to determine compliance with Town development regulations, including but not limited to setback and lot coverage requirements.
(3) 
Setbacks. The fall zone shall not extend into any dimensional front, side or rear yards of the subject property as defined in § 340-9. Telecommunications facilities including guy wires and accessory buildings shall meet all setback requirements for the district in which they are located. For purposes of this article, all buildings and other structures for communications equipment shall be considered part of the principal use for setback requirements.
(4) 
Fall zone. Communications towers shall be located on the site so as to provide for a fall zone in which no structures may be placed except associated structures for telecommunications equipment, storage sheds, garages, and other unpopulated buildings. The purpose of this zone is to safeguard citizens and property during hurricanes and other storms from the dangers of a falling or collapsing tower structure and windborne objects or debris from the structure.
(5) 
Co-location. Communications towers shall be designed for and shall be permitted as a special use to accommodate additional co-locations of antennas. A statement signed by the owner or an authorized agent shall acknowledge that the tower will be designed and constructed to accommodate the equipment of a minimum of four additional competitive carriers and shall agree to provide for the shared use of the tower at reasonable and prevailing market lease rates.
(6) 
Tower design. A plan shall be provided by a professional engineer registered in the State of Rhode Island showing the design of the tower, including a cross-section view, elevations, and a description of capacity, with the number and type of antennas to be accommodated, as well as the proposed location of all mounting positions for four additional co-located antennas and the minimum separation distances between antennas. A tower which is modified or reconstructed to accommodate the co-location of an additional antenna shall be subject to this requirement.
(7) 
Site plan. The applicant shall provide a scaled site plan prepared by a licensed land surveyor clearly indicating the following:
(a) 
Location, type and height of the proposed tower;
(b) 
Fall zone and setbacks;
(c) 
Other structures and uses or activities on site and on all properties within 200 feet of its perimeter;
(d) 
Adjacent roadways;
(e) 
Proposed means of access;
(f) 
Elevation drawings of the tower and all other proposed structures;
(g) 
Topography;
(h) 
Proposed parking areas;
(i) 
Zoning classification for the site and adjacent property on all sides;
(j) 
Surrounding tree coverage and height of foliage;
(k) 
Proximity to sensitive resource areas, including historic, scenic, wetlands, or threatened and endangered habitats; and
(l) 
Other information deemed necessary by the Administrative Officer to assess compliance with this article.
(8) 
Certification. Certification by a licensed structural engineer that the design of any new communications tower or substantial modification of an existing tower will comply with the latest version of the American Institute of Steel Construction Code Standards (TIA/EIA-22-F) and American Concrete Institute (ACI 318) Standards.
(9) 
Future wireless facility locations. A description of the feasible location(s) of future towers or antennas within the Town based upon existing physical, engineering, technological or geographical limitations in the event the proposed tower is erected.
(10) 
FAA. A report or letter from the FAA indicating a lack of objection to the proposed tower or that the design of the proposed tower does not violate applicable FAA requirements.
(11) 
Height. The height of a structure shall be in accordance with the fall zone requirements provided in § 340-157B(4).
(12) 
Lighting. Telecommunications towers and antennas shall not be illuminated and shall not display any lights, unless:
(a) 
One or more lights are specifically required by the FAA or other governmental authority; and
(b) 
The requirement for lights cannot be eliminated by reducing the height of the tower and/or antenna to the minimum height at which its intended use is feasible. In this instance, the lighting shall be designed to cause the least disturbance possible to surrounding views.
(13) 
Signs. Each telecommunications tower site shall display a nonilluminated identification sign containing the corporate name of the owner and an emergency telephone number. At the owner's option, the sign may also contain a corporate logo and/or a mailing address, but no other information or graphics. The sign shall be:
(a) 
Made of durable, graffiti-resistant material;
(b) 
Not greater than three square feet in area; and
(c) 
Posted in a place visible to the general public. No other signs shall be displayed on the tower or at the site unless expressly required by a federal or state agency.
(14) 
Accessory equipment structures. Accessory equipment structures at tower sites shall not contain more than 150 square feet of gross floor area for all accessory equipment for all carriers or be more than 15 feet in height. Accessory equipment structures may be partially or completely located underground, and underground space shall not be counted in determining the maximum size of the structure. Wireless communications equipment shall not be considered accessory uses pursuant to § 340-9 and is not permitted within the front, side or rear yards of the parcel.
(15) 
Aesthetics. Buildings and related structures at tower sites shall blend, to the extent possible, with the natural setting and surrounding buildings through materials, colors, textures, screening, and landscaping. The applicant shall provide a landscape plan showing specific landscape materials and fencing details and color.
(16) 
Visual impact preview. All applicants shall comply with the following visual impact requirements:
(a) 
Comparative height illustration. The purpose of this requirement is to show the relative height of a proposed telecommunications tower as compared to landmarks familiar to Johnston residents.
[1] 
Applicants shall submit visual impact demonstrations using computer-generated photographic simulations of the proposed facility as it would be seen from all angles. Simulated views shall be provided from the maximum distance from which any portion of the structure will be visible. Views shall be provided from residential areas, public rights-of-way, public parks, and other sites as deemed appropriate by the Administrative Officer.
[2] 
Visual impact demonstrations shall be submitted comparing the proposed facility to an existing lattice tower facility familiar to residents or such other structure that may be recommended by the Administrative Officer.
(b) 
The applicant shall successfully demonstrate that the proposed tower will have minimal visual impact. The term "minimal visual impact" means that there are no other reasonably available sites in the Town that will provide the same level of telecommunications service with less visual impact than the proposed facility, as measured by the standards set forth in this section. The fact that another site would require more towers or other facilities to achieve the same level of service may be taken into consideration but shall not be determinative if the other site would have less overall visual impact. In determining whether the minimal visual impact requirement has been satisfied, the Board shall consider, among other factors:
[1] 
The height of the proposed tower as compared to the height of other nearby structures, the elevation of the site, and the distance from which the tower would be observable from various locations in the Town; and
[2] 
Telecommunications tower sites shall be landscaped with a buffer of plant materials that effectively screens the view of the base of the tower and any accessory equipment structures from adjacent property. Existing mature tree growth and natural land forms on the site shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible. In some cases, such as when towers are sited on large, wooded lots, natural growth around the property perimeter may provide a sufficient buffer. In locations where the visual impact of the tower would be minimal, landscaping requirements may be reduced or waived.
(17) 
Fencing. Telecommunications towers, including any guy wires and accessory equipment structures, shall be surrounded at a minimum distance of 10 feet with opaque climb-resistant fencing eight feet high. Gates allowing access to the tower shall be of the same material and height as the fence and shall be equipped with strong weatherproof locks. Any ladder or other means of climbing to the tower shall be separately protected against unauthorized climbing by a lock or other means.
(18) 
Building codes and safety requirements. To ensure the structural integrity of a tower, the owner of a tower shall ensure that it is maintained in compliance with standards contained in applicable state or local building codes and the applicable standards for towers that are published by the Electronic Industries Association, as amended from time to time.
(a) 
If, upon inspection, the Town concludes that a tower fails to comply with such codes and standards and constitutes a danger to persons or property, then upon notice being provided to the owner of the tower, the owner shall have 30 days to bring such tower into compliance with such standards.
(b) 
Failure to bring such tower into compliance within the 30 days shall constitute grounds for the removal of the tower or antenna at the owner's expense.
(19) 
State or federal requirements. All towers must meet or exceed current standards and regulations of the FAA, the FCC, and any other agency of the state or federal government with the authority to regulate towers and antennas. If such standards and regulations are changed, then the owners of the towers and antennas governed by this article shall bring such towers and antennas into compliance with such revised standards and regulations within six months of the effective date of such standards and regulations, unless a different compliance schedule is mandated by the controlling state or federal agency. Failure to bring towers and antennas into compliance with such revised standards and regulations shall constitute grounds for the removal of the tower or antenna at the owner's expense, in accordance with § 340-158 through the execution of the posted security.
(20) 
The applicant shall comply with the requirements provided in § 340-158.
[1]
Editor's Note: The most current regulations are on file in the Town offices.
A. 
Insurance. Liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 shall be maintained by the owner and operator of a wireless telecommunications tower until the tower is dismantled and removed from the site. Failure to maintain insurance coverage shall constitute a violation of this article and be grounds for revocation of a permit.
B. 
Performance bond. The owner or operator of a wireless telecommunications facility shall obtain and keep in force, as long as the facility is located on the site, a performance bond payable to the Town in the amount of not less than $50,000, or such other greater amount as found by the Town Engineer to cover the estimated reasonable costs of removal of the tower, including direct and administrative costs associated with demolition, dismantling, removal and disposal of the tower by the Town or its contractor, and site restoration, if the owner or operator fails to comply with the requirements of this article.
C. 
The requirements of this article shall supersede any and all other applicable standards found elsewhere in Town Ordinances or regulations that are less strict.
A. 
Certification of continued operation. On or before February 1 of each year, the owner of a telecommunications facility shall file a certification with the Building/Zoning Official as to the continued operation of the facility, including all co-located facilities. Failure to file the certification shall create a rebuttable presumption that the facility has been abandoned. Such certification shall be on a form provided by the Building/Zoning Official and shall contain, to the extent possible:
(1) 
An affirmation that each telecommunications tower and antenna in the facility is currently in operation or, if not, the owner's plans with respect to renewed operation of removal of the tower or antenna;
(2) 
A statement whether any tower or antenna is expected to cease operation within the next year;
(3) 
A current list of all tower user names, and the name and mailing address of an agent of each user authorized to receive communications from the Town;
(4) 
A description of the insurance coverage on all facilities, including the name and mailing address of a claims agent for each insurer; and
(5) 
Any other information which the Zoning Official believes is relevant to monitor compliance with the provisions of this article.
B. 
Certification of continued structural integrity. Every five years, or within 60 days after a catastrophic act of nature or other emergency that might affect the structural integrity of the tower, the owner shall file with the Building Official a certification of continued structural integrity prepared and signed by a licensed engineer. The certification shall affirm that a thorough and complete inspection of the tower was conducted and that the tower and all accessory structures are and will continue to perform as originally designed.
C. 
Abandonment. A wireless telecommunications facility shall be removed by the owner within 365 days after it ceases to be operated. The owner of such antenna or tower shall remove the same within 30 days of receipt of notice from the Town notifying the owner of such abandonment. Upon removal, the site shall be restored to its previous appearance and, where appropriate, revegetated to blend with the surrounding area. A facility not removed in accordance with this subsection shall be considered abandoned and may be removed by the Town at the owner's expense. If there are two or more users of a single tower, then this provision shall not become effective until all users cease using the tower.