[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Latrobe 5-8-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-8. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to establish uniform standards for the design, permitting, maintenance, and use of wireless communications facilities within the rights-of-way of the City of Latrobe. The City of Latrobe recognizes the importance of wireless communications and their attendant facilities in providing high-quality communications service to the City's residents, businesses, and emergency management and response organizations. The City of Latrobe also has a responsibility to protect the public, enhance public safety, and to minimize the adverse visual and dangerous effects of such facilities through the standards set forth in this chapter.
It is the City of Latrobe's intent to:
Accommodate the need for wireless communications facilities in the rights-of-way of the City while regulating their activities so as to ensure the provision for necessary services;
Provide for the managed development of wireless communications facilities in the rights-of-way of the City in a manner that enhances the benefits of wireless communication and accommodates the needs of City residents, persons utilizing the rights-of-way, and wireless carriers in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations;
Establish procedures for the design, location, siting, construction, installation, maintenance and removal of wireless communications facilities in the City rights-of-way;
Address new wireless technologies, including, but not limited to, distributed antenna systems, data collection units, cable Wi-Fi and other wireless communications facilities;
Minimize the adverse effects and the number of such facilities through proper design, location, siting, screening, material, color and finish and by requiring that competing providers of wireless communications services co-locate their commercial communications antennas and related facilities on existing towers; and
Promote the health, safety and welfare of the City's residents.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AMATEUR RADIO ANTENNA
- An antenna used for the transmission or reception of wireless signals by amateur radio operators.
- Any system of wires, rods, discs, panels, flat panels, dishes, whips, or other similar devices used for the transmission or reception of wireless signals. An antenna may include an omnidirectional antenna (rod), directional antenna (panel), parabolic antenna (disc) or any other wireless antenna. An antenna shall not include tower-based wireless communications facilities as defined below.
- The mounting of one or more WCFs, including antennas, on an existing tower-based WCF, or on any structure that already supports at least one non-tower WCF.
- DISTRIBUTED ANTENNA SYSTEMS (DAS)
- A network of spatially separated antenna sites connected to a common source that provides wireless service within a geographic area or structure.
- A condition that:
- Federal Communications Commission.
- HEIGHT OF A TOWER-BASED WCF
- The vertical distance measured from the ground level, including any base pad, to the highest point on a tower-based WCF, including antennas mounted on the tower and any other appurtenances.
- A WCF or site which consists of a single pole structure, designed and erected on the ground or on top of a structure, to support communications antennas and connecting appurtenances.
- NON-TOWER WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITY (NON-TOWER WCF)
- All non-tower wireless communications facilities, including, but not limited to, antennas and related equipment. Non-tower WCFs shall not include support structures for antennas or any related equipment that is mounted to the ground or at ground level.
- RELATED EQUIPMENT
- Any piece of equipment related to, incidental to, or necessary for the operation of a tower-based WCF or non-tower WCF. By way of illustration, not limitation, related equipment includes generators and base stations.
- STEALTH TECHNOLOGY
- Camouflaging methods applied to wireless communications towers, antennas and other facilities which render them more visually appealing or blend the proposed facility into the existing structure or visual backdrop in such a manner as to render it minimally visible to the casual observer. Such methods include, but are not limited to, architecturally screened roof-mounted antennas, building-mounted antennas painted to match the existing structure, and facilities constructed to resemble trees, shrubs, and light poles.
- SUBSTANTIALLY CHANGE or SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE
- A modification to an existing wireless communications facility substantially changes the physical dimensions of a tower or base station if it meets any of the following criteria:
- A. For tower-based WCFs in the rights-of-way, it increases the height of the facility by more than 10% or 10 feet, whichever is less;
- B. For those tower-based WCFs in the public rights-of-way, it protrudes from the edge of the structure by more than six feet;
- C. It involves installation of more than the standard number of new equipment cabinets for the technology involved, but not to exceed four cabinets;
- D. It entails any excavation of deployment outside the current site of the tower-based WCF; or
- E. It does not comply with conditions associated with prior approval of construction or modification of the tower-based WCF unless the noncompliance is due to an increase in height, increase in width, or addition of cabinets.
- A structure that is intended for transmitting or receiving television, radio, or telephone communications, excluding those used exclusively for dispatch communications. This definition shall not include tower-based wireless communications facilities.
- TOWER-BASED WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITY (TOWER-BASED WCF)
- Any structure that is used for the purpose of supporting one or more antennas, including, but not limited to, self-supporting lattice towers, guy towers and monopoles, utility poles and light poles. DAS hub facilities are considered to be tower-based WCFs.
- The Pennsylvania Wireless Broadband Collocation Act (53 P.S. § 11702.1 et seq.).
- Transmissions through the airwaves, including, but not limited to, infrared line-of-sight, cellular, PCS, microwave, satellite, or radio signals.
- WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITY (WCF)
- The antennas, nodes, control boxes, towers, poles, conduits, ducts, pedestals, electronics and other equipment used for the purpose of transmitting, receiving, distributing, providing, or accommodating wireless communications services.
- WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITY APPLICANT (WCF APPLICANT)
- Any person that applies for a wireless communications facility building permit, zoning approval and/or permission to use the public right-of-way (ROW) or other City-owned land or property.
- WIRELESS SUPPORT STRUCTURE
- A freestanding structure, such as a tower-based wireless communications facility or any other support structure that is constructed primarily to support the placement or installation of a wireless communications facility if approved by the City.
The following regulations shall apply to all WCFs in the rights-of-way:
WCFs in the right-of-way (hereinafter "ROW") are permissible following the application for and issuance of a right-of-way access permit. Said permit may only be issued if the terms and conditions of this chapter are satisfied.
Right-of-way access permit.
No work shall be conducted unless and until a right-of-way access permit is issued by City Council.
No permit shall be granted under this chapter until the person or entity desiring the same made an application for the permit and paid all necessary fees and costs, in the amount as established from time to time by resolution of the City Council. Such application shall comprise an agreement by the applicant that they agree to adhere to all the terms of this chapter and that any failure to do so shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
No permit shall be granted until the applicant has provided a bond or other financial security in the amount prescribed by the City Engineer, based upon the extent of the work and the character of the right-of-way disturbance, including any opening or excavation of the right-of-way. Such security shall guarantee that the permit holder shall be responsible for maintaining the portion of the disturbed right-of-way and the restored surface for a period of 12 months after the completion of the resurfacing of the right-of-way.
Co-location. WCFs in the ROW shall be co-located on existing poles, such as existing utility poles or light poles. If co-location is not technologically feasible, the WCF applicant shall locate its non-tower WCF on existing poles or freestanding structures that do not already act as wireless support structures with the City's approval. The applicant shall provide the City with an entire, complete, and executed agreement with the owner of such existing pole and/or structure evidencing the applicant's permission to co-locate.
Tower-based WCFs in right-of-way. If co-location on any existing pole or structure is not available, the applicant may request the construction of a new tower-based WCF in the right-of-way. The applicant shall demonstrate that the proposed tower-based WCF cannot be accommodated by co-location on an existing or approved structure or building. The right-of-way access permit may be denied if the applicant has not made a good-faith effort to mount the commercial communications antenna(s) on an existing pole or structure. The WCF applicant shall demonstrate that it contacted the owners of tall structures, buildings, and towers within a one-fourth-mile radius of the site proposed, sought permission to install an antenna on those structures, buildings, and/or towers and was denied for one of the following reasons:
The proposed antenna and related equipment would exceed the structural capacity of the existing building, structure or tower and its reinforcement cannot be accomplished at a reasonable cost.
The proposed antenna and related equipment would cause radio frequency interference with other existing equipment for that existing building, structure, or tower and the interference cannot be prevented at a reasonable cost.
Such existing buildings, structures, or towers do not have adequate location, space, access, or height to accommodate the proposed equipment or to allow it to perform its intended function.
A commercially reasonable agreement could not be reached with the owner of such building, structure, or tower.
Engineer certification. Prior to the City's issuance of a permit authorizing construction and erection of a tower-based WCF, a structural engineer registered in Pennsylvania shall issue to the City a written certification of the proposed WCF's ability to meet the structural standards offered by either the Electronic Industries Association or the Telecommunication Industry Association and certify the proper construction of the foundation and the erection of the structure. This certification shall be provided with the application or at a minimum be made as a condition attached to any approval given such that the certification shall be provided prior to issuance of any permits.
Additional antennas. As a condition of approval for all tower-based WCFs in the rights-of-way, the WCF applicant shall provide the City with a written commitment that it will allow other service providers to co-locate antennas on tower-based WCFs where technically and economically feasible. The owner of a tower-based WCF shall not install any additional antennas without obtaining the prior written approval of the City, subject to the provisions of this chapter.
Signs. All tower-based WCFs shall post a sign in a readily visible location identifying the name and phone number of a party to contact in the event of an emergency. The only other signage permitted on the WCF shall be that required by the FCC or any other federal or state agency.
Lighting. No tower-based WCF shall be artificially lighted, except as required by law. If lighting is required, the WCF applicant shall provide a detailed plan for sufficient lighting, demonstrating as unobtrusive and inoffensive an effect as is permissible under state and federal regulations. The WCF applicant shall promptly report any outage or malfunction of FAA-mandated lighting to the appropriate governmental authorities and to the City Code Enforcement Officer.
Noise. Tower-based WCFs shall be operated and maintained so as not to produce noise in excess of applicable noise standards under state law and the City Code, except in emergency situations requiring the use of a backup generator, where such noise standards may be exceeded on a temporary basis only.
Timing of approval. Within 30 calendar days of the date that an application for a tower-based WCF is filed with the City, the City shall notify the WCF applicant, in writing, of any information that may be required to complete such application. All applications for tower-based WCFs shall be acted upon within 150 days of the receipt of a fully completed application for the approval of such tower-based WCF, and the City shall advise the WCF applicant, in writing, of its decision. If additional information was requested by the City to complete an application, the time required by the WCF applicant to provide the information shall not be counted toward the one-hundred-fifty-day review period.
FCC license. Each person that owns or operates a tower-based WCF over 40 feet in height shall submit a copy of its current FCC license, including the name, address, and emergency telephone number for the operator of the facility.
Prohibited on certain structures. Non-tower WCFs may not be located on single-family detached residences, single-family attached residences, or any residential accessory structure.
Noncommercial usage exemption. City residents utilizing satellite dishes and antennas for the purpose of maintaining television, phone, radio and/or Internet connections at their respective residences shall be exempt from the design regulations enumerated in this chapter. This exemption shall include amateur radio operators.
WCFs located in the right-of-way, whether tower-based or non-tower, shall not be greater than 10 feet taller than the existing utility poles, lights or other similar structures located in the right-of-way within a one-block radius of the WCF. In accordance with industry standards, all WCF applicants must submit documentation to the City justifying the total height of the WCF. Such documentation shall be analyzed in the context of such justification on an individual basis. The City may require a reduction in height if the proposed height is not justified.
Nonconforming wireless support structures. Non-tower WCFs shall be permitted to co-locate upon nonconforming tower-based WCFs and other nonconforming structures existing on the effective date of this chapter. Co-location of WCFs upon existing tower-based WCFs is encouraged even if the tower-based WCF is nonconforming as to use within a zoning district.
Public safety communications. WCFs shall not interfere with public safety communications or the reception of broadband, television, radio or other communication services enjoyed by occupants of nearby properties.
Timing of approval for co-location applications in the rights-of-way. The following time frames shall apply to applications for co-located WCFs:
Applications for co-located non-tower WCFs that do not substantially change the dimensions of the underlying wireless support structure, or that otherwise do not fall under the Pennsylvania Wireless Broadband Collocations Act. Within 30 calendar days of the date that an application for a non-tower WCF is filed with the City, the City shall notify the WCF applicant, in writing, of any information that may be required to complete such application. Within 90 calendar days of receipt of a complete application, the City shall make its final decision on whether to approve the application and shall advise the WCF applicant, in writing, of such decision.
Applications for co-locations that do substantially change the dimensions of the underlying wireless support structure or that otherwise fall under the Pennsylvania Wireless Broadband Collocations Act. Within 30 calendar days of the date that an application for a non-tower WCF is filed with the City, the City shall notify the WCF applicant, in writing, of any information that may be required to complete such application. Within 60 calendar days of receipt of a complete application, the City shall make its final decision on whether to approve the application and shall advise the WCF applicant, in writing, of such decision.
Insurance. Each person that owns or operates a tower-based WCF greater than 40 feet in height shall provide the City with a certificate of insurance evidencing general liability coverage in the minimum amount of $5,000,000 per occurrence and property damage coverage in the minimum amount of $5,000,000 per occurrence covering the tower-based WCF. Each person and/or entity that owns or operates a tower-based WCF 40 feet or less in height or any non-tower WCF shall provide the City with a certificate of insurance evidencing general liability coverage in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence and property damage coverage in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence covering each WCF.
Indemnification. Each person that owns or operates a WCF shall, at its sole cost and expense, indemnify, defend and hold harmless the City of Latrobe, its elected and appointed officials, employees and agents, at all times against any and all claims for personal injury, including death, and property damage arising in whole or in part from, caused by or connected with any act or omission of the person, its officers, agents, employees or contractors arising out of, but not limited to, the construction, installation, operation, maintenance or removal of the WCF. Each person that owns or operates a WCF shall defend any actions or proceedings against the City in which it is claimed that personal injury, including death, or property damage was caused by the construction, installation, operation, maintenance or removal of a WCF. The obligation to indemnify, hold harmless and defend shall include, but not be limited to, the obligation to pay judgments, injuries, liabilities, damages, reasonable attorneys' fees, reasonable expert fees, court costs and all other costs of indemnification.
Maintenance. To the extent permitted by law, the following maintenance requirements shall apply:
The WCF shall be fully automated and unattended on a daily basis and shall be visited only for maintenance or emergency repair.
Such maintenance shall be performed to ensure the upkeep of the facility in order to promote the safety and security of the City's residents.
All maintenance activities shall utilize nothing less than the best available technology for preventing failures and accidents.
The following regulations shall apply to all co-located non-tower WCFs that do not substantially change the physical dimensions of the wireless support structure to which they are attached and/or fall under the Pennsylvania Wireless Broadband Collocation Act:
Building permit required, excepted from the right-of-way access permit. WCF applicants proposing the modification of an existing tower-based WCF shall obtain a building permit from the City. In order to be considered for such permit, the WCF applicant must submit a permit application to the City in accordance with applicable permit policies and procedures. The City shall issue a determination on the building permit within 90 days of the date of the receipt of a completed application.
Related equipment. Ground-mounted related equipment greater than three cubic feet shall not be located within 50 feet of a lot in residential use or zoned residential.
Permit fees. The City may assess appropriate and reasonable permit fees directly related to the City's actual costs in reviewing and processing the application for approval of a non-tower WCF.
The following regulations shall apply to all non-tower WCFs that do substantially change the wireless support structure to which they are attached, all tower-based WCFs, and/or those that otherwise do not fall under the Pennsylvania Wireless Broadband Collocation Act:
Right-of-way access permit required. Any WCF applicant proposing the construction of a new non-tower WCF or tower-based WCF, or the modification of an existing non-tower WCF, shall first obtain a right-of-way access permit from the City Council. New constructions, modifications, and replacements that do fall under the WBCA shall not be subject to the permit process. The right-of-way access permit application shall demonstrate that the proposed facility complies with all applicable provisions in the City of Latrobe Code.
Permit fees. The City may assess appropriate and reasonable permit fees directly related to the City's actual costs in reviewing and processing the application for approval of a non-tower WCF, as well as related inspection, monitoring and related costs.
Inspection. The City reserves the right to inspect any WCF to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter and any other provisions found within the City Code or state or federal law. The City and/or its agents shall have the authority to enter the property upon which a WCF is located at any time, upon reasonable notice to the operator, to ensure such compliance.
Retention of experts. The City may hire any consultant(s) and/or expert(s) necessary to assist the City in reviewing and evaluating the application for approval of the WCF and, once approved, in reviewing and evaluating any potential violations of the terms and conditions of these WCF provisions. The WCF applicant and/or owner of the WCF shall reimburse the City for all costs of the City's consultant(s) in providing expert evaluation and consultation in connection with these activities.
WCF installations located above the surface grade in the public ROW, including, but not limited to, those on streetlights and joint utility poles, shall consist of equipment components that are no more than six feet in height and that are compatible in scale and proportion to the structures upon which they are mounted. All equipment shall be the smallest and least visibly intrusive equipment feasible.
The WCF shall employ the most-current stealth technology available in an effort to appropriately blend into the surrounding environment and minimize aesthetic impact. Antennas and related equipment shall be treated to match the supporting structure and may be required to be painted, or otherwise coated, to be visually compatible with the support structure upon which they are mounted.
All WCFs shall be designed, constructed, operated, maintained, repaired, modified and removed in strict compliance with all current applicable technical, safety and safety-related codes, including, but not limited to, the most-recent editions of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Code, National Electrical Safety Code, and National Electrical Code. Any WCF shall at all times be kept and maintained in good condition, order and repair by qualified maintenance and construction personnel, so that the same shall not endanger the life of any person or any property in the City of Latrobe.
All WCF structures shall be designed to withstand the effects of wind gusts of at least 100 miles per hour in addition to the standard designed by the American National Standards Institute as prepared by the engineering departments of the Electronics Industry Association and Telecommunications Industry Association (ANSI/TIA-222, as amended).
All WCFs shall comply with all federal and state laws and regulations concerning aviation safety.
A WCF shall not, by itself or in conjunction with other WCFs, generate radio frequency emissions in excess of the standards and regulations of the FCC, including, but not limited to, the FCC Office of Engineering Technology Bulletin 65, entitled "Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields," as amended.
The City shall determine the time, place, and manner of construction, maintenance, repair and/or removal of all non-tower WCFs in the ROW based on public safety, traffic management, physical burden on the ROW, and related considerations. For public utilities, the time, place, and manner requirements shall be consistent with the police powers of the City and the requirements of the Public Utility Code.
WCFs and related equipment shall be located so as not to cause any physical or visual obstruction to pedestrian or vehicular traffic, or to otherwise create safety hazards to pedestrians and/or motorists, or to otherwise inconvenience public use of the ROW, as determined by the City. In addition:
In no case shall ground-mounted related equipment, walls, or landscaping be located within 18 inches of the face of the curb or within an easement extending onto a privately owned lot.
Ground-mounted related equipment that cannot be placed underground shall be screened, to the fullest extent possible, through the use of landscaping or other decorative features to the satisfaction of the City. Said related equipment, together with required screening, shall not obstruct the public right-of-way.
Required electrical meter cabinets shall be screened to blend in with the surrounding area to the satisfaction of the City.
Any graffiti on any wireless support structures or any related equipment shall be removed at the sole expense of the owner.
Any proposed underground vault related to the WCF shall be reviewed and approved by the City.
Within 60 days following written notice from the City, or such longer period as the City determines is reasonably necessary or such shorter period in the case of an emergency, an owner of a WCF in the ROW shall, at its own expense, temporarily or permanently remove, relocate, change or alter the position of any WCF when the City, consistent with its police powers and applicable Public Utility Commission regulations, has determined that such removal, relocation, change or alteration is reasonably necessary under the following circumstances:
The construction, repair, maintenance or installation of any City or other public improvement in the right-of-way;
The operations of the City or other governmental entity in the right-of-way;
Vacation of a street or road or the release of a utility easement; or
An emergency as determined by the City.
In the event that use of a WCF is discontinued, the owner shall provide written notice to the City of its intent to discontinue use and the date when the use shall be discontinued. Unused or abandoned WCFs or portions of WCFs shall be removed as follows:
All abandoned or unused WCFs and accessory facilities shall be removed within two months of the cessation of operations at the site, unless a time extension is approved by the City.
If the WCF or accessory facility is not removed within two months of the cessation of operations at a site, or within any longer period approved by the City, the WCF and/or associated facilities and equipment may be removed by the City and the cost of removal assessed against the owner of the WCF.
In addition to permit fees as described in this chapter, every WCF in the ROW is subject to the City's right to fix annually a fair and reasonable fee to be paid for use and occupancy of the ROW. Such compensation for ROW use shall be directly related to the City's actual ROW management costs, including, but not limited to, the costs of the administration and performance of all reviewing, inspecting, permitting, supervising and other ROW management activities by the City. The owner of each WCF shall pay an annual fee to the City to compensate the City for the City's costs incurred in connection with the activities described above.