[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of New Hartford 8-5-1998 by L.L. No. 6-1998. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Planning Board of the Town of New Hartford is hereby authorized to review and approve, approve with modifications or disapprove tower special use permits and site plans consistent with Article 16 of the Town Law of the State of New York, §§ 274-a and 274-b.
The Town of New Hartford 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 telecommunications tower and associated structures. The intent of this chapter is to regulate telecommunication facilities in accordance with the guidelines of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 by:
Accommodating the need for telecommunication towers/antennas while regulating their location and number in the community.
Minimizing adverse visual impacts of these towers/antennas while regulating their location and number in the community.
Preserving and enhancing the positive aesthetic qualities of the built and natural environment in the Town of New Hartford.
Avoiding potential damage to adjacent properties from tower failure, falling ice, etc., through engineering and proper siting.
Requiring the joint use of towers, when available, and encouraging the placement of antennas on existing structures, to reduce the number of such structures in the future. No new tower may be established if there is a technically suitable space available on an existing telecommunications tower or structure within the search area that the new cell site is to serve.
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 a telecommunications tower, and located on the same lot as the telecommunications tower, including utility or transmission equipment storage sheds for cabinets.
- A system of electrical conductors that transmit or receive radio frequency signals. Such signals shall include, but not be limited to, radio, television, cellular, paging, personal communications services (PCS) and microwave communications.
- CONVENTIONAL TELEVISION OR RADIO ANTENNA
- Any receiving antenna other than a satellite antenna.
- DISH ANTENNA
- See "antenna."
- The Environmental Protection Agency.
- The Federal Aviation Administration.
- The Federal Communications Commission.
- A method of providing telecommunications bandwidth by means of a series of antennas, transmitters and reflectors on towers.
- SATELLITE ANTENNA
- Any parabolic dish, antenna or other device or equipment of whatever nature or kind, the primary purpose of which is to receive television, radio, light, microwave or other electronic signals, waves and/or communications from space satellites.
- The transmission and reception of audio, video, data and other information by wire, radio, light and other electronic or electromagnetic systems.
- TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITY
- Telecommunication towers and associated antennas and accessory structures.
- TELECOMMUNICATIONS TOWER
- A structure designed to support antennas. It includes, without limit, freestanding towers, guyed towers, monopoles and similar structures that employ camouflage technology. It is a structure intended for transmitting and/or receiving radio, television, telephone or microwave communications but excluding those used either for fire, police and other dispatch communications, or exclusively for private radio and television reception and private citizen's bands, amateur radio and other similar communications.
- Any tower, pole, windmill or other structure, whether attached to a building, guyed or freestanding, designed to be used for and/or for the support of any device for the transmission and/or reception of radio frequency signals, including but not limited to, broadcast, shortwave, citizen's band, FM or AM television, microwave and any wind-driven devices, whether used for energy production or not.
No special use permit or renewal thereof or modification of a current special use permit relating to a telecommunications facility shall be authorized by the Planning Board unless it finds that such telecommunications facility:
Is necessary to meet current or expected demands for service;
Conforms with all applicable regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal agencies;
Is considered a public utility in the State of New York;
Is designed and constructed in a manner which minimizes visual impact to the extent practical;
Complies with all other requirements of this chapter, unless expressly superseded herein;
Is the most appropriate site among those available within the technically feasible area for the location of a telecommunications facility;
When including the construction of a tower, such tower is designed to accommodate future shared use by at least one other telecommunication service provider. Any subsequent location of telecommunication equipment by other service providers on existing towers specifically designed for shared use shall not require a new or modified special permit if there would be no increase in the height of the tower. However, the additional equipment will require town staff review.
[Added 3-27-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
Telecommunications towers and antennas shall be permitted in all districts except for residential or within 750 feet of a residential district, except as set forth in Subsection B below, subject to the requirements of this chapter.
Towers and antennas shall not be permitted in residential districts or within 750 feet of a residential district unless a special use permit is granted pursuant to §§ 107B-6 and 107B-7 and site plan review as set forth in Article V of the Town Zoning Law, provided that the applicant can show an undue hardship in that:
The applicant would not be able to provide service to the area without locating in the described area.
The applicant has demonstrated that it is unable to collocate on an existing tower or structure, nor can it locate a new or second tower on a nonresidential property where there is an existing tower or structure.
Where the applicant seeks to locate in a residential district or within 750 feet of a residential district, an applicant must prove that it cannot utilize a current tower, structure, utility pole, building or land area for an additional structure because of technical reasons which would make the provision of service not possible. Proof of the extraordinary additional cost may be presented by the applicant on the issue of proof of inability to collocate or otherwise utilize a current tower, structure, utility pole, or building or land area. However, the fact that additional cost is involved and additional antennas may be required is not conclusive as to the finding of an inability to so collocate. Additional costs may be reasonable and rational costs of doing business, particularly where locations, in particular residential areas, are considered "prime."
In the event that the applicant meets the criteria of Subsections B and C above, subject to all other requirements of this chapter, the facility located in a residential district must meet the following additional criteria:
If the tower is less than 50 feet in height or the antennas are to be located on a structure of less than 50 feet, the Planning Board in its discretion may require that the tower and/or antennas be completely camouflaged to blend with the surroundings, including but not limited to:
If applicant has proved that a tower greater than 50 feet is needed to provide the required coverage, the Planning Board may require that more than one tower being 50 feet or less be built in lieu of a single taller tower in order to provide the required coverage. In such a case, all of the criteria of this chapter must be fulfilled for each such tower.
In all events of facilities located in residential districts, the applicant must provide substantial foliage and landscaping within the vicinity of the tower as well as landscaped buffer areas in keeping with the goal of providing an aesthetically pleasing residential area.
Collocated/existing structure antennas. An antenna that is to be attached to an existing communications tower or any other structure is a permitted use in all zoning districts, except in or within 750 feet of a residential zone. An antenna that is to be attached to any other structure in any zone, other than a residential zone or within 750 feet of a residential zone, is a permitted use. These antennas are permitted upon the issuance of a building permit. The building permit application will include a structural analysis/report verifying the ability of the structure to support the antenna while also deeming the structure to be capable of supporting the additional loads. The height of the antenna shall not extend above the height of the existing structure by more than 50 feet.
[Added 6-11-2014 by L.L. No. 5-2014]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former § 107B-5, Approvals and bulk requirements.
All applicants for a tower special use permit shall make written application to the Planning Board, through the Town Planning Department. This application shall include:
Town-supplied permit application form.
Proof of notification (certified mail return receipts to be given to the town by the applicant) of all property owners within 500 feet of the boundaries of the property or which the tower is to be constructed.
Site plan application forms, including long form EAF.
Site plan, in form and content acceptable to the town according to Article V of the Town Zoning Law, prepared to scale and in sufficient detail and accuracy, showing at a minimum:
The exact location of the proposed tower, together with guy wires and guy anchors, if applicable.
The maximum height of the proposed tower.
A detail of tower type (monopole, guyed, freestanding or other).
The color or colors of the tower.
The location, type and intensity of any lighting on the tower.
The property boundaries. (A copy of a property survey must also be provided.)
Proof of the landowner's consent if the applicant will not own the property. (A copy of a lease agreement must also be provided if the applicant will not own the property.)
The location of all 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.
The names of adjacent landowners.
The location, nature and extent of any proposed fencing and landscaping or screening.
The location and nature of proposed utility easements and access road if applicable.
Building elevations of accessory structures or immediately adjacent buildings.
"Before" and "after" propagation studies prepared by a qualified radio frequency engineer (signed and sealed by a professional engineer registered in the State of New York), demonstrating existing signal coverage, contrasted with the proposed signal coverage resulting from the proposed telecommunications facility.
A search ring prepared by a qualified radio frequency engineer (signed and sealed documents by a professional engineer registered in the State of New York) 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. The applicant must be prepared to explain to the Planning Board 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 a collocated antenna(s), and to what extent the applicant explored locating the proposed tower in a more intensive use district. Correspondence with other telecommunications companies concerning collocation is part of this requirement.
The Town Staff and Planning Board, upon reviewing the application, may request reasonable additional visual and aesthetic information as it deems appropriate on a case-by-case basis. Such additional information may include, among other things, enhanced landscaping plans, line-of-sight drawings and/or visual simulations from viewpoints selected by the Town Staff and Planning Board. Line-of-sight drawings and visual simulations are mandatory for applications in Residential and Residential-Transitional Zoning Districts.
In important preservation/conservation areas as identified in the town's open space/recreation plan, the town will require additional site plan and tower special use permit requirements. These requirements can include, but are not limited to, specially designed towers, additional screening, greater setbacks and improved landscaping.
The following criteria will be considered by the town 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:
The town may express a preference that the proposed telecommunications facility be located in an alternate technologically feasible and available location. A guideline for the town's preference, from most favorable to least favorable districts/property, is as follows:
In siting, areas identified in the town's open space/recreation plan as important preservation/conservation areas should be avoided to the maximum extent possible.
Any request by the town for information on a preferred alternate site shall not unreasonably delay the application.
Aesthetics. Telecommunications facilities shall be located and buffered to the maximum extent which is practical and technologically feasible to help ensure compatibility with surrounding land uses. In order to minimize any adverse aesthetic effect on neighboring residences to the extent possible, the Planning Board may impose reasonable conditions on the applicant, including the following:
The Planning Board may require a monopole or guyed tower (if sufficient land is available to the applicant) instead of a freestanding tower. Monopoles are a preferred design.
The Planning Board may require reasonable landscaping consisting of trees or shrubs to screen the base of the tower and/or to screen the tower to the extent possible from adjacent residential property. Existing on-site trees and vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible.
The town can request additional site plan requirements such as specially designed towers, additional screening, greater setbacks and improved landscaping to address aesthetic concerns.
The town may require the applicant to show that he 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.
Towers should be designed and sited as to avoid, whenever possible, application of FAA lighting and painting requirements. Towers shall not be artificially lighted except as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Towers shall be of a nonreflective finish, the color of which shall be subject to approval. Any lights which may be required by the FAA shall not consist of strobe lights, unless specifically mandated by the FAA.
No tower shall contain any signs or advertising devices. A small sign on the fencing shall be placed to identify the ownership of the facility and a telephone number for emergencies.
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.
Radio-frequency effect. The Planning Board may impose a condition on the applicant that the communication antennas be operated only at Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated frequencies and power levels and/or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) technical exposure limits, and that the applicant provide competent documentation to support that maximum allowable frequencies, power levels and exposure limits for radiation will not be exceeded.
Traffic, access and safety.
A road turnaround and one parking space shall be provided to assure adequate 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's or antenna's accessory structures is prohibited.
All towers and guy anchors, if applicable, shall be enclosed by a fence not less than eight feet in height or otherwise sufficiently protected from trespassing or vandalism.
The applicant must comply with all applicable state and federal regulations, including but not limited to FAA and FCC regulations.
Removal of tower. The applicant shall agree to remove the tower if the telecommunications facility becomes obsolete or ceases to be used for its intended purpose for 12 consecutive months. The Planning Board shall require the applicant to provide a demolition bond (in an amount determined by the Planning Board based on the cost of removal) for purposes of removing the telecommunications facility in case the applicant fails to do so as required above. The applicant shall submit potential cost for removal to the Planning Board.
Structural safety. During the application process and every three years after construction of the tower, the applicant/owner shall provide to the Codes Enforcement Officer a certification from a qualified, professional engineer, certifying that the tower meets applicable structural safety standards.
Maintenance of telecommunications facility. All telecommunications facilities shall be maintained in good order and repair.
Exemptions shall be as follows:
Towers and antennas may be repaired and maintained without restriction.
Antennas used solely for residential household television and radio reception.
Satellite antennas measuring two meters or less in diameter and located in commercial districts and satellite antennas one meter or less in diameter, regardless of location.
The owner/applicant shall submit to the Planning Board a completed, written application and site plan under the provisions of Article V. Upon receipt of such application and site plan, the Planning Board shall conduct a two-step review process. The Planning Board shall first determine whether the applicant qualifies for a special use permit according to §§ 107B-6 and 107B-7 of this chapter. Then, the Planning Board shall conduct site plan review in accordance with Article V of the Town Zoning Law.
Any application requiring a tower special use permit and any other approvals from another Board, (i.e., Zoning Board of Appeals) must receive Planning Board approval prior to any action by any other Boards.
The Planning Board shall conduct a public hearing on the special use permit within 62 days of receiving an application and site plan. The public hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article V. The Planning Board shall review the application for compliance with the provisions of this chapter and shall determine that the location of the proposed telecommunications tower is in accordance with the principles and requirements stated herein.
If the Planning Board approves a special use permit, the Planning Board shall then conduct site plan review. Site plan review shall be conducted in accordance with Article V of the Town of New Hartford Zoning Law.
The approval of the Planning Board shall be contingent on the receipt by the Town Board of a bond for the demolition of the telecommunications tower within five business days and said bond shall be subject to the approval of the Planning Board and the Town Attorney.
Any materials (i.e., proof of continued use of the tower) to be filed by the owner/applicant or any subsequent owner/operator of the communication tower shall be filed with the Codes Enforcement Office of the Town of New Hartford on a yearly basis.
The Planning Board may waive or vary any requirements in this chapter for good cause shown.
Any application requiring a tower special use permit and any other approvals from another Board (i.e., Zoning Board of Appeals) must receive Planning Board approval prior to any other Board approvals.
This chapter is meant to control towers and similar facilities in the town. Unless specifically referenced in this chapter, other sections of the Zoning Law are intended to be inapplicable (such as height limitations normally required in the relevant zoning district).
Any facility receiving a tower special use permit that subsequently does not meet the requirements of that permit shall have its permit revoked, and the tower shall be removed within 90 days of notification by the town.
Tower special use permit: $2,500 application fee (includes site plan fee); plus any additional costs for outside consultants incurred by the town for review of propagation studies, search ring and analysis, collocation possibilities or any other review deemed necessary by town officials.
Building permit fee: $250 base fee (examination of plans and review); plus $10 per $1,000 value of total verified construction cost.