Town of Agawam, MA
Hampden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 3-2-1998 by TOR-97-13]
The purposes of this article are to:
A. 
Preserve the character and appearance of the community while simultaneously allowing adequate personal wireless services to be developed;
B. 
Protect the scenic, historic, environmental and natural or man-made resources of the community;
C. 
Provide standards and requirements for the regulation, placement, construction,, monitoring, design, modification and removal of personal wireless service facilities and towers;
D. 
Provide a procedural basis for action within a reasonable period of time for requests for authorization to place, construct, operate or modify personal wireless service facilities and towers;
E. 
Preserve property values;
F. 
Locate towers so that they do not have negative impacts, such as, but not limited to, visual blight, attractive nuisance, noise and falling objects, on the general safety, welfare and quality of life of the community;
G. 
Require owners of personal wireless service facilities and towers to configure them so as to minimize and mitigate the adverse visual impact of the facilities and towers; and
H. 
Require the clustering and camouflaging of personal wireless service facilities and towers.
This article is intended to be consistent with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, in that:
A. 
It does not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the provision of personal wireless services;
B. 
It is not intended to be used to unreasonably discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent personal wireless services; and
C. 
It does not regulate personal wireless services on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that the regulated services and facilities comply with the FCC's regulations concerning such emissions.
[Amended 11-7-2012 by TOR-2012-3]
For the purposes of this article, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
ACT
The Telecommunications Act of 1996.
A. 
This article specifically exempts the following wireless telecommunications facilities:
(1) 
Police;
(2) 
Fire;
(3) 
Ambulance and other emergency dispatch;
(4) 
Citizens band radio; and
(5) 
Amateur radio equipment and towers used in accordance with the terms of any amateur radio service license issued by the FCC, provided that the tower is not used or licensed for any commercial purpose and the tower shall be removed upon loss or termination of said FCC license.
B. 
No personal wireless service facility shall be considered exempt from this article for any reason whether or not said facility is proposed to share a tower or other structure with such exempt uses.
A. 
Purpose. The Wireless Telecommunications Overlay District (WTOD) is intended to protect the scenic, historic, natural and other resources of the Town of Agawam while allowing adequate personal wireless telecommunications to be developed. Towers shall be located only within Wireless Telecommunications Overlay District(s) within the Town of Agawam by special permit. Wireless telecommunications facilities mounted on top of an existing building (roof-mounted), mounted adjacent to the side or rear of an existing building (side-mounted) or mounted to the facade of an existing building (facade-mounted) may be located within these district(s), but are also allowed in the rest of the Town by special permit.
B. 
Description. This district includes the properties listed below. These properties are included by reason of their potential to provide technically feasible and accessible locations for the siting of facilities which can provide adequate personal wireless telecommunications services to the Town of Agawam. The Overlay District is defined, delineated and mapped on the map entitled "Wireless Telecommunications Overlay District Map, Town of Agawam MA," which is incorporated herein by reference.[1]
[Amended 10-6-2014 by TOR-2014-6]
Property Name
Assessor's Map, Block and Lot
Bondi's Island
N15-1-1
N14-1-1
Riverside Park
K3-3-1
Crestview Country Club
H3-1-21
H3-1-24
H3-1-19
H3-1-22
G2-1-1
Oak Ridge Country Club
E2-1-6
St. Anne Golf Course
F6-1-1
Agawam Municipal Golf Course
D10-1-6
Adams TV of Springfield
B14-1-4
B14-1-3
B14-1-5
Agawam Regional Industrial Park
G7-1-3
G7-1-4
G7-2-6
G6-1-1
F6-2-2
G7-3-1
G6-3-6
G7-1-8
H7-2-4
G6-1-7
H7-2-3
G6-1-3
G7-2-2
G6-1-8
G6-1-4
G5-6-1
H7-2-2
F7-2-2
G5-6-2
G5-6-3
G6-3-4
H8-1-1
G7-2-3
G6-3-5
H8-1-1
G8-1-14
G7-1-1
G7-1-2
G7-2-1
Western Massachusetts Electric
H5-1-5
H5-1-6
H5-1-1
H6-1-1
H6-1-17
H6-1-18
I4-1-9
I5-1-11
I5-1-12
Agawam Methodist Church
H10-2-17
[1]
Editor's Note: A copy of said map is on file in the office of the Town Clerk and may be examined there during regular business hours.
C. 
Relation to other districts. The WTOD is an overlay district mapped over other districts. It modifies and, where there is inconsistency, supersedes the regulations of such other districts. Except as so modified or superseded, the regulations of the underlying districts remain in effect.
D. 
Applicability. Any use of lands within the WTOD for purposes of placement, construction, modification or removal of personal wireless service facilities and/or towers shall be subject to the requirements of this article.
A. 
Upon submission of an application for any special permit under this article, the applicant shall pay a review fee determined by the SPGA, consisting of reasonable costs to be incurred by the SPGA for the employment of independent consultants. These consultants shall each be qualified professionals with a record of service to municipalities in one or more of the following:
(1) 
Telecommunications engineering;
(2) 
Structural engineering;
(3) 
Monitoring of electromagnetic fields; and
(4) 
(If determined necessary by the SPGA) other relevant fields of experience as determined by the SPGA.
B. 
The SPGA shall select the independent consultant(s) after consultation with the Board of Health and the Conservation Commission and the Department of Public Works, each of which shall propose a list of qualified candidates.
[Added 11-5-2014 by TOR-2014-9; amended 3-16-2015 by TOR-2015-1]
A. 
Upon submission of an application for a zone change to add a parcel to the Wireless Telecommunications Overlay District under this article, the applicant shall pay a review fee determined by the City Council, consisting of reasonable costs to be incurred by the City Council for the employment of independent consultants. These consultants shall each be qualified professionals with a record of service to municipalities in one or more of the following:
(1) 
Telecommunications engineering;
(2) 
Structural engineering;
(3) 
Monitoring of electromagnetic fields; and
(4) 
(If determined necessary by the City Council) other relevant fields of experience as determined by the City Council.
B. 
The independent consultant(s) shall assist the City Council in determining whether the subject parcel needs to be added to the Wireless Telecommunications Overlay District. Said analysis shall include, but not be limited to, determining whether adequate personal wireless services can be provided utilizing existing parcels in the Wireless Telecommunications Overlay District and/or existing structures, including but not limited to buildings, water towers, existing telecommunication facilities, utility poles and towers and related facilities, provided that such installation preserves the character and integrity of those structures.
No personal wireless service facility or tower shall be erected, constructed or installed or undergo Major Modification without first obtaining a special permit from the SPGA in accordance with the requirements set forth herein.
A. 
Adequate coverage, adequate capacity and justification of need for personal wireless service facility and/or tower.
(1) 
Sites in which applicant has legal or equitable interest.
(a) 
The applicant shall provide written documentation of any facility site(s) in Agawam and any sites in abutting towns located within eight miles of any boundary of the Town of Agawam in which it has any legal or equitable interest, whether by ownership, leasehold or otherwise. For each such facility site, it shall demonstrate with written documentation that this facility site is not already providing or does not have the potential by adjusting the site to provide adequate coverage and/or adequate capacity to the Town of Agawam. The documentation shall include, for each facility site listed:
[1] 
The exact tower location (in longitude and latitude, to degrees, minutes, seconds);
[2] 
Ground elevation above mean sea level at the tower location;
[3] 
Height of tower or structure;
[4] 
Type, manufacturer and model number of antennas;
[5] 
Antenna gain;
[6] 
Height of antennas on tower or structure;
[7] 
Output frequency;
[8] 
Number of channels;
[9] 
Power input; and
[10] 
Maximum power output per channel.
(b) 
Potential adjustments to these existing facility sites, including changes in antenna type, orientation, gain, height or power output shall be specified. Radial plots from each of these facility sites, as they exist, and with adjustments as above, shall be provided as part of the application.
(2) 
Sites in which applicant has no legal or equitable interest.
(a) 
The applicant shall demonstrate with written documentation that it has examined all existing facility sites located in Agawam and any sites in abutting towns located within eight miles of any boundary of the Town of Agawam in which the applicant has no legal or equitable interest, whether by ownership, leasehold or otherwise, to determine whether the existing facility sites can be used to provide adequate coverage and/or adequate capacity to the Town of Agawam. The documentation shall include, for each existing facility site examined:
[1] 
The exact tower location (in longitude and latitude, to degrees, minutes, seconds);
[2] 
Ground elevation above mean sea level at the tower location;
[3] 
Height of tower or structure;
[4] 
Type, manufacturer and model number of proposed antennas;
[5] 
Proposed antenna gain;
[6] 
Height of proposed antennas on tower or structure;
[7] 
Proposed output frequency;
[8] 
Proposed number of channels;
[9] 
Proposed power input; and
[10] 
Proposed maximum power output per channel.
(b) 
Radial plots from each of these existing facility sites, configured as documented above, shall be provided as part of the application.
(3) 
The applicant shall demonstrate with written documentation that it has analyzed the feasibility of repeaters in conjunction with all existing facility sites listed in compliance with the sections above to provide adequate coverage and/or adequate capacity to the Town of Agawam. Radial plots of all repeaters considered for use in conjunction with these facility sites shall be provided as part of the application.
B. 
Required documentation for personal wireless service facility and/or tower. The applicant shall include reports prepared by one or more professional engineers, which shall demonstrate that the personal wireless service facility and tower comply with all applicable standards of the federal and state governments, more specifically:
(1) 
Copies of ail submittals and showings pertaining to: FCC licensing, environmental impact statements, FAA notice of construction or alteration, aeronautical studies and all data, assumptions and calculations relating to service coverage and power levels regardless of whether categorical exemption from routine environmental evaluation under the FCC rules is claimed.
(2) 
Copies of all information submitted in compliance with requirements of Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 105 CMR 122 Fixed Facilities Which Generate Electromagnetic Fields in the Frequency Range of 300 khz to 100 ghz and Microwave Ovens, or any revisions thereof as the Department of Public Health may, by written notice, create.
(3) 
The exact legal name, address or principal place of business and phone number of the applicant. If any applicant is not a natural person, it shall also give the state under which it was created or organized.
(4) 
The name, title, address and phone number of the person to whom correspondence or communications in regard to the application are to be sent. Notice, orders and other papers may be served upon the person so named, and such service shall be deemed to be service upon the applicant.
(5) 
Name, address, phone number and written consent to apply for this permit of the owner of the property on which the proposed personal wireless service facility and/or tower shall be located or of the owner(s) of the tower or structure on which the proposed personal wireless service facility shall be located.
(6) 
Required plans and engineering plans, prepared, stamped and signed by a professional engineer licensed to practice in Massachusetts. (Note: Survey plans shall also be stamped and signed by a professional land surveyor registered in Massachusetts.) Plans shall be on sheets 24 inches x 36 inches, on as many sheets as necessary and at scales which are no smaller (i.e., no less precise) than listed below. Each plan sheet shall have a title block indicating the project title, sheet title, sheet number, date, revision dates, scale(s) and original seal and signature of the professional engineer and other professionals who prepared the plan.
(7) 
The applicant shall, as part of its application, provide the SPGA with the following plans and maps:
(a) 
Proposed site plans.
[1] 
Proposed facility site layout, grading and utilities at a scale no smaller than one inch = 40 feet (1:480 or metric equivalent 1:500) showing the entire vicinity within a radius of 400 feet of the tower site, with topography drawn with minimum of contour intervals of two feet (0.6 meter).
[2] 
Proposed tower location and any appurtenances and accessory buildings (communication equipment shelter or other). Indicate property boundaries of the Overlay District and setback distances to the base(s) of the tower and to the nearest comers of each of the appurtenant structures to those boundaries and dimensions of all proposed improvements.
[3] 
Limits of areas where vegetation is to be cleared or altered and justification for any such clearing or alteration.
[4] 
Plans of proposed access driveway or roadway and parking area at the facility site. Include grading, drainage, traveled width. Include a cross section of the access drive indicating the width, depth of gravel, paving or surface materials.
(b) 
Proposed tower and appurtenances.
[1] 
Plans, elevations, sections and details at appropriate scales but no smaller than one inch = 10 feet.
[2] 
Two cross-sections through proposed tower drawn at right angles to each other and showing the ground profile to at least 100 feet beyond the limit of clearing. Indicate proposed spot elevations at the base of the proposed tower. Dimension the proposed height of the tower above average grade at tower base. Indicate the maximum allowable structural height of the tower after addition of any modular sections. Show all proposed antennas, including their location on the tower.
[3] 
Details of typical tower foundation, including cross sections and details. Show all ground attachments, specifications for anchor bolts and other anchoring hardware.
[4] 
Detail proposed exterior finish and camouflage of the tower.
[5] 
Indicate relative height of the tower to the tops of surrounding trees as they presently exist.
(c) 
Proposed communications equipment shelters.
[1] 
Floor plans, elevations and cross sections at a scale of no smaller than 1/4 inch = one foot (1:48) of any proposed appurtenant structure.
[2] 
Representative elevation views, indicating the roof, facades, doors and other exterior appearance and materials.
(d) 
Proposed equipment plan.
[1] 
Plans, elevations, sections and details at appropriate scales, but no smaller than one inch = ten feet.
[2] 
Number of antennas and repeaters (if any), as well as the exact locations of all repeaters (if any) located on a map, as well as by degrees, minutes and seconds of latitude and longitude.
[3] 
Mounting locations on tower or structure, including height above ground.
[4] 
Antenna type(s), manufacturer(s), model and number(s).
[5] 
For each antenna, the antenna gain and antenna radiation pattern.
[6] 
Number of channels per antenna, projected and maximum.
[7] 
Power input to the antenna(s).
[8] 
Power output, in normal use and at maximum output for each antenna and all antennas as an aggregate.
[9] 
Output frequency of the transmitter(s).
C. 
Application requirements for roof-mounted, side-mounted and facade-mounted personal wireless service facilities. The use of repeaters to assure adequate coverage or to fill holes within areas of otherwise adequate coverage, while minimizing the number of required towers is permitted and encouraged.
(1) 
Applicants shall provide the following information:
(a) 
The exact location (in longitude and latitude, to degrees, minutes and seconds), as well as by street address or pole number (if applicable);
(b) 
Ground elevation;
(c) 
Proposed output frequency;
(d) 
Proposed number of channels;
(e) 
Proposed power input; and
(f) 
Proposed maximum power output per channel.
(2) 
Name, address, phone number and written consent to apply for this permit of the owner of the property on which the proposed facility shall be located.
(3) 
Proposed site layout, grading and utilities at a scale no smaller than one inch = 40 feet (1:480 or metric equivalent 1:500) showing the entire vicinity within a radius of 300 feet of the site with topography drawn with minimum contour intervals of two feet (0.6 meter).
(a) 
Proposed facility location and any appurtenances, if any, and any accessory building (communication equipment shelter or other). Indicate property boundaries of abutters within 300 feet of the facility, and dimensions of all proposed improvements;
(b) 
Limits of areas where vegetation is to be cleared or altered and justification for any such clearing or alteration; and
(c) 
Plans of any proposed access driveway or roadway and parking area at the site. Include grading, drainage, traveled width. Include a cross section of the access drive indicating the width, depth of gravel, paving or surface materials.
A. 
If feasible, personal wireless service facilities shall be located on existing structures, including, but not limited to, buildings, water towers, existing telecommunication facilities, utility poles and towers and related facilities, provided that such installation preserves the character and integrity of those structures.
B. 
Only freestanding monopoles, with associated antenna and/or panels, shall be allowed as specified in this section. Lattice-style towers and facilities requiring guy wires and/or three or more legs for support are prohibited.
C. 
If the applicant demonstrates that it is not feasible to locate on an existing structure, personal wireless services facility shall be designed so as to be camouflaged to the greatest extent possible, including, but not limited to: use of compatible building materials and colors, screening, landscaping and placement within trees. One week prior to and one week following the public hearing, a balloon shall be put in place at the height of the proposed tower. The balloon shall be of a size and color that can be seen from every direction for a distance of one mile.
D. 
A special permit shall not be granted for a tower to be built on speculation. If the applicant is not simultaneously installing a personal wireless service facility on the tower, it shall provide a copy of its existing lease/contract with a personal wireless service provider. Said provider shall provide all necessary data to comply with the terms of this article, as part of the applicant's application for a personal wireless service facility and/or tower or the special permit shall not be granted.
E. 
Tower(s) shall minimize, to the extent feasible, adverse visual impacts on the environment. The SPGA may impose reasonable conditions to ensure this result, including, but not limited to, requiring the use of camouflage, painting, lighting standards and screening.
F. 
When a personal wireless service facility extends above the roof height of a building on which it is mounted, every effort shall be made to conceal the facility within or behind existing architectural features to limit its visibility from public ways. Facilities mounted on a roof shall be stepped back from the front facade in order to limit their impact on the buildings silhouette. Personal wireless service facilities which are side mounted shall blend with the existing building's architecture and, if over five square feet, shall be painted or shielded with material which is consistent with the design features and materials of the building.
G. 
A vegetated buffer strip of undisturbed trees of an adequate depth to screen the facility and no less than 20 feet shall be retained as close to the tower as possible.
H. 
The tower and communication equipment shelter(s) shall be completely fenced for security within a gated area no greater than 10,000 square feet, with fence height limited to six feet. Use of razor wire is not permitted.
[Amended 3-18-2002 by TOR-2001-7]
I. 
There shall be no signs, except the following: a sign no greater than two square feet indicating the name of the personal wireless service facility's owner(s), and a twenty-four-hour emergency telephone number shall be posted adjacent to the entry gate. In addition, No Trespassing or other warning signs may be posted on the fence. All signs shall conform to the sign requirements of this chapter.
J. 
New towers shall be the lesser of 190 feet; or the minimum height determined by the independent consultant(s) to provide the applicant adequate coverage from the personal wireless service facility(s) proposed for use on the tower. Side- and roof-mounted personal wireless service facilities shall not project more than 10 feet above the height of an existing building nor project more than 10 feet above the height limit of the zoning district within which the facility is located. Personal wireless service facilities may be located on a building that is legally nonconforming with respect to height, provided that the facilities do not project above the existing building height. New antennas located on any of the following structures existing on the effective date of this article shall be exempt from the height restrictions of this article, provided that there is no increase in height of the existing structure as a result of the installation of a personal wireless service facility: water towers, guyed towers, lattice towers, fire towers and monopoles. New antennas located on any of the following existing structures shall be exempt from the height restriction of the article, provided that there is no more than a twenty-foot increase in the height of the existing structure as a result of the installation of a personal wireless service facility: electric transmission and distribution towers, telephone poles and similar existing utility structures.
K. 
In order to ensure public safety, the minimum distance from the base of a telecommunications tower to any property line and/or street, and all buildings on the subject property occupied on a regular basis, shall be a minimum of 260 feet; or 1 1/2 times the height of the facility/mount, including any antennas or appurtenances, whichever is greater. Such minimum distance to all publicly owned parks and playgrounds shall be at least 375 feet. As used herein, "publicly owned parks" shall not include any golf courses.
[Amended 3-18-2002 by TOR-2001-7]
L. 
To the extent feasible, all network interconnections to and from the telecommunications site and all power to the site shall be installed underground. At the initial construction of the access road to the site, sufficient conduit shall be laid to accommodate the maximum possible number of personal wireless service providers licensed to provide services to the Town of Agawam and surrounding areas.
M. 
Unless required by the Federal Aviation Administration, no night lighting of towers, or the personal wireless service facility is permitted, except for manually operated emergency lights for use only when operating personnel are on site.
N. 
No tower or personal wireless service facility, with the exception of roof-mounted, side-mounted, facade-mounted or structure-mounted telecommunications facilities or repeaters, shall be located outside of the Wireless Telecommunications Overlay District(s). No tower or personal wireless service facility shall be located within any of the following prohibited areas:
(1) 
Massachusetts or federally-regulated wetland.
(2) 
Massachusetts certified vernal pool.
O. 
A different existing structure or use on the same lot shall not preclude the construction and installation of a wireless telecommunications facility on such lot. If a tower and its equipment buildings are the sole use of the lot, the tower shall be deemed to be the principal use; otherwise, the use shall be considered accessory.
[Added 3-18-2002 by TOR-2001-7]
A. 
Upon submission of a complete application for any special permit(s) under this article, the SPGA shall provide its independent consultant(s) with the full application(s) for their analysis and review.
B. 
Applicants for any special permit(s) under this article shall grant permission for the town's independent consultant(s) to conduct any necessary site visit(s).
A. 
In acting on any special permit application, the SPGA shall proceed in accordance with the procedures and timelines established for special permits in this chapter. The special permit granting authority may adopt and from time to time amend rules and regulations relative to the issuance of such permits and shall file a copy of said rules and regulations in the office of the Town Clerk.
B. 
In addition to the findings required in this article, the SPGA shall, in consultation with the independent consultant(s), make all of the applicable findings before granting the special permit, as follows:
(1) 
That the applicant is proposing to locate its personal wireless service facility or tower within a Wireless Telecommunications Overlay District or other districts as provided by this article;
(2) 
That the applicant is not able to use existing towers/facility sites in or around the Town of Agawam, either with or without the use of repeaters, to provide adequate coverage and/or adequate capacity to the Town of Agawam;
(3) 
That the proposed personal wireless service facility/tower will not have an undue adverse impact on historic resources, scenic views, residential property values, natural or man-made resources;
(4) 
That the applicant has agreed to implement all reasonable measures to mitigate the potential adverse impacts of the towers and facilities; and
(5) 
That the proposal shall comply with FCC 96-326 and any and all other applicable FCC regulations regarding emissions of electromagnetic radiation and that the required monitoring program is in place and shall be paid for by the applicant.
(6) 
Any decision by the SPGA to deny an application for a special permit under this article shall be in conformance with SEC. 332(47 U.S.C. § 332) J(7)(B)(ii), (iii) of the Act, in that it shall be in writing and supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record.
A. 
Any personal wireless service facility (ground-mounted or otherwise) which ceases to operate for a period of one year shall be removed. "Cease to operate" is defined as not performing the normal functions associated with the personal wireless service facility and its equipment on a continuous and ongoing basis for a period of one year. At the time of removal, the facility site shall be remediated such that all personal wireless service facility improvements which have ceased to operate are removed. If all facilities on a tower have ceased to operate, the tower shall also be removed, and the facility or repeater site, including any access road(s) which lead to that facility site from the main access road, shag be revegetated. If all facility sites have ceased to operate, the owner of the last personal wireless service facility to leave the site shall revegetate the access road in its entirety. Existing trees shall only be removed with the written permission of the SPGA and only if the SPGA determines such removal of trees to be necessary to complete the required removal of personal wireless service facility(s).
B. 
Removal performance guaranty. The applicant shall, as a condition of the special permit, post an initial cash bond in a reasonable amount determined and approved by the SPGA. This bond shall be in force to cover the costs of the remediation of any damage to the landscape which occurs during the clearing of the site and to cover the cost of the removal of the tower or facility from the site and remediation of the landscape, should the facility cease to operate.
Towers and personal wireless service facilities shall be insured by the owner(s) against damage to persons or property. The owner(s) shall provide a certificate of insurance to the Planning Board on an annual basis. For towers and facilities located on property owned by the Town of Agawam, the Town of Agawam shall be an additional named insured.
Upon determination that the applicant and/or owner has failed to comply with this article or is in violation of this article, and the Town of Agawam takes any action to enforce this article, bring the applicant and/or owner into compliance with this article, or to abate any violations under this article, the applicant and/or owner shall be liable and responsible to pay to the Town of Agawam all costs, expenses and reasonable attorney's fees for such action taken by the Town of Agawam. Failure to pay said costs, expenses and reasonable attorney's fees within 30 days of receipt of notice to pay the same shall be grounds for the revocation of any special permit issued in accordance with this article.
The invalidity of any section or provision of this article shall not invalidate any other section or provision hereof or to take any other action with respect thereto.