WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES
This section contains specific requirements and restrictions to guide the development of wireless communications facilities in the Town of Holden. The requirements are intended to provide maximum wireless communication coverage as mandated by Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, while protecting the general welfare and aesthetic integrity of the Town of Holden. It is the intent of this section to provide for establishment and/or expansion of cellular telephone, mobile radio and personal communication and similar systems within the Town of Holden while protecting neighborhoods and minimizing the adverse visual and operational effects of wireless telecommunications facilities through careful design, siting and screening. The Town of Holden has developed this bylaw to:
Maximize use of existing and approved towers and other structures to accommodate new antennas and transmitters in order to reduce the number of wireless communications facilities needed to serve the community.
Encourage providers to co-locate their facilities on a single structure or site.
Minimize the location of facilities in visually sensitive areas.
Site facilities below visually prominent ridge lines.
Protect historic and residential areas from potential adverse impacts of such facilities.
Avoid potential damage to adjacent properties from facility failure through engineering and careful siting of facilities.
When considering an application for a new Wireless Communication Facility, great emphasis shall be placed on the proximity of the Wireless Communication Facility to residential dwellings and its impact on these residences and neighborhoods.
2) Definitions - Refer to Section II of the Zoning Bylaws.
3) Site Selection Preferences
These regulations are written to indicate the Town of Holden preferences for facility locations. The following describes, in descending order, the Town’s preference for wireless communication facility sites:
On existing structures such as buildings, communications towers, smokestacks, utility structures and other like structures and facilities.
In locations where existing topography, vegetation, buildings or other structures provide the greatest amount of screening.
On government or educational institution structures.
On new towers in the Industrial and Industrial Quarrying zoning districts.
On new towers on state or federal land.
On new towers on municipal land.
On new towers in Business Office-Professional or Commercial zoning districts.
On government or educational institution structures in residential zoning districts.
On new towers in the R-40 residential zoning district.
On new towers in all other residential zoning districts.
4) Use Restrictions
A. Wireless Communication Facilities Other Than a Tower
A wireless communication facility other than a tower shall include wireless communications facilities mounted on erected on or supported in whole or in part by an existing building or structure (such as buildings, water towers, smoke stacks and the like).
A wireless communications facility other than a wireless communications tower may be erected upon the issuance of a building permit from the Holden Building Commissioner. The following restrictions apply to all Wireless Communication Facilities other than towers:
1. Installations on existing buildings shall be camouflaged or screened and designed to be harmonious and architecturally consistent with the building. Any equipment associated with the facility shall be located within the building or otherwise camouflaged or screened. No facility shall be closer than 300 feet to the nearest existing residential structure. A lesser distance may be considered by Special Permit through the Zoning Board of Appeals.
2. No facility shall project more than ten feet above the existing roof line of the building, or more than five feet out from the plane of the existing wall or facade to which it is attached, provided such projections do not otherwise violate existing yard dimensions or set-back requirements.
3. Any proposed addition of cells, antennae or panels other than for repair or maintenance shall be the subject of a new application and permit.
4. All building-mounted facilities shall be designed and located so to appear as an integral part of the existing architecture of the building.
5. All Wireless Communication Facilities shall be protected against unauthorized access by the public. Fencing shall be compatible with the scenic character of the neighborhood. Use of razor wire is prohibited.
6. Except as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), towers shall not be artificially lighted.
7. All Wireless Communications Facilities shall be sited in such a manner that the view of the facility from adjacent abutters, residential neighbors and other areas of Town shall be as limited as possible.
B. Wireless Communication Facility Towers
A wireless communications tower shall include all new monopole and lattice tower facilities. Wireless communication towers may be erected upon the issuance of a special permit by the Zoning Board of Appeals. The following restrictions apply to all Wireless communication Facility Towers:
1. To the extent feasible, all service providers shall co-locate on a single tower. Towers shall be designed to structurally accommodate the maximum number of foreseeable users technically practical within a ten-year period.
2. New towers shall be considered only upon a finding by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) that existing or approved towers cannot accommodate the wireless communication equipment planned for the proposed tower.
3. Tower height shall not exceed one hundred twenty feet measured at the base of the tower, however, the ZBA may waive the height requirement if the applicant can show that an increase in tower height will facilitate co-locating of service providers on a single tower.
4. In residential districts the distance of a tower from the property line shall be a minimum of two (2) times the maximum height of the tower from the nearest lot line, but not less than 300 feet as measured from the base of the tower to the nearest residential structure. A lesser distance may be considered by Special Permit through the Zoning Board of Appeals.
5. The base of the tower shall be a distance of at least equal to the tower’s height from any property line of existing structure.
6. Existing vegetation shall be preserved as much as possible.
7. All Wireless Communication Facility Towers shall be protected against unauthorized access by the public. Fencing shall be compatible with the scenic character of the neighborhood. Use of razor wire is prohibited.
8. All Wireless Communication Facility Towers shall be sited in such a manner that the view of the facility from adjacent abutters, residential neighbors and other areas of Town shall be as limited as possible. Towers shall be painted or otherwise screened or colored to minimize their visibility to occupants or residents of surrounding buildings.
9. Any proposed extension or addition to an existing Wireless Communication Facility Tower shall require a special permit.
10. No tower or accessory structure shall contain any signs or other devices for advertising.
11. Except as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) towers shall not be artificially lighted.
5) Cessation of Use and Obsolescence
All unused Wireless Communication Facilities and Wireless Communication Facility Towers which have not been used for one year, shall be dismantled and removed at the owner’s expense. The ZBA in the case of Wireless Communication Facility Towers and the Building Commissioner in the case of other Wireless Communication Facilities may elect to request that the applicant post a site restoration bond or other form on financial security acceptable to the Town in an amount suitable to cover demolition, removal and disposal of the Wireless Communication Facilities and Wireless Communication Facility Tower.
Submittal Requirements for all Wireless Communications Facilities
The following items and information are required to be submitted at the time an application is filed:
A. A report by a professional or radio frequency engineer describing the general design and capacity of any proposed installation including:
A description of the proposed wireless communication facility and all related fixtures, structures, appurtenances and apparatus, including height, materials, color and lighting.
The frequency, modulation and class of service.
An evaluation of the feasibility of attaching the proposed facility to existing buildings.
Copies of all application permits required for this project and a certification of compliance with the terms and provision of the license issued for this purpose by the Federal Communications Commission.
B. Site Justification or Appropriateness Statement, including a description of the process to eliminate other potential sites.
C. Material describing a specific plan for a “balloon” or similar test including the date and time, as well as a rain date and time, suitable to include in the legal notice in the newspaper and for inclusion in the notice of abutters.
D. A statement indicating how the proposal meets the intents and purposes as outlined in sub-section 1) of this Section XVII.
E. A locus plan which shall show all property lines, the exact location of the proposed structures, streets, landscape features, residential dwellings, and all buildings within 300 feet of the proposed facility.
F. Provide information and materials necessary for notification of all parties of interest including the petitioner, abutters, owners of land directly opposite on any public or private street or way, and abutters to the abutters within three hundred feet of the property line of the petitioner as they appear on the most recent applicable tax list, notwithstanding that the land of any such owner is located in another city or town, the planning board of the city or town, and the planning board of every abutting city or town.
If a Special Permit required, applicable Special Permit information is also required in addition to the above items and information.
7) Testing Requirements for Wireless Communications Facilities
A. Pre and Post RFR Testing Requirements
Before the facility becomes operational, the applicant shall pay for an independent radio frequency engineer to monitor and evaluate the background levels of RFR around the proposed site. A report of monitoring results shall be prepared by the independent radio frequency engineer and submitted to the Planning Board and Building Commissioner.
After the facility is operational, the applicant/owner shall pay for an independent radio frequency engineer to monitor and evaluate the levels of RFR around the facility site at peak usage times. A report shall be submitted to the Planning Board and the Building Commissioner within 90 days beginning operations, and at annual intervals. All annual reports shall be due July 1 of each year. Such measurements shall be performed by an independent radio frequency engineer and shall state the RFR measurements are accurate and meet FCC regulations. Testing shall be required for all facilities. The RFR shall not exceed FCC regulations.
B. Structural Testing Requirements
Facility owner(s) shall pay for a qualified independent structural engineer to perform a structural safety inspection of the facility at least every 2 years and shall deliver a copy of said reports to the Building Commission and the Director of Public Works. All structural safety deficiencies shall be remedied and the Building Commissioner and Director of Public Works notified by the structural engineer within 60 days of the date of the report.
The invalidity of any section or provision of this bylaw shall not invalidate any other section or provision herein.
Specifically excluded are communication facilities provided by a governmental agency for the public health, safety or general welfare.