24 - Siting Wireless Telecommunication Facilities - St. Croix Falls

Ordinance #24

Siting Wireless Telecommunication Facilities - St Croix Falls




The Common Council of the City of St. Croix Falls do ordain as follows:

Section 17.201 of the Code of Ordinances is created to read as follows:


Wireless telecommunication towers and antennas may be installed, erected and maintained pursuant to the provisions of this section.


(a) To ensure the provision of personal wireless service within the corporate boundaries of, and for the benefit of, the residents of the City of St. Croix Falls.

(b) To protect the public health, safety, and general welfare of the community, public and private property, and community aesthetics

(c) To minimize the visual impact of towers, antennas, and associated buildings through design and siting standards.

(d) To maximize the use of existing and approved towers and buildings to accommodate multiple antennas in order to reduce the number of towers needed to serve the community.

(e) To avoid damage to adjacent properties from tower failure through structural standards and setback requirements.

(2) DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this section and zoning code of the City, the terms defined in this ordinance have the meanings given them.

(a) Accessory Equipment Structure: A building or cabinet-like structure located adjacent to or in immediate vicinity of a wireless telecommunications tower or antenna to house equipment customarily incidental to the receiving or transmitting of wireless broadcasts, cellular telephone call, voice messaging and paging services.

(b) Antenna. Equipment used for transmitting or receiving radio frequency signals which is attached to a tower, building or other structure, usually consisting of a series of directional panels, microwave or satellite dishes, or omnidirectional "whip" antennae.

(c) Antenna Support Structure. Any building, pole, telescoping mast, tower, tripod, or any other structure which supports an antenna.

(d) Base Transceiver Station. Equipment that provides the link between wireless communications and land-based public telephone switching networks, including radio frequency transceivers, back-up power amplifiers, and signal processing hardware, typically contained in a small building or cabinet.

(e) Co-Location. The location of wireless telecommunications equipment from more than one provider on a common tower, building or structure.

(f)Commercial Receiving and/or Transmitting Antennae. Any antennae erected to transfer information for commercial use.

(g) Mast. The portion of the outside antenna system to which the antenna is attached, and the support or extension required to elevate the antenna to a height deemed necessary for adequate operation.

(h)Personal Wireless Services. Licensed commercial wireless communication services including cellular, personal communication services (PCS), enhanced specialized mobilized radio (EMR), paging and similar services.

(i) Public Property. Land, buildings, or other structures owned or operated by the City of St. Croix Falls.

(j)Tower. Any pole, spire, structure, or combination thereof, to which antenna could be attached, or which is designed for an antenna to be attached, and all supporting lines, cables, wires and braces.

(k) Uniform Building Code (UBC. Published by the International Conference of Building Officials and referenced by the State of Wisconsin

to provide jurisdictions with building-related standards and regulations.

(3) EXISTING TOWERS OR ANTENNAS. Antennas, towers and accessory structures for which a building permit or special use permit has been properly issued prior to the effective date of this ordinance, are, after the effective date hereof, declared to be nonconforming uses subject to the provisions of section 17.05 of this code.


(a) This ordinance shall be interpreted consistent with the provisions of the federal Communications Act of 1934 as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

(b) This ordinance shall apply to all persons, partnerships, corporations and other entities seeking to locate, site, place, modify or construct wireless telecommunications facilities within the corporate boundaries of the city.

(c) This ordinance reserves to the city all authority contained in state law and existing city ordinances regarding land use, zoning and regulation which has not been preempted by the federal government pursuant to section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as to the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities. (d) This ordinance does not apply to the use or location of private, residential citizen band radio towers, amateur radio towers or television antennas, or public safety communication facilities owned or operated by the City of St. Croix Falls.


(a) Wireless telecommunication antennas shall be allowed as a permitted use in all zoning districts if located or attached as follows:

1. Water Towers. Wireless telecommunication antennas shall be permitted upon City-owned water towers provided the applicant has incorporated applicable Performance Standards in Section 7 of this section, a lease agreement with the City has been approved by the City Council, a building permit has been obtained, and all applicable fees have been paid.

2. Co-Location on Existing Towers. Wireless telecommunication antennas shall be permitted to be attached to existing, conforming church steeples, bell towers, smokestacks, municipal, utility, hospital and school buildings and radio towers in accordance with applicable siting guidelines and performance standards in Sections 6 and 7, after the applicant has provided to the City a written statement of approval from the tower or structure owner or lessor, has obtained a building permit from the City and paid all applicable fees. The antenna shall not serve to extend the height of the existing, conforming steeple? tower, smokestack or radio tower, by more than 15 feet.

3. Utility Poles Wireless telecommunication antennae shall be permitted to be attached to utility poles after the applicant has provided a written statement of approval from the utility owner or lessor, has obtained a building permit from the City and paid the necessary fees. The height of the antennae shall not extend more than fifteen (15) feet above the pole. Existing lattice utility pole structures may also be utilized provided the approval from the owner and building permit is obtained. (b) Wireless Telecommunication towers and antennas shall be allowed as a conditional use under the permit procedure set forth in Section 17.18 of this Code in all zoning districts; and in accordance with the co-location requirements stated in Section 6, performance standards in Section 7 and specific procedural requirements in Section 9. Conditional Use Permits are not required for towers or antennas used, owned or operated by the City for public safety communications purposes.

(c) Height Limitations. The following height limitations table sets forth the applicable limitations of this section by zoning district, and shall include all parts of the wireless telecommunication tower and antenna structure measured from the base.

Zoning Districts R-1, R-2: Height Limitations: Allowed only on water towers, as co-located under subsection (5)(a), above, or on utility facilities, not exceeding 15 feet above the height of the water tower, steeple, smokestack or radio tower, and not exceeding 15 feet above roof or utility pole.

Zoning Districts B-1, B-2, B-3, RD, M-1: Height Limitations: Allowed only upon the grant of a conditional use permit. Height shall not exceed 15 feet above the roof of an existing, conforming building or structure; or, for new construction, for a single use, 90 feet; dual user, 120 feet; three or more users, up to 150 feet.

All heights for B-1 through B-3, RD, and M-l districts are above groused level

(6) CO-LOCATION REQUIREMENTS. No proposal for the construction of a new wireless telecommunication tower shall be approved unless the applicant documents to the satisfaction of the City Council that the antenna planned for the proposed tower cannot reasonably be accommodated on a City-owned water tower, on an existing, conforming co-location tower or structure, or on a utility pole within the applicant's search ring, transcending the municipal borders, and for the purpose of providing service to the residents and businesses of the City, due to one or more of the following:

(a) The antenna would exceed the structural capacity of the existing or approved tower or building.

(b) The antenna would cause interference with other existing or planned equipment at the tower or building.

(c) Existing or approved towers and buildings cannot reasonably accommodate the antenna at a height necessary for the proposed antenna to provide services to the residents and businesses of the City.

(d) Existing or approved towers and commercial buildings are outside of the documented search area.

(e) The owners or lessors of the existing or approved towers and buildings are unwilling to allow co-location upon their facilities.

(7) PERFORMANCE STANDARDS. The requirements of this section apply to all wireless telecommunications towers and antennas erected, constructed, placed, modified or replaced in the City of St. Croix Falls. All wireless telecommunication towers and antennas shall be designed and situated to be visually unobtrusive, to minimize the impact upon neighboring uses, and shall conform to the following design and siting criteria:

(a) Setbacks. The minimum setback from any property line, public right-of-way, building or structure, except for accessory buildings or equipment structures, for a wireless telecommunication tower shall be equal to 100% of the height of the tower. Setbacks for accessory building and equipment structures associated with wireless telecommunication towers and antennae shall comply with the zoning district in which the facility is located.

(b) Accessory Equipment Structures. All accessory equipment structures adjacent to an antenna system and/or tower shall be screened or architecturally designed to blend in with the surrounding environment and shall meet the minimum setback requirements of the applicable zoning district.

(c) Fencing. When deemed applicable by the City, appropriate safety fencing shall be incorporated within the site accommodating the tower and its accessory equipment structures.

(d) Landscaping and Screening. When deemed applicable by the City, proper landscaping and screening shall be incorporated into the site accommodating a tower and its accessory equipment structures.

(e) Color. The wireless telecommunication tower and antennae shall be of a neutral color such as light gray or sky blue except as dictated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and be designed to minimize visibility and to blend into the surrounding environment. (f) ~n~ Towers with antennas shall be designed to withstand applicable wind load requirements as prescribed in the Uniform Building Code. Towers and/or antenna systems shall be constructed of, or treated with, corrosive resistant material. A regular maintenance schedule shall be followed.

(g) Roof-Mounted Wireless Communication Antennas. Roof-mounted wireless telecommunication antennas shall not be permitted on buildings with pitched-roofs, unless they are stealth antennae incorporated into upward thrusting architectural elements, such as a church steeple, spire or bell-tower' smokestack, or radio tower. On flat roofs, the height of the antenna and mounting hardware may not be more than 15 feet above the highest point of the roof to which the antenna is attached.

(h) Structurally - Mounted Wireless Communication Antennas. Telecommunication antennas mounted on the sides of buildings shall be attached flush with the side of the building, and shall not protrude more than three feet from the side of the building. Structurally mounted antennas not affixed to towers shall be made to blend into the design and contours of the structure.

(i) Lights. No antenna or tower shall be affixed or attached to it in any way any lights, reflectors, flashers, daytime strobes, or steady nighttime light or other illuminating devices except as may be required by the FAA.

(j) Signs and Advertising. No signs and/or advertising message shall be affixed to the antenna or tower structure.

(k) Other Attachments. No antenna or tower shall have constructed thereon, or attached thereto, any platform, catwalk, crow's nest, or like structure for the purpose of human support except during periods of construction and repair.

(8) OBSOLETE OR UNUSED TOWERS. All obsolete, damaged, unused, or abandoned towers and accompanying accessory facilities shall be removed within 12 months of the cessation of operations unless a time extension is approved by the St. Croix Falls City Council. If the tower is not removed, it may be deemed a nuisance pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes. In the event a tower is determined to be a nuisance, the City may act to abate such nuisance and require the removal of the tower at the property owner's expense. The owner shall provide the City with a copy of the notice of the Federal Communication's (FCC) intent to cease operations and shall be given twelve months from the date of ceasing operations to remove the obsolete tower and all accessory structures. In the case of multiple operators sharing the use of a single tower, this provision shall not become effective until all users cease operations for a period of twelve consecutive months. The equipment on the ground is not to be removed until the tower structure has first been dismantled. After the facilities are removed, the site shall be restored to its original, or to an improved state.

(9) PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS. Applicants proposing to erect wireless telecommunication towers or antennas shall follow procedures as set forth in Chapter 17.18 of the St. Croix Falls Zoning Code. Additional application materials shall include the following:

(a) A document from the property owner or lessor that allows the applicant to apply for a conditional use permit and building permit to erect a wireless telecommunications tower and/or antenna.

(b) A "scaled" site plan which shows property lines, location of wireless telecommunication tower or antenna, setback distances, any accessory equipment structure, fencing and landscaping proposed.

(c) An artist's or architect's sketch, concept or rendition of the site as built which demonstrates to the satisfaction of the City Council that the proposed site will be as aesthetically in keeping with its surroundings as possible, including elevations, landscaping, screening, appropriate camouflage and fencing.

(c) Sufficient information to show that construction, installation and maintenance of the wireless telecommunication tower and/or antenna will not create a safety hazard or damage to the property of other persons.

(10) BUILDING PERMITS. No person shall place, construct, or modify a wireless telecommunication tower or antenna without first having obtained a building permit. All towers and antennas are subject to plan review and inspection by the City to determine compliance with Uniform Building Code construction standards. No building permit shall be issued by the City without prior approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) by the Common Council. The applicant shall provide to the City all information as required by this and other applicable ordinances of the City at the time of application for a building permit. In addition to any other requirements of this or any other section of this Code, the Building Permit application shall include the following:

(a) A report and plan from a qualified and registered engineer or firm that specifies the following:

1. The tower height and design including cross-section and elevation.

2. The height above grade for all potential mounting positions for co-location antennae and the minimum separation distances between antennae.

3. Structural mounting designs and materials list

4. The capacity of the tower, including the number and type of antennae that the tower can accommodate.

5. As applicable, an engineer's stamp and number.

(b) Structural and electrical plans showing how the proposed tower will accommodate the co-location of the applicant's antenna and comparable antennas of additional users; and, the plans and specifications whereby the proposed tower is designed to allow for future rearrangement of antennas to accommodate additional users and the mounting of additional antennas at varying heights.

(c) Plans and specifications showing how the proposed facility will be maintained in keeping with uniform building codes adopted by the City.

(11) INSPECTION. The City may, at any time, inspect any telecommunications tower, antenna or other facility to ensure their structural integrity. If, upon such inspection, the City's duly designated inspector determines that the facility fails to comply with such applicable codes, and that such failure constitutes a danger to persons or property, then, upon notice being provided to the owner of the facility, the owner shall have 30 days to bring the facility into compliance with the applicable codes and standards. Failure to bring the facility into compliance within the said 30 days shall constitute cause for the removal of the facility at the owner's expense.

(12) NON-INTERFERENCE. All new or existing telecommunications services shall comply with all relevant Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards and shall not interfere with public safety and other city and private telecommunications operations.

(13) INSURANCE. The applicant shall provide the City with proof of liability insurance which protects against losses due to personal injury or property damage resulting from the construction, operation or collapse of the tower, antennae or accessory equipment.

(14) ENFORCEMENT. The provisions of this section shall be enforced and penalties imposed for violations hereof as set for herein and in section 17.27 and 17.28 of this Code.