Chapter 1149: Wireless Telecommunications Facilities


Cross references

  • Use of public ways for small cell facilities - see S.& P.S. Ch. 941

1149.01   Intent

In addition to the applicable provisions of the intent stated in Section 1105.03, it is the intent of these regulations to provide for the placement of wireless telecommunication facilities to achieve the following objectives:

  1. (a) To minimize adverse health, safety, welfare, and visual impacts through the buffering, siting and design of such facilities.

  2. (b) To encourage the sharing of sites among users to minimize the number of towers within the Municipality.

  3. (c) To require the prompt removal of obsolete or vacated facilities.

  4. (d) To exclude from these regulations those installations and systems used by amateur radio operators.
    (Ord. 2019-39. Passed 8-13-19.)

1149.02   Definitions

  1. (a) “Collocation” means the use of a wireless telecommunications facility by more than one wireless telecommunications provider.

  2. (b) “Lattice tower” means a support structure constructed of vertical metal struts and cross braces forming a triangular or square structure which often tapers from the foundation to the top.

  3. (c) “Monopole” means a vertical support structure constructed of a single, self-supporting hollow metal tube securely anchored to a foundation.

  4. (d) “Open space” means land devoted to conservation or recreational purposes and/or land designated to remain undeveloped.

  5. (e) “Telecommunication” means the technology which enables information to be exchanged through the transmission of voice, video, or data signals by means of electrical or electromagnetic systems.

  6. (f) “Wireless telecommunications antenna” means the physical device through which electromagnetic, wireless telecommunications signals authorized by the Federal Communications Commission are transmitted or received. Antennas used by amateur radio operators are excluded from this definition.

  7. (g) “Wireless telecommunications equipment shelter” means the structure in which the electronic receiving and relay equipment for a wireless telecommunications facility is housed.

  8. (h) “Wireless telecommunications facility” means a facility consisting of the equipment and structures involved in receiving telecommunications or radio signals from a mobile radio communications source and transmitting those signals to a central switching computer which connects the mobile unit with the land-based telephone lines.

  9. (i) “Wireless telecommunications tower” means a structure intended to support equipment used to transmit and/or receive telecommunications signals including monopoles, guyed and lattice construction steel structures.
    (Ord. 2019-39. Passed 8-13-19.)

1149.03   Administrative procedures

In addition to the requirements of Chapter 1109, the following procedures are established to govern the processing of applications for placement and operation of wireless telecommunication facilities as regulated in this chapter.

  1. (a) When a wireless telecommunications facility is proposed, the applicant shall submit:

    1. (1) A plot plan at a scale of not less than one inch is equal to 100 feet shall be submitted. This plot plan shall indicate all building uses within 300 feet of the proposed facility.

    2. (2) Detailed plans including photographs of the proposed site, and complete structure elevations and a perspective view showing the tower from all contiguous property lines or lot lines.

    3. (3) Evidence of legal access to the tower site thereby maintaining this access regardless of other developments that may take place on the site.

    4. (4) A landscaping plan that indicates how the wireless telecommunications facility will be screened from adjoining uses.

    5. (5) Documentation demonstrating that the telecommunications tower must be sited in the proposed location and that it is technically necessary.

    6. (6) Evidence of written contact with all wireless service providers who supply service within a quarter mile of the proposed facility. The applicant shall inquire about potential collocation opportunities at all technically feasible locations. The contacted providers shall be requested to respond in writing to the inquiry within thirty days. The applicant’s letter(s) as well as response(s) shall be presented to the Planning Commission as a means of demonstrating the need for a new tower.

    7. (7) A statement describing anticipated maintenance needs, including frequency of service, equipment needs, and traffic, safety, or noise impacts of such maintenance.

    8. (8) Aerial photos and/or renderings may augment the plot plan.

    9. (9) Evidence that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to furnish a financial guarantee for the estimated amount of removal of the facility. Such guarantees may be in the form of a performance or surety bond, a certified check, or any other type of surety approved by the Municipality.

    10. (10) The operator of a wireless telecommunications facility shall, at all times, maintain liability insurance with such amounts and types of coverage as deemed necessary by the Law Director with the Municipality named as additional insured. Evidence of such insurance, which shall be renewed annually, shall be kept on file with the Municipality. The Municipality may require increases in the monetary limits every five years based on inflation, experience in judgments for damages in tort cases, and new types of coverages when made available to the wireless telecommunications industry, or to cover those amounts and types of coverages a wireless telecommunications tower owner in Cuyahoga County customarily requires carriers to provide for the owner’s benefit.

  2. (b) The Administrator may waive any of the above requirements which he determines to be inapplicable in specific instances.

  3. (c) In addition to the Review and Approval Procedures set forth in Section 1109.05, an application for the placement of a wireless telecommunication shall be subject to the following:

    1. (1) Upon receiving the completed application, the Planning and Zoning Commission shall hold a public hearing. Such application request shall be posted on the Municipality’s website at least thirty days prior to the date of the hearing. Notice of the hearing shall also be mailed, by first class mail, at least fifteen days before the hearing date, to owners of property within 300 feet of the subject property. The addresses of such owner shall be obtained from the addresses appearing on the County Auditor’s tax list or the County Treasurer’s mailing list. The failure to mail notice to owners whose names do not appear on such lists, as well as the failure of delivery of such notice, shall not invalidate any subsequent Planning and Zoning Commission action. The mailed and website notification shall set forth the time and place of the public hearing and a summary of the proposed application. During the thirty days preceding the hearing, a copy of the application shall be on file for public inspection in the office of the Clerk of Council.

    2. (2) Following the public hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission may adopt the proposal by a majority vote of those appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

    3. (3) Any decision to deny a request to place, construct or modify a wireless telecommunications antenna and/or tower shall be made within a reasonable time and in writing and supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record of the proceedings of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Secretary of the Planning and Zoning Commission shall deliver such decision contemporaneously with issuing such written decision to the applicant upon rendering the final decision.

    4. (4) The notice and hearing requirement may be waived by the Administrator for applications for construction of a new antenna on an existing structure which do not require the construction of a new tower or associated facilities.

  4. (d) The Planning and Zoning Commission may refer a pending application to one or more expert consultants qualified to advise whether a proposed wireless telecommunication facility conforms to the standards of this chapter. Based on such information, the Planning and Zoning Commission, based on substantial evidence, and within a reasonable time, may approve or deny the application, or may require modification of the proposed facility. The applicant shall pay all fees for services of the expert consultant deemed reasonable and necessary by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
    (Ord. 2019-39. Passed 8-13-19.)

1149.04   General requirements

The following requirements apply to all wireless telecommunications facilities regardless of the zoning district in which they are to be located.

  1. (a) Wireless telecommunications facilities that include towers must be located in a non- residential district unless the applicant presents substantial evidence as to why it is not technically feasible or why a location in a residential district is technically mandated. Every effort must be made by the applicant to find the least intrusive location so as to minimize impact on the residential community.

  2. (b) A wireless telecommunications facility is permitted on a property with an existing use which may be any permitted use in the district or any lawful nonconforming use and need not be affiliated with the wireless telecommunications provider. The facility will not be considered an addition to the structure or value of a nonconforming use.

  3. (c) Where technically feasible, an antenna for a wireless telecommunications facility shall be attached to an existing structure or building.

  4. (d) Underground equipment shelters are encouraged and may be mandated by the Planning and Zoning Commission where technically feasible.

  5. (e) The tower shall be painted a non-contrasting gray or similar color minimizing its visibility, unless otherwise required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

  6. (f) No tower shall be artificially lighted except to assure safety or as required by the FAA. Security lighting around the equipment shelter is permitted.

  7. (g) “No Trespassing” signs shall be posted around the facility with a telephone number of who to contact in the event of an emergency. The number, size and placement of such signs shall be determined by the Administrator.

  8. (h) Underground utility wiring to the site and from the tower to any service or ancillary structures shall be required if technically feasible.

  9. (i) The wireless telecommunications facility shall be fully automated and unattended on a daily basis and shall be visited only for periodic and necessary maintenance or repairs.

  10. (j) Equipment, mobile or immobile, not used in direct support of the facility shall not be stored or parked on the site except in connection with a repair or maintenance being made to the installation.

  11. (k) No supporting wires or cables shall encroach upon any minimum setback requirements.

  12. (l) Existing vegetation, primarily trees and shrubs, shall be preserved to the maximum extent possible.
    (Ord. 2019-39. Passed 8-13-19.)

1149.05   Minimum area, height and design requirements

Wireless telecommunications facilities are subject to the following conditions:

  1. (a) Minimum Lot Size. The area needed to accommodate the tower (and guy wires, if used), the equipment shelter, security fencing, buffer planting, and minimum yard requirements.

  2. (b) Minimum Yard Requirements.

    1. (1) Tower. The minimum setback for the applicable zoning district, except that the minimum distance to any single family or two family residential use lot line or residential district lot line shall be 300 feet.

    2. (2) Equipment shelter. The minimum setback for the applicable zoning district.

  3. (c) Maximum Height.

    1. (1) Tower. 150 feet including antenna.

    2. (2) Equipment shelter. 15 feet above finished grade.

    3. (3) Antenna attached to existing building or structure. 20 feet or 20% of the building height above the existing building or structure, whichever is less.

  4. (d) Maximum Size of Equipment Shelter. 300 square feet for a single shelter, or, if there is more than one, 750 total square feet for all shelters. The Planning and Zoning Commission may require that providers utilize a single shelter or construct multiple shelters so that they share common walls with each shelter having a separate outside entrance.

  5. (e) Access. Provided along the circulation driveways of the existing use without interfering with the parking or vehicular circulation for the main use if present.
    (Ord. 2019-39. Passed 8-13-19.)

1149.06   Abandonment

All providers utilizing towers shall present a report to the Administrator notifying them of any tower facility located in the Municipality whose use will be discontinued and the date this use will cease. If at any time the use of the facility is discontinued for 180 days, the Administrator may declare the facility abandoned. This excludes any dormancy period between construction and the initial use of the facility. The facility’s owner/operator will receive written notice from the Administrator and will be instructed to either reactivate the facility’s use within 180 days or dismantle and remove the facility. If reactivation or dismantling does not timely occur, the Municipality may remove or will contract to have removed the tower facility and related structures and equipment at the owner/operator’s cost. If the owner/ operator does not pay for removal, the Municipality shall have a lien on the tower facility and related equipment and structures until paid and may record the lien with the Cuyahoga County Recorder.
(Ord. 2019-39. Passed 8-13-19.)

1149.07   Supplemental regulations

  1. (a) The location of the tower and equipment shelter shall comply with all natural resource protection standards including Chapter 1144, Environmental Performance Regulations, and, Chapter 1152, Hillside Protection.

  2. (b) Security fencing shall surround the tower, equipment shelter and any guy wires, either completely or individually as required by Chapter 1142, Landscaping Regulations, and Chapter 1148, Fences, Walls and Hedges.

  3. (c) Any application to locate an antenna on a building or structure that is listed on an historic register, or is in an historic district shall be subject to review by the Architectural Board of Review in accordance with Chapter 1146, Historic Preservation Regulations.

  4. (d) No advertising is permitted anywhere on the facility with the exception of incidental signs as permitted by Chapter 1143, Signs.
    (Ord. 2019-39. Passed 8-13-19.)