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Thread: Ordinance promotes co-location, but doesn't provide clear means to force it

  1. #1
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub

    Ordinance promotes co-location, but doesn't provide clear means to force it

    Here's the situation:

    We have a highly restrictive cell tower ordinance--pretty much as strict as current case law allows. For a tower over 120', they must secure a "Special Exception" through our Zoning Board of Adjustment. We've had a pretty good back-and-forth with the cell tower owner (a separate company--not a provider itself) that wants to extend an existing tower from 60' to 190', which has resulted in a lawsuit. While the tower owner has made a number of dumb arguments, one argument seems to have merit with me: approving this tower would "inocculate" a large part of our city against future towers, as the 190' tower would have capacity for 5 co-located antennas. Our ordinance encourages co-location by requiring that any new tower must have capacity for up to 3 co-locations.

    Under our ordinance, any new antenna must demonstrate that a facility (other tower) isn't already available with co-location capacity to suit their needs.

    My Council is concerned that this appears to create a situation in which someone with a 190' tower would effectively have a monopoly, and we would have no means of assuring that they don't engage in price gouging. My response has been that it is in the tower owner's best interest to get every space used, as the owner does not have a specific interest in any one wireless provider over the other (all their money is green). It is in his business's best interest to get the co-location spaces filled.

    So as we move forward with a new special exception application, I'm looking for a way to make everyone comfortable with some assurances. One suggestion I got was that we place a condition on the cell tower height increase that says it cannot be constructed until the tower owner has secured leasing agreements from at least three wireless providers. I figure this would encourage the tower owner to work in good faith with other providers and give the city some confidence that allowing the tower will "inoculate" the city against future towers in the area.

    Thoughts from the Throbbing Brain of CyburbiaTM?

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
    Jan 2009
    Remote command post at local bar


    I don't know if this helps, but i'm looking at writing some codes for my county (we have none - long story and problem i'll put on another thread).

    I'm looking at creating "preferred" locations. Basically saying towers should not be near residential zones and should be on existing towers.
    If you're in a preferred location we'll all be happy.
    If not, you need to prove why a preferred location won't work. Things like the tower can't support the weight or there is no place to provide the service. I'm trying to lay the burden of proof on them to show it won't hurt anything. I also include an economic factor to say that if improving the tower to make it work costs less than 125% of a new tower than your not giving me a reason to approve you.

    I'm not sure how this will all play out, my codes are still in the rough draft mode.

    Good luck
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

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