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Thread: Setback help

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Setback help

    I need help figuring out how I should regulate cell tower setbacks.

    The state passed a law saying you can't require a setback different from a requirement imposed on other types of commercial structures.

    Generally cell towers locate in AG zones with a CUP. It's no problem until the get close to houses. My goal is to keep cell towers in AG zones from locating to close to the property line near residential zones.

    I have no issue with towers in I or C zones. We have so few of them it wouldn't affect much of anything. We have huuuge setbacks on the front side if the building is over 35', but very limited on side and rear even when it's next to residential zones. Still not a big problem to me.

    Commercial buildings would need a CUP to locate in an AG zone and no building is allowed higher than 35' except AG buildings. I would treat any commercial building the same way I do I zones normally.
    So big brain legal type questions:

    1. If I require a CUP can I require increased setbacks without having the tower come back and say I'm not treating them like other buildings?
    2. I have a provision in my code for commercial wind towers and it has huuge setbacks. Can I use that and say I'm treating you like other commercial structures?

    I'm thinking of going with 2 and having them "negotiate" with the planning commission to get the more reasonable setback equal to tower height which is all we want anyway.
    The only downfall, grain elevators are in industrial zones and are setback maybe 70'.

    Any great thoughts?
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I think you could go the CUP route. You just have to accept that the conditions that end up being imposed may not be what you want them to be.

    Another thought - instead of establishing the setbacks just based on a number, what if you said that they had to be setback a certain percentage of their height from the property line in certain zones? Yes, it could potentially increase the setback for other buildings, but those would be pretty minor comparatively...

  3. #3
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    What are you thinking about...in terms of equipment noise reduction? Fall zones? Aesthetic considerations?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    What are you thinking about...in terms of equipment noise reduction? Fall zones? Aesthetic considerations?
    We're not allowed to regulate aesthetics in terms of camo towers or screening the fenced in yard. We're not allowed to deal with generators and their noise - not that it's a problem for us anyway. We can't ask for any service information like propagation maps and of course we can't regulate based on RF signal or what type of equipment they use. My general goal is just to keep towers from showing up right next to the new city subdivision or one of my few rural subdivisions. Almost no reason to even do a CUP anymore with these regulations.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    We're not allowed to regulate aesthetics in terms of camo towers or screening the fenced in yard. We're not allowed to deal with generators and their noise - not that it's a problem for us anyway. We can't ask for any service information like propagation maps and of course we can't regulate based on RF signal or what type of equipment they use. My general goal is just to keep towers from showing up right next to the new city subdivision or one of my few rural subdivisions. Almost no reason to even do a CUP anymore with these regulations.
    first of all - wow that you cannot do that list above

    I still think a fall zone is not unreasonable, akin to a wind tower - it's not really a building, it's a structure (dammit, lol)
    Kim Wexler: Either you fit the jacket... or the jacket fits you.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    We require that the setback to the property line be equal to the height of the tower, but that the Planning Commission can reduce the setback if the goals of the tower ordinance are better met. We do require a CUP for any new cell tower or major alteration (6409a of the Spectrum Act), which allows the PC to evaluate the fall zone and other relevant concerns for tower placement and design.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  7. #7
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
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    Towers of 150' or below are permitted by right in most of our districts. Any higher goes to a CUP. We have a flat 100' setback, regardless of the tower height. Originally we had it at 1 to 1, but for some reason this changed at the final approved copy.

    That said, tower approval is not exactly administrative here. These are always a hot button issue, so we deferred any approval to the Board of Commissioners. Basically, if it's permitted by right, they submit a "tower application" which I review and then forward to the BoC for final approval on their consent agenda. This is a transparency thing, and really is there just to show the public that the BoC understands the tower issue and decided to review each one themselves. This is a little weird when we get to the CU stage, because we first have to approve of the CUP, and THEN approve of the tower application.

  8. #8
    The CUP is a good idea. Further, the fall down zone is what I've used in the past. This also helps in reference to roads. You can't have a tower fall down and block a road.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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