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Wireless facilities 3rd Party Reviews (Cell Towers)

Messages
16
Points
1
We have crafted a cell tower ordinance that has many prioirites and preferences, as well as encouragement for collocation. But staff is ill-equipped to judge the assertions of the industry. For example, why can't they collocate on the nearby tower, or Why can't they put the new tower behind the industrial park instead of the apartment complex. In order to decide these things we will rely upon a thrid party review by a licensed RF engineer.
A Planning Commissioner has asked that we see how this has worked or not worked elsewhere. Please share your wisdom. I would also be willing to hear of 3rd Party review used for other land use decisions of a similar nature.
Thanks
Derek
Call if you wish
360-397-2375 (4909)
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
third party review

Just be cautious who else the RF Engineer works for. Require disclosure! We used to do the same thing, and found substantial conflicts of interest. Also, I highly recommend that you make co-location mandatory unless structurally impossible. We require a PE's signed, stamped structural engineering report for all applications. Our ordinances were completed about 18 months ago, with assistance from many folks in the industry. It's worked flawlessly, I'm happy to say. You can check it out at

www.ci.muskego.wi.us/planning
 

jmf

Cyburbian
Messages
594
Points
17
The problem around here is that RF coverage isn't the only issue. Company A builds a tower and not wanting to spend more than necessary calculates their future load and the tower is designed for that. When Company B comes along, months or years later, they can't locate on the tower because it just won't stand the increased load. They could take the tower down and build a new, stronger one but that means Company A would lose coverage.

Also, they all seems to want to be around the same height on the towers - I suppose that is partially an RF issue.

So unless we can force Company A to build a stronger tower initially is case another company might want to co-locate....not very likely, it will be hard to get companies to co-locate.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,836
Points
59
To address the load issue, I 've written language in wireless regulations that require freestanding facilities to be designed to accomodate at least two or more carriers, depending on tower height. This includes having enough space in the lease area for ground mounted equipment, too. A few carriers, though, have equipment buildings that take up a lot of space, so co-location is a bit more difficult for them -- AT&T Wireless and Nextel among them. The CDMA and GSM PCS carriers (Sprint, Verizon, Voicestream, Powertel, Cricket, etc.) usually have only small equipment cabinets.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,889
Points
38
Like Dan, I've written ordinances and regulations that require the tower to be designed to accomodate additional users...my language from my thesis (cheap plug....located onlone at http://www.geocities.com/researchtriangle/lab/4666/thesis.html) is as follows:

<b>Tower Height</b>
The maximum tower height permitted in this municipality are calculated by applying the following:

1. If the tower is designed to accommodate only one service provider, the maximum height shall be {120} feet from grade.

2. If the tower is designed to accomodate two service providers, the maximum height shall be {160} feet from grade.

3. If the tower is designed to accomodate more than two service providers, the maximum height shall be {200} feet from grade.

{see Rationale and Notes on this section for explanation on maximum heights}
...
Section 4.3, dealing with tower height, is designed to aid in the facilitation of multi-user facilities. The greater the tower height, the more area it can serve. By providing height bonuses, the goal is that multi-user towers become a more attractive alternative. Also, when accommodating multiple users on a single tower, the antennas must be places far enough apart so that they do not interfere with one another. While a 200 foot tower may seem like a price for the municipality to pay in aesthetics, the alternative of several shorter towers may be even more detrimental to community aesthetics. It should be noted that these standards should differ depending on the population of the community. In rural areas, a 200 foot maximum height could be a viable choice; since there will be fewer towers, greater height is needed for adequate coverage. In more urbanized areas, the maximum heights should be lower, as there are more antennas and smaller cell sizes. The person using this model should craft the maximum heights so that they are appropriate to his/her community's characteristics.

Hope this helps!
 

jmf

Cyburbian
Messages
594
Points
17
Here in Canada, Industry Canada, a federal agency, regulates towers. Most guyed towers in my area are in the 90m-110m range (270-330ft). A municipality can make provisions for towers (mainly from an aesthetic point of view ie colour, fencing, landscaping, distance from nearby buildings) however if the companies find them unduly restrictive they can apply to Industry Canada anyway. Industry Canada then weighs the effort the company has made trying to meet the land use provisions and the aim of the municipality in its provisions. Usually the service provider gets approval even if the by-law is not met.

The location of equipment buildings is usually not an issue since to put up a 300 foot tower they need about 6 acres of land.

The incentive to put up stronger towers is interesting, but I wonder if it would fly here? from Industry Canada or the companies.
 
Messages
16
Points
1
3rd Party Review

Thank you all for your input. But, let me try to return this discussion to the matter of third party reviews. We have a draft ordinance 95% complete. We have already resolved aesthetics, heights, engineering capacities, etc. Your comments are insightful, but we are ONLY struggling with the use of the thrid party reviews.
Thanks again.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,889
Points
38
I've been meaning to get back to this thread for a couple of days. In searching through my archives of the Northern New England Chapter of the APA e-mail list, I came accross the following. Not sure how useful, but I figured I'd share the info.

Subject: RE: [NNECAPA] wireless telecommunications towers
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 12:38:56 -0400
From: Nancy Larson <nelarson@ci.bedford.nh.us>
Reply-To: NNECAPA@egroups.com
To: "'NNECAPA@egroups.com'" <NNECAPA@egroups.com>
CC: plan-link@webster.state.nh.us

Hi Donna,

In my brief experience, you will have a difficult time finding an expert that does not also work for the industry. The Town of Bedford most recently used Ivan Pagacik of IDK Communications (978)486-4129. Ivan was very honest, straight forward, practical, & his reviews were easy to understand.
I would be happy to discuss it with you further if you have any more questions.

Good luck!

Nancy Larson
Bedford Planning Dept.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Donna Larson [SMTP:dlarson@freeportmaine.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 11:45 AM
> To: NNECAPAegroups
> Subject: [NNECAPA] wireless telecommunications towers
>
> Hi All!
>
> Freeport Maine has recently been selected for a new tower. Residents in
> the area are concerned with any health risks that might be associated with
> this use. As the Planning Board can't consider this health issues in
> their review or in their findings, the town wants to sponsor an
> informational workshop so that the residents can express their concerns
> and get answers to their questions. I'm looking for a specialist in the
> field that doesn't work for the industry, preferably a scientist. Any
> ideas!
>
> Thanks!
>
> Donna Larson
> Freeport Town Planner
 

Zoninguy

Member
Messages
10
Points
1
Cell Towers - 3rd Party

Forget the 3rd Party idea.

If you don't want a cell tower in a residential zone, state that conclusion in your Findings with the justiication for it, e.g, the size of the tower would exceed the permitted height of the residential buildings otherwise permitted in the zone, the height or aesthetics of the pole would have an impact on land values [assuming you have a study so concluding], or the location is contrary to the intent of the ordinance [in which case you should have off-the-shelf language in the ordinance ready to go]. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, then permit the pole with a disguise as a tree or other feature.

One other option is to require a propagation coverage map showing the existing system coverage and two comparison maps showing the proposed coverage at the industrial site and at the residential site. Have the RF engineer sign an affadavit that attests to having conducted the analysis according to some standard. The propagation maps show colors indicating degrees of service - good, moderate, poor/none - looking something like ripples in a pond from a stone thrown into it. If the residential map provides "reasonable" improvement in the decision-makers mind, then you've got a defensible decision.
 
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