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  AGENDA ITEM: 4.       
Meeting Date: 07/10/2018  
Requested by: Bayer Vella
Submitted By: Milini Simms, Community and Economic Development
Case Number: OV1801632

SUBJECT:
PUBLIC HEARING: DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION REGARDING A ZONING CODE AMENDMENT TO SECTION 25.1 REGARDING STANDARDS FOR COMMUNICATION FACILITIES, OV1801632
RECOMMENDATION:
Staff recommends approval.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
The purpose of this code amendment (Attachment 1) is to:

1) Revise the setback standards for new ground-mounted facilities - The code currently requires all ground-mounted facilities be setback from all buildings (including those onsite), property lines and overhead wires. These requirements were established for safety purposes, should the tower fall. However, new technology and more durable materials eliminate this need.

2) Define the threshold for approving collocations or modifications to existing facilities as required by Federal law - In 2012, a Federal law passed mandating local governments to approve modifications or collocations on existing communications facilities that do not "substantially change" the physical dimensions of the tower or structure. Although the current code encourages collocations, it does not specify they must be approved by the Planning and Zoning Administrator nor define a "substantial change" to the physical dimension.

3) Allow the Planning and Zoning Administrator the authority to waive requirements that would result in denial of an application without "substantial evidence"- Federal law supports cell facilities that do not meet local code requirements, unless "substantial evidence" is provided by the local jurisdiction to support the denial.

The proposed code amendment includes:
  • Requiring all new ground-mounted facilities be subject to the underlying zoning districts building setbacks and two (2) feet for every one(1) foot in height from the boundary of any property only where the primary use is or will be a dwelling.
  • Collocations or modifications that do not "substantially change" (as defined further in this report) the physical dimensions of the existing tower or structure must be approved as required by Federal law by the Planning and Zoning Administrator.
  • Allows the Planning and Zoning Administrator to waive requirements that may result in denial of an application without "substantial evidence" as required by Federal law.
  • Maintains requirements for all facilities, including modifications to utilize stealth applications, or camouflaging to the greatest extent feasible
  • Maintains current code requirements for scenic corridors and facilities in parks or open space
The proposed code amendment (Attachment 1) represents a portion of the communication facilities revisions recognized in the Planning Division 17-19 Work Plan. This specific amendment is being brought forward at this time to conform to Federal law. Therefore, staff recommends approval.
BACKGROUND OR DETAILED INFORMATION:
The purpose of this code amendment is to address the following:

1. Setback requirements for ground-mounted facilities
The code currently requires all ground-mounted facilities be setback from all buildings (including those onsite), property lines and overhead wires by two (2) feet for every (1) one foot in height of the proposed facility. The setbacks were established for safety purposes, should the tower fall. However, new technology and more durable materials eliminate this need.

Staff researched and compared other Arizona jurisdictions' setback requirements (shown below) to formulate the proposed amendment.
 
Jurisdiction Setback requirement
Tucson 2 feet for every 1 foot in height from the boundary of any property zoned residential or office
Sahuarita Building setbacks in underlying zoning or 1:1 in height from rural and residential zones
Gilbert Equal to or greater than the building setbacks of the underlying zoning district and 75 feet or 110% of the height of the facility from residential areas
Chandler 2 feet for every 1 foot in height from the boundary of any adjacent property that is designated as residential use
Marana Building setbacks of underlying zoning district

In summary, most jurisdictions require cell towers to comply with the underlying zoning district's building setbacks and/or be setback from areas used for residential purposes. The proposed code amendment combines these setback requirements.

2. Collocations and modifications to existing towers or structures
In 2012, a Federal Law passed mandating local governments to approve modifications or collocations on existing communications facilities that do not "substantially change" the physical dimensions of the tower or structure. Although the current code encourages collocations, it does not specify they must be approved by the Planning and Zoning Administrator nor define a substantial change to the physical dimension.

Town staff reviewed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) interpretation defining substantial changes and reached out to service providers for input to formulate a definition of what should constitute a substantial change. As such, the proposed code amendment defines substantial changes to the physical dimension as any change which meets any of the following criteria:
 
  • An increase in height of the utility poles that add more than ten percent (10%) to the original height or more than the height of one additional antenna array with separation from the nearest antenna array not to exceed twenty (20) feet, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of eight (80) feet
  • An increase in height of the existing structure that add more than ten percent (10%) or by more than ten (10) feet, whichever is greater and not tot exceed the regulated height of the existing structure.
  • The addition of an appurtenance that protrudes from the tower more than six (6) feet or more than the width of the tower structure at the level of the appurtenance, whichever is greater
  • The total number of additional appurtenances is more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the existing number of appurtenances
  • Involves the installation of ground equipment cabinets when there are no pre-existing cabinets associated with the structure
  • Installation of more than four ground equipment cabinets or cabinets that are more than ten percent (10%) larger in height or volume than any existing ground cabinets associated with the structure
  • Entails any excavation or deployment outside of the current site
  • Defeats the existing concealment efforts of the tower or structure
  • Does not comply with any prior conditions of approval for the existing tower or structure
3. DENIAL OF APPLICATIONS
Federal law supports cell facilities that do not meet local code requirements, unless "substantial evidence" is provided by local jurisdictions to support the denial. Many of which are unique and outlying circumstances requiring special consideration. As such, the following code allows the Planning and Zoning Administrator to waive requirements that would result in denial of an application, when "substantial evidence" cannot be provided.

General Plan Conformance
The proposed code amendment has been reviewed for conformance with the General Plan. Notable goals, policies and actions include:

SD.6: Protect scenic corridors, public park and trail view sheds, and the distinctive visual character and visual appeal of Oro Valley.

Policy I.1: Accommodate community services and utilities that meet the larger community needs and goals.

Policy I.2: Consider aesthetics and visual impacts of utilities and aging infrastructure during the planning, design or upgrade process, to the extent reasonably possible.


The proposed code amendment conforms with the General Plan by:
  • Maintaining the requirement that all facilities, including modifications utilize stealth applications or camouflaging to the greatest extent feasible
  • Maintaining current code requirements for scenic corridors and facilities in parks or open space
  • Not allowing communication facilities on properties where the primary use is or will be for residential purposes
  • Requiring the largest setback to be from properties where the primary use is or will be for residential purposes
PUBLIC NOTIFICATION
Public Notice has been provided as follows:
  • All HOAs in Town were notified of this hearing
  • Public hearing notices were posted:
    • In the Territorial Newspaper
    • At Town Hall
    • On the Town website 
RECOMMENDATION
This specific amendment is being brought forward primarily to achieve conformance with Federal law. Therefore, staff recommends approval.
FISCAL IMPACT:
N/A
SUGGESTED MOTION:
I MOVE to recommend approval of the Zoning Code Amendment to Section 25.1, regarding standards for communication facilities as provided in Attachment 1.

OR

I MOVE to recommend denial of the Zoning Code Amendment to Section 25.1, regarding standards for communication facilities based on the finding  _______________________.
Attachments
ATTACHMENT 1-ZONING CODE AMENDMENT


    

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