Coun­cil Places Cell Tower On First Read­ing

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

FARM­ING­TON — The City Coun­cil last week placed two or­di­nances on first read­ing to reg­u­late wireless telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties within the city lim­its.

One or­di­nance deals with the place­ment of cell tow­ers and the other deals with the place­ment of small wireless fa­cil­i­ties that are in­stalled in pub­lic right-of-ways, such as on util­ity poles, or on other build­ings or struc­tures.

City At­tor­ney Steve Tennant rec­om­mended leav­ing the or­di­nances on first read­ing to give

Coun­cil mem­bers time to look over the pro­pos­als and ask any ques­tions. The Coun­cil could sus­pend the rules at its May 14 meet­ing to adopt the or­di­nances at that time, Tennant said.

Cell Tower Or­di­nance

The pro­posed or­di­nance for cell tow­ers would re­place one that is about 10 years old and was ap­proved when dis­cus­sions were go­ing on at that time about a cell tower at the Golf Course at Val­ley View. Prop­erty own­ers around the golf course ex­pressed op­po­si­tion to a tower near one of the holes.

An ap­pli­ca­tion for a new wireless telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions fa­cil­ity must be ap­proved by Farm­ing­ton Plan­ning Com­mis­sion as a con­di­tional use per­mit. Com­mis­sion­ers would have the abil­ity to set the con­di­tions un­der which the cell tower would be ac­cept­able.

The ap­pli­ca­tion must in­clude a map of the area, a let­ter of in­tent from at least one wireless com­mu­ni­ca­tion car­rier, a site plan show­ing the pro­posed tower, ex­ist­ing land use, ac­cess roads and sur­face ma­te­rial, pro­posed tower lease area, fencing, park­ing and sig­nage.

The ap­pli­cant also is re­quired to sub­mit a let­ter stat­ing why the pro­posed site was cho­sen.

New tow­ers are lim­ited to mono­pole or other stealth/ cam­ou­flaged-type tower struc­tures with a max­i­mum height of 150 feet. The or­di­nance re­quires cam­ou­flag­ing or stealth tech­nol­ogy for new tow­ers and this can in­clude com­pat­i­ble build­ing ma­te­ri­als, land­scap­ing and screen­ing.

The Plan­ning Com­mis­sion or city staff would have the op­tion to require a bal­loon test and crane test pho­to­graphs to il­lus­trate how the area would look with a tower in place.

Fees re­quired in­clude a $2,000 re­view fee for new tow­ers, $300 for co-lo­ca­tion or new an­ten­nae ap­pli­ca­tions, and $500 for ad­min­is­tra­tive wireless fa­cil­ity ap­pli­ca­tions for a new tower (fol­low­ing the ap­proval of a con­di­tional use per­mit).

Tennant pointed out cell tow­ers to­day look much dif­fer­ent than ones in the past that were con­structed with a type of lat­tice work.

“Most of these are 150-foot-tall flag poles,” Tennant said. “It’s a flag pole with­out a flag.”

Tennant has worked with Juliet Richey of Brooks Land­scape Ar­chi­tec­ture and Plan­ning in Fayet­teville on the up­dated or­di­nance. Richey rep­re­sents Smith Com­mu­ni­ca­tions of Fayet­teville, which has ex­pressed in­ter­est in in­stalling a cell tower be­hind Farm­ing­ton Church of Christ on Main Street.

Richey told Coun­cil mem­bers a cell tower would be a lease area and in most cases the base of a tower would be from 50 feet by 50 feet to 70 feet by 70 feet.

Coun­cil mem­ber Diane Bryant said she thought the new or­di­nance seemed like it would be good for Farm­ing­ton “as long as the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion has some oversight.”

Small Wireless Fa­cil­i­ties

The sec­ond or­di­nance de­fines a small wireless fa­cil­ity as one, ex­clud­ing satel­lite tele­vi­sion dish an­tenna, in­stalled to pro­vide wireless voice, data and im­age trans­mis­sion within a des­ig­nated area. Its base may not be larger than 3 feet high and 2 feet wide. Re­lated equip­ment is re­stricted to a max­i­mum square footage of 10 square feet and a max­i­mum height of 2 feet.

A small cell fa­cil­ity can be in­stalled on ex­ist­ing rooftops, struc­tures or sup­port struc­tures where per­mit­ted.

The or­di­nance re­quires a con­di­tional use per­mit from the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion. The pre­ferred in­stall­ment is to place small wireless fa­cil­i­ties on ex­ist­ing struc­tures to re­duce vis­ual clut­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to the or­di­nance, small cell fa­cil­i­ties must be in­stalled with the use of stealth con­ceal­ment tech­niques. Stealth pro­pos­als must vis­ually match ex­ist­ing struc­tures and com­pletely en­close, cover or dis­guise all el­e­ments of the fa­cil­ity.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Carl Beu­telschies, pres­i­dent of Lin­coln Area Ki­wa­nis Club, presents a $300 do­na­tion to Ken and Denise Gheen of Prairie Grove. The cou­ple runs a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that raises money to help feed chil­dren in area schools.

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