SECTION IV: USE REGULATIONS
See also Aquifer Protection District (Sect. IV L) Floodplain District (Sect. IVM), and River Protection District (IV P).
Q: Wireless Communications Facilities
(amended May 14, 2001)
Authority to write and enact this bylaw is granted under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Home Rule Amendment to the Constitution of Massachusetts and M.G.L. Chapter 40-A. This bylaw is intended to serve the best interests of the citizens of Huntington.
The express purpose of this bylaw is not to restrict the construction or use of wireless communication facilities within the Town of Huntington but rather to govern their placement, construction and appearance, thereby lessening their impact upon the environment and character of the town. It is the intent of this bylaw to require any and all companies to seek reasonable and viable alternatives to tower construction.
Wireless communication facilities shall include any and all materials, equipment, storage structures, towers and antennas, other than customer premises equipment, used by a telecommunications carrier to provide telecommunications services. This bylaw does not apply to the construction or use of facilities by a federally licensed amateur radio operator as protected by Mass. General Law Chapter 40-A Section 3.
- No wireless communication facility shall be built in the Town of Huntington without the issuance of a special permit granted by the Selectboard under the following conditions: (ATM 6/1/2009 the Selectboard, as authority in issuing permits, changed to Planning Board.)
- Any wireless communication facility shall minimize, to the extent feasible, adverse visual effects on the environmental landscape, as well as historic viewsheds, structures and State or Nationally designated scenic byway(s). (Last of sentence added 5/14/2001) The Selectboard, with the advisement of the Planning Board, may impose reasonable conditions to ensure this result, including denial of a site, as well as painting and lighting standards.(Some of sentence added 5/14/2001) The S.P.G.A. reserves the right to specify style(s) and/or colors(s). No tower shall exceed a height of 190 feet above grade, measured at the center of the proposed facility. Applicant shall demonstrate the need for the elevation requested and shall not be allowed to construct a tower taller than the demonstrated need. There shall be a minimum of 2.5 miles, measured in a straight, level line, between towers. (Sentence added 5/14/2001). Shared use of a wireless communication tower is encouraged. (This sentence changed 5/14/2001) Contracts for colocation
by another (competing) provider must be reasonable by industry standards, not to exceed the
cost of erecting a new facility. No special permit(s) shall be issued for a wireless communications
facility unless the applicant is a provider of personal wireless services (a "carrier") or has a contract
with at least one carrier to locate on the proposed facility. Tower applicant(s) must supply a copy of a contract with at least one telecommunications carrier with their application for a special permit. Coapplication of one or more carriers with the tower applicant is encouraged. If multiple towers are proposed concurrently within a 2.5 mile radius of one another, preference for the special permit will be given to the tower with the larger number of carriers committed to siting on their tower, as well as the lowest requested tower height for a given number of carriers, and/or the least visible impact on the neighborhood. (Last 4 sentences added ATM 6/1/2009) Visible siting in a historic district is prohibited, but siting in or on a non-residential structure within that district, which, is hidden or adequately blended with architectural details, is encouraged, as is siting on town-owned property, with the exception of facilities, (this previous phrase added 5/14/2001) which would be visible from State or Nationally designated Scenic Byway(s). Applicant must provide such information as may reasonably be required by the Selectboard, demonstrating that the following low-impact options are unworkable before a special permit will be granted for a conventional tower:
- Co-location in or on an existing structure. Prior to construction of any tower, applicant shall provide proof that comparable coverage cannot be obtained on any available, suitable, existing tower/structure.
(Last sentence added 5/14/2001)
- Custom structure designed to blend with surroundings (i.e. disguised as a tree or similar).
- Least obtrusive and/or lowest height of currently available technology.
- Topographical site plan, including contour lines at intervals no greater than two (2) feet and in an appropriate scale showing entire fall zone, proposed access way, plus 40 feet on each side and any other areas to be altered, prepared by a professional engineer licensed to practice in the Commonwealth, shall be provided to the Planning Board for any proposed wireless communication facility. The plan shall include the following (Amended 5/14/2001)
- North arrow, date, scale and the seal(s) of the licensed professional(s) who prepared the plans.
- All access roads.
- The placement of any proposed towers and structures as may be necessary.
- Night lighting shall be prohibited unless required by federal authorities and shall be the minimum necessary.
- A “fall zone” which shall be equal to the height of the proposed tower plus twenty-five feet. Fall zone radius must be contained entirely within the boundaries of the parcel of land on which the facility is located. It shall not contain structures unrelated to the telecommunications facility, but should contain “buffer” trees. Clearing of natural vegetation should be limited to that which is necessary for the construction, operation and maintenance of the facility.
- A setback from any residential structure equal to a minimum of 250 feet. Said tower shall be a minimum of 230 feet away from all abutters’ property lines. A second topographical site plan shall be submitted showing a minimum 500-foot radius centered on proposed facility with contour lines at 10-foot intervals. (Last two sentences added 5/14/2001)
- Adequate drainage to prevent erosion.
- Pre-existing conditions.
- A map of appropriate scale showing the location and orientation of the proposed site and the areas covered by proposed device(s) of different signal strengths and their interface with adjacent service areas, both existing and proposed, shall be submitted. (Amended 5/14/2001) (The following last paragraph added 5/14/2001) Applicant shall provide individual propagation charts for the proposed facility as well as all known facilities, either proposed or existing, in Huntington and all abutting towns. Propagation charts shall be provided in overlay format which allows comparison as both individual and overlapping footprints at typical transmission range for PCS, cellular and any other signal type likely to apply. Overlays shall clearly demonstrate signal interface/overlap. The applicant shall float an 8 foot minimum diameter, brightly colored balloon, at the height of the proposed tower. The balloon should be flown over a 2-day period, one of the days being a weekend day, with an inclement weather, including wind (ATM 6/1/2009), 2-day contingency plan. The balloon tests shall be publicized in the Country Journal, with any costs being borne by the applicant. Publication shall be in each of 2 weeks prior to the first balloon test date.
- A minimum non-refundable application fee of $150.00 shall be submitted to the Planning Board. (Previous sentence added May 13, 2001) All other plans and/or documents required under the zoning law shall be submitted to the appropriate officials. If the facility is not in operation for a period of one year, it shall be removed and the site shall be returned to pre-existing condition, by the owner, within 180 days of notice by the town, unless special circumstances can be proven by same, which are deserving of an extension in the judgment of the Selectboard, under the advisement of the Planning Board. A plan shall be submitted, as part of the application for a special permit for any wireless communication facility, to return the site to pre-existing condition (plantation of replacement trees, grading and removal of all structure and waste or any other work that may be required) with a bond to be held by the Town in the amount of an applicant-provided estimate (R.H. Means or Equivalent) for such work. If the facility is not removed within 180 days, the Town shall be empowered to use the bond posted by the owner for the removal of said facility.
- Regulatory Compliance
- Annual certification demonstrating structural integrity and continuing compliance with current standards of the FCC, FAA and the American National Standards Institute shall be filed with the Building Inspector by the Special Permit Holder, and shall be reviewed by a licensed professional engineer hired by the Town and paid for by the Special Permit Holder (MGL 44/53G).
- If the FCC or the FAA regulations are changed, the owner or operator shall bring the facility into compliance within six months or earlier if a more stringent compliance standard is included in the regulation.
- Failure to comply with any regulations shall be grounds for removal of non-complying structures, buildings or devices at the owner’s expense.
- The removal of obsolete structures and equipment in a timely manner will be encouraged.
- Any special permit for wireless communications facilities shall be subject to review for renewal at five-year intervals. Upon renewal, S.P.G.A. may require replacement of facility with least obtrusive and/or lowest height facility available at the time of renewal. The topographical site survey shall be reviewed and any necessary adjustments shall be made to the bond as part of the renewal process. (Middle sentence added May 14, 2001)
- If any part of this bylaw is found not to be legal, the rest will remain intact.