MapLink™ | Procedures | Wireless Communication Facilities (WCF) - Permitting

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Wireless Communication Facilities (WCF) - Permitting
In addition to all other applicable standards of this chapter, the following regulations shall apply to wireless communications facilities (WCF) including, but not limited to, cellular phone antennas, antennas for communication service regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, and other commercial antennas and associated facilities.
A. Purposes:
(1) To accommodate the need for communication facilities while regulating their location and number in the Borough in recognition of the need to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
(2) To minimize the adverse visual effects of communication facilities and support structures through proper design, siting and vegetative screening.
(3) To avoid potential damage to adjacent properties from communication facility support structure failure and falling ice, through engineering and proper siting of support structures.
(4) To encourage the joint use of any wireless communication facility support structures and to reduce the number of such structures needed in the future.
B. Permits; use regulations. A permit shall be required for every WCF and support structure installed at any location, whether in or out of a right-of-way, and the following use regulations shall apply:
(1) Existing tall structures. A WCF site with a WCF that is attached to an existing communications tower, smokestack, water tower, other tall structure or a building not less than 35 feet in height and where the height of the WCF does not exceed the height of the existing structure by more than 20 feet shall be permitted in all districts as an accessory use and special exception approval shall not be required. A WCF on a single-family or two-family dwelling and on utility poles in R-1, R-2 and R-3 Districts shall not be permitted. Any subsequent installations above the initial twenty-foot height increase shall be prohibited. The applicant shall provide the following information:
(a) Evidence from a Pennsylvania-registered professional engineer certifying that the proposed installation will not exceed the structural capacity of the building or other structure, considering wind and other loads associated with the antenna location.
(b) Detailed construction and elevation drawings indicating how the antennas will be mounted on the structure for review by the Borough for compliance with the applicable requirements.
(c) Evidence of recorded agreements and/or easements necessary to provide access to the building or structure on which the antennas are to be mounted so that installation and maintenance of the WCF and associated equipment can be accomplished.
(2) New structures and WCF exceeding 20 feet on existing structures. A WCF site with a WCF that is either not mounted on an existing eligible structure or is more than 20 feet higher than the structure on which it is mounted shall be permitted only in those districts specified on the Schedule of Uses[2] and shall require special exception approval in accord with this section.
(3) New tower-based WCF in a right-of-way. A new tower-based WCF shall only be permitted in a right-of-way in accord with the following:
(a) No such facility shall be located in any area where utility infrastructure is installed underground. In areas not served by aboveground utility infrastructure, a new tower-based WCF may be constructed only at intersections of a Borough and state street or state street intersections to provide coverage and capacity.
(b) The stand-alone tower shall not exceed the average height of the nearest two poles with a maximum height of 35 feet and the total height with all equipment shall not exceed 20 feet above the tower.
(c) The tower shall be self-supporting and guy wires shall not be permitted.
(d) Tower-based WCF in a Borough right-of-way.
[1] In addition to the required application and permit fees, every tower-based WCF in a Borough ROW is subject to the Borough's right to fix annually a fair and reasonable compensation to be paid for the use and occupancy of the ROW. Such compensation for ROW use shall be directly related to the Borough's actual ROW management costs including, but not limited to, the costs of the administration and performance of all reviewing, inspecting, permitting, supervising, and other ROW management activities by the Borough. The owner of each tower-based WCF shall pay an annual fee to the Borough to compensate the Borough for the Borough's costs incurred in connection with the activities described above. The annual ROW management fee for tower-based WCF shall be determined by the Borough and authorized by resolution of the Borough Council and shall be based on the Borough's actual ROW management costs as applied to such tower-based WCF.
[2] Prior to the issuance of a permit, the owner of each individual tower-based WCF shall, at its own cost and expense, deliver a restoration deposit in an amount determined by the Borough Engineer. The return of the deposit shall be contingent upon the proper restoration of the ROW and compliance with the terms and conditions of this chapter. Upon installation of the tower-based WCF, the applicant shall notify the Borough that the site is ready for inspection. The Borough Engineer shall inspect the site and, if it is found to be satisfactory, the restoration deposit shall be refunded to the applicant within 30 days. The restoration deposit may be forfeited in whole or in part to the Borough if any work is found to be incomplete or not in compliance with all applicable standards.
(4) Associated use. All other uses ancillary to the WCF (including a business office, maintenance depot, vehicle storage, etc.) are prohibited from the WCF site, unless otherwise permitted in the Zoning District in which the WCF site is located. This shall not prohibit the installation, as accessory structures, of equipment containers not intended for human occupancy to house only equipment necessary for the operation of the WCF.
(5) WCF as a second principal use. A WCF shall be permitted on a property with an existing use subject to the following land development standards:
(a) The WCF facility shall be fully automated and unattended on a daily basis and shall be visited only for periodic maintenance.
(b) The minimum lot area, minimum setbacks and maximum height required by this section for the WCF and support structure shall apply, and the land remaining for accommodation of the existing principal use(s) on the lot shall also continue to comply with the minimum lot area, density and other requirements.
(c) The vehicular access to the equipment building shall, whenever feasible, be provided along the circulation driveways of the existing use.
(d) The applicant shall present documentation that the owner of the property has granted an easement filed of record or other legal interest for the land for the proposed facility and that vehicular access is provided to the facility.
C. Permits for modifications to existing WCFs. While building codes would remain applicable, no zoning permits or land use approvals are required as long as the modification does not constitute a substantial change. For the definition of "substantial change" or "substantially change", see § 215-58.1C.
D. Standards. See § 215-58.1D