Wireless Ordinance


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City Council Report
Zoning Ordinance and General Plan Amendments:
Wireless Communication Facilities

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Wireless Ordinance

  1. 1. CITY OF ALBANY CITY COUNCIL AGENDA STAFF REPORT Prepared Date: 10/13/04 Agenda Date: 10/18/04 Reviewed By: ______SUBJECT: Zoning Ordinance and General Plan Amendments: Wireless Communication FacilitiesFROM: Ann Chaney, Community Development Director Ed Phillips, Zoning Consultant_____________________________________________________________________________RECOMMENDATIONConsider and select one the following alternative courses of action: 1. Proceed at this time with Council review of the proposed draft of zoning subsection 20.20.090, Wireless Communication Facilities, with modifications recommended by the City Attorney and by Nan Wishner and Cindy Soloman in their letter of October 1, 2004. 2. Defer consideration of subsection 20.20.090 until a date certain, after completion of review and approval of the balance of the draft zoning ordinance. 3. Adopt Ordinance #04-07, an interim urgency ordinance to establish a forty-five day moratorium restricting permits for, or installation of, wireless communication facilities.BACKGROUNDThe Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended adoption of Subsection20.20.090 as presented in the July 31, 2004 zoning draft. These proposed regulationswere originally formulated in 2002. Since the issues of wireless facilities have recentlybecome a matter of public concern in Albany, staff and the City Attorney have reviewedthe draft proposal and have devised additional material to insert in the proposed text.The additional material is underlined in the attached version of Subsection 20.20.090.In attached letters to the City Council, Nan Wishner and Cindy Solomon have 1)suggested that the City place a moratorium on proposals for wireless facilities(September 26, 2004), and 2) offered specific recommendations for additional changesto the draft ordinance subsection.
  2. 2. CITY COUNCIL MEETING Page 2STAFF REPORTOCTOBER 18, 2004DISCUSSION:A. Alternative Courses of Action:1. Proceed with review: The Council might choose to proceed, either at the currentmeeting or a subsequent one, with detailed review of the proposed zoning draft onWireless Communication Facilities, including the modifications recommended by theCity Attorney and by Nan Wishner and Cindy Soloman. Both the basic draft and thesuggested additions are highly complex and technical, and can be expected to requireconsiderable time for Council review, discussion and public commentary. The extendedtime may prevent the Council from meeting concerns about the immediacy of a pendingappeal of P&Z approval of an installation on Solano Avenue, and the pendingcompletion of an application for a facility at Albany High School. In addition,concentration on the wireless section at this time could divert council’s attention fromthe completion of its review and approval of the balance of the proposed zoningordinance.2. Defer consideration: The Council could defer consideration of the wireless sectionto a time after the completion of review and approval of the balance of the draft zoningordinance. However, this could mean foregoing the opportunity to put new wirelessregulations in place prior to City actions on the currently pending wireless projects.3. Adopt a moratorium: The City Attorney has drafted an urgency ordinance toestablish a forty-five day moratorium on City approvals of wireless communicationfacilities including cellular antennas, monopoles, base stations and related facilities.The ordinance anticipates adoption of a revised zoning ordinance, including wirelessregulations, within 45 days. The ordinance may be extended, with public notice, a publichearing and a four-fifths vote of the Council, for an additional 10 months and fifteendays, and thereafter, through the same process, for an additional year if needed.B. Summaries of Draft Proposals:1. Draft subsection 20.20.090, as modified: The following discussion (repeated fromthe staff report for October 4, 2004) is a summary of the proposed regulations onwireless communications facilities, including the revisions suggested by the CityAttorney:• The proposed regulations have been adapted from ordinances of various California cities and counties, including several which were recommended by ABAG as models.• Wireless communication facilities are proposed to be prohibited in all residential districts and the waterfront district, and conditionally permitted in all commercial and public facilities (PF) districts. PF districts include most schools and parks, City Hall, the Gill Tract, the U.C. Little League fields, the USDA and the State Orientation School. (See Subsection 20.12.040, Table 1, page 24 of 7-31-04 zoning draft.)
  3. 3. CITY COUNCIL MEETING Page 3STAFF REPORTOCTOBER 18, 2004• Subsection 20.20.090 includes the following parts: A. Purpose and intent: Generally to establish standards for placement of antennas, and to encourage locations on public sites and to encourage joint use of facilities by multiple companies. Added language preventing facilities in residential districts, and requiring compliance with all other codes and regulations. B. Definitions: Section 20.08 (page 15) includes definitions of several terms relevant to wireless communications. C. Exempt Facilities: A list of facilities, such as TV antennas and satellite dishes, and various radio antennas that are not covered by the proposed regulations. D. Prohibited facilities: Prohibition of transmit/receive facilities in residential zones. E. Development Standards: Lists of standards to be generally applicable, and specific standards for building- mounted antennas and monopoles. F. Application procedures: Use permits and design review are required. Added specifications for required submittal information. Additional findings for approval. G. Operation and Maintenance Standards. Additional provisions suggested by the City Attorney to control ongoing compliance. H. Certification of Facilities. Additional provisions suggested by the City Attorney to assure compliance with FCC limits. I. Duration, revocation and Discontinuance: Provisions for time limits, extensions, removal after discontinuance, and legal nonconforming status of pre-existing facilities. Additional language to assure compliance.2. Additional proposals by residents: The Wishner-Solomon proposals include thefollowing points:• Restrict facility sites from schools and parks, as well as C-1 and C-2 zones where residences exist;• Add provisions to protect the City against potential liability;• Add provisions to give the City more latitude in assessing the need for additional facilities;
  4. 4. CITY COUNCIL MEETING Page 4STAFF REPORTOCTOBER 18, 2004• Minimize the number of facilities by encouraging low power “repeaters’, and other means.• Expand the forms of notice provided for facility proposals.• Added provision to give the City more control over facility operations and to maximize revenue to the City.FISCAL IMPACT:Adoption of regulations on wireless communication facilities could result in costs to theCity for monitoring and enforcement of regulations. Provisions should be included toassure that such costs are recouped from facility operators, to the maximum extentfeasible. Additional city revenue might be gained from periodic renewal fees, and frompotential location of facilities on City-owned properties.ATTACHMENTS:A. Section 20.20.090, Wireless Communication Facilities, including revisions suggested by City Attorney.B. Letter from Nan Wishner and Cindy Solomon, 9-26-04, with enclosureC. Letter from Nan Wishner and Cindy Solomon, 10-1-04D. Additional informational material provided by Wishner and SolomonE. Draft Ordinance #04-07EdPCCreports SR10-18-04 wls.doc