BOARD OF SUPERVISORS PUBLIC HEARING REQUEST
Board Meeting Date:
AT&T Wireless Service, Inc., Applicant
George C. & Helen F. Elmore, Owners
Robert C. Counts Community Development
Service District: None 7904-15-6717-000
Special Exception SE03-C-11: AT&T Wireless - Elmore Property
20 Special Exception to allow for the construction of a 110-foot monopole
telecommunications facility and compound.
Land Area, Location and Zoning:
The subject property consists of ±
55.5 acres zoned RA (Agricultural). It is located beyond the end of
Neighboring Zoning/Land Use:
The subject property is surrounded by land zoned RA, some of which has been developed for large lot residential use.
Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:
Conduct a public hearing and take action on Special Exception application SE03-C-11. The Planning Commission has forwarded a recommendation of approval but did not include any specific conditions. Should the Board so choose, staff is prepared to provide conditions of approval that could minimize any adverse community impact from the proposed tower.
Staff and appropriate referral agencies have reviewed this
request for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance,
and other relevant policies and regulations. Staff and referral agency
findings, comments, and recommendations are summarized below.
The County’s telecommunications consultant,
Atlantic Technology Consultants, Inc. (ATC), reviewed this Special
Exception request. ATC
provided the following assessment.
2. Site And Design: The proposed structure will be sited in a 2500 square foot area which is zoned RA. The tower will be placed in a heavily wooded area that will help camouflage the proposed tower. In addition, the antennas will be flush mounted to the pole in order to minimize the visual impact. A 5-foot chain link fence will surround the area. The area will be large enough to allow future shelters to be accommodated. The structure is sited within a stand of trees of a minimum 100-foot radius depth. The applicant provided photo simulations that show limited visual impact.
7. Coverage Analysis: The applicant proposes to fill a coverage gap east of Warrenton. AWS provided propagation models outlining the current coverage of AWS. ATC ran propagation coverage maps to see if the tower could be built at a lower height. At 80 feet, the applicant will not be able to produce a signal over the existing tree lines which are in excess of 80-feet in height. If the site is 100 feet tall, ATC estimates that the coverage would be approximately 30% less effective than if at the 110-foot level. In order to provide optimal coverage with the least visual impact 110 feet seems to be appropriate.
AWS currently operates a network of sites surrounding the
proposed site. Sprint’s existing coverage was analyzed through
propagation modeling and spectrum analysis.
Propagation modeling was used to model AWS existing network coverage
produced from the sites identified by the applicant.
Areas shaded in green and yellow (minimum – 89 dBm) represent
acceptable coverage with the areas in green representing the strongest
communication back to the tower. Areas
shaded in gray represent “spotty” or unreliable coverage.
Propagation mapping reveals that the proposed tower will fill a
definite coverage gap in the area surrounding the proposed structure.
A Spectrum Analyzer is a highly sophisticated device used to measure
signal strength in a given area. Our
findings show some coverage in the designated area but a definite need for
added signal strength.
to ATC, the applicant has clearly demonstrated a need for additional
coverage in the area of the proposed tower.
In addition, AWS has been very responsible in submitting the
application based on the existing County ordinance.
As there are no collocation opportunities available at the current
time, it is the recommendation of ATC to approve this application with the
As an FCC licensee,
the applicant (or structure owner) is required to perform a NEPA study.
In the absence of such a study, the impact on environmental
resources is not known. The
potential impact on environmental resources should be considered in any
decision concerning approval.
As an FCC licensee,
the applicant is required to perform a Section 106 review.
In the absence of such a review, the impact on environmental
resources is not known. The
potential impact on historic resources should be considered in any
decision concerning approval.
electromagnetic radiation (NIER) analysis should be performed on the
cumulative effect of all antennas to be located on the structure to ensure
a safe environment for workers and the general public who may be exposed.
of the Zoning Ordinance
Chapter 11 of the Zoning Ordinance stipulates the
following Tower Location Guidelines:
* These location requirements can be modified through
the special exception process if it can be shown that: (1) Due to
topography, forested areas and floodplain barriers, environmental factors
provide to an equal degree, adequate buffer and camouflaging to reduce the
1,000 foot residential unit setback, or (2) If the design is mitigated or
camouflaged in such a way to make the facility less visible than if it
were in the trees, the facility may be located outside of existing trees
or surrounded by less than 100 feet of trees in all directions.
In addition to the
requirements listed on the standard Special Exception checklist, the
following items must be addressed with a new telecommunications facility
A map showing the
telecommunication system of which the proposed use will be an integral
part, together with a written statement outlining the functional
relationship of the proposed facility use to the utility system.
A statement, prepared by a
certified engineer, giving the basic reasons for selecting the particular
site as the location of the proposed facility and certifying that the
proposed use will meet the performance standards of the district in which
Photo imagery or other visual
simulation of the proposed telecommunication tower or monopole must be
shown with the existing conditions of the site. This simulation shall be
provided from a minimum of three (3) perspectives. The applicant shall
address how the facility can be designed to mitigate the visual impact on
area residents, facilities, and roads.
Except for areas where permitted
by right, an applicant for the proposed telecommunication facility must
demonstrate that an antenna location on an existing facility is not
feasible. The applicant shall
evaluate through an engineering report the existing telecommunication
facilities and structures 80 feet or greater in height within a one (1)
mile radius of the proposed facility when located in a designated Service
District of the Comprehensive Plan. Elsewhere
in the County, the applicant shall evaluate through an engineering report
the facility and structure locations, 80 feet or greater in height, within
a two (2) mile radius of the proposed facility. Technological, physical,
and economic constraints may be considered in determining site
The carrier shall provide a copy
of Form 600 on file with the FCC, and its FCC license (Radio Authorization
The application shall show
relationship to other personal wireless service facilities, including
those existing and proposed by the carrier/applicant.
The nearest existing sites for other carriers in at least four
directions (north, south, east and west), as well as those proposed by
other carriers on file in
Applicants shall submit
documentation, in written and graphic form regarding the service area to
be provided by the proposed telecommunication tower or monopole.
This includes propagation maps demonstrating that these facilities,
with collocation capabilities, are no higher in elevation than necessary.
The applicant has complied with each of these provisions.
The Engineering Division reviewed this requested special exception and
offered only one comment: This plan will be required to meet the Fauquier
County Stormwater Management Ordinance.
The County Soil Scientist reviewed this requested special exception and offered no comments.
The VDOT Warrenton Residency Office reviewed the requested special exception but, because it does not have jurisdiction to enforce entrance standards on private streets, it had no comments on the location, design, or installation of an entrance serving the site.
Summary and Planning Commission Recommendation:
The Planning Commission considered this application
at its regular meetings in November, December, and January. A public
hearing was conducted at the November meeting and held open for additional
testimony at the December meeting. Because of difficult weather
conditions, poor site access and other factors, the Planning Commission
requested the applicant to conduct multiple balloon tests to determine the
visibility of the proposed tower. A balloon test was conducted in
mid-November and a crane test was conducted in mid-December. The Planning
Commission deferred action at its December meeting to allow for one final
half-day balloon test. That test was conducted satisfactorily on
In addition to the multiple
balloon tests, the applicant has stipulated a number of development
conditions that will diminish any negative impacts to the community, and
has been responsive to numerous requests for information from both staff
and the County’s telecommunications consultant.
Based on extensive analysis, the County’s telecommunications
consultant has concluded that, subject to certain conditions stipulated by
the applicant, recommended by ATC, and established County standards, the
applicant meets all criteria relating to the approval of a Category 20
Special Exception. At a special meeting held on