PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA 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
Category 20 Special Exception to allow for the
construction of a 110-foot monopole telecommunications facility and
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.
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.
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.
According 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:
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 application.
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
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
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