Summary Staff Report:
This text amendment is
intended to add clarity to the Zoning Ordinance.
As noted above, in
the past the Zoning Administrator has construed the
Zoning Ordinance to allow eighty feet high silos, by right,
to house telecommunication facilities when such silos are
part of a farm complex. While there is a presumption of
validity to a course of interpretations by the Zoning
Administrator, there is uncertainty in this particular
instance. Staff believes that the policy should be codified
or rejected so as to clarify the rules concerning
telecommunication towers camouflaged as silos.
The regulations pertaining
to telecommunications towers are set forth in Article 11 of
the Zoning Ordinance. These regulations generally allow
telecommunication facilities without approval of a special
exception if they are 80 feet in height or lower, subject to
certain specific siting requirements set forth in Section
11-102(2)(b) of the Ordinance. These regulations allow
by-right commercial wireless facilities 80 feet or less in
height on sites where they are either surrounded by 100 feet
of wooded area or on existing buildings and structures. A
new silo built for telecommunications purposes does not meet
these standards unless it is surrounded by 100 feet of
wooded area, which would rarely be the case due to historic
and existing farm operations. A telecommunication facility
also could be placed in an existing silo.
The presented question is
whether a stealth silo can be constructed solely for such
purposes without the wooded buffer. When such a new silo
with internal telecommunications equipment is integrated
into an existing farm complex consistent with the dimensions
and aesthetics of silos in the farming community, this
approach has similar impacts to utilizing existing buildings
The proposed amendment
authorizes up to two stealth silos per site. Additional
on-site stealth silos would require a special exception.
Today, there are six silos
used for telecommunication purposes in the County.
Attached for your
photographs of these silos and numerous additional
pictures of silos in the County.
This proposed amendment was
initiated by the Planning Commission on January 25, 2007. On
February 15, 2007, the Planning Commission conducted a
public hearing and asked staff to rewrite the text language
authorizing two stealth silos by right and permitting
additional stealth silos by special exception.
The Planning Commission
recommended adoption of the amendment, by unanimous vote, on
March 29, 2007.