AGENDA REQUEST

Owner/Applicant:                                               Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

William H., and Nelson D. Martin, Owners                                   September 15, 2003

AT&T Wireless, Applicant

Staff Lead:                                                                                     Department:

Frederick P.D. Carr                                                             Community Development

Magisterial District: Cedar Run                                                                 PIN(s):

Service District: None                                                              7914-33-2804-000

Topic:

Consideration of SE03-CR-29: A Category 20 Special Exception to Allow a Telecommunications Tower in Excess of 80 feet, William H. and Nelson D. Martin, Owners, AT&T Wireless Services (AWS), Applicant

Topic Description:

The applicant is seeking a Special Exception to allow installation and operation of an unmanned, wireless radio link.  This radio link will consist of three (and possibly as many as six) panel antennas installed on a 105-foot tall monopole. The antennas will each measure no more than 75’’H x 5”W x 3”D.  An equipment cabinet (70”H x 54”W x 38”D) will be placed on a concrete pad near the base of the monopole as per attached site plan. One equipment cabinet will be installed initially with up to two additional cabinets to be installed in the future. The entire facility will be within a 2,500 square foot compound surrounded and secured by a 6’ tall fence.

The applicant states that the proposed radio link is a necessary component of the area-wide system that AWS is deploying in Fauquier County . This site has been described by the applicant as being critical to AWS, because it will provide wireless coverage along a significant portion of Dumfries Road east of Warrenton where AWS subscribers currently cannot access the network or where they lose signal.  According to the applicant, the proposed site was selected because it is strategically located in relation to AWS’ other existing or planned radio links and will provide the widest and most efficient coverage of the arterial roadways in the area while minimizing its visual impact on major thoroughfares.

Report Update:

On August 18th, the Board of Supervisors postponed action on the referenced application until September 15th.  The Board of Supervisors advised the applicant’s representative that it was incumbent on them to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the County’s consultant, Mr. George Condyles of ATC, that the requested height is justified.  George Condyles developed a technical methodology for an equitable test (refer to Attachment 1).  The proposal was shared with AT&T through its Counsel, Terrance S. Cooke, and the applicant declined to conduct the test as proposed due to cost and other reasons stated in its letter, which is enclosed as an attachment.  AT&T has proposed an alternative for ATC consideration.

In summary, the test has yet to be conducted, and the applicant has requested a postponement to allow time for an agreement with ATC on how the technical testing will occur, and then to complete the test.  The next step would be to proceed to the Board of Supervisors for action.

Action Requested of the Board of Supervisors:

Consider postponement of action on the AT&T (Martin Site) SE03-CR-29 application until October 20, 2003 .

Attachments:

  1. ATC, County Consultant , Proposed Test Methodology
  2. Terrence S. Cooke Letter (dated September 4, 2003 ) AT&T; Martin Commercial Wireless Site
 

ATTACHMENT 1- ATC, County Consultant , Proposed Test Methodology

Testing Criteria for AT&T                                                               August 22, 2003

Fauquier County

Martin Site

Background

Three (3) separate technical evaluations performed by ATC have been conducted at the request of the Applicant, AT&T Wireless. There still seems to be some question about the effectiveness of an 80-foot structure at the Martin site in Fauquier County . At their meeting on August 18, the Board of Supervisors was requested by the Applicant (AT&T) to postpone the Board action and to resolve the issue using objective, technical criteria; therefore, ATC proposes the following testing procedure.  This procedure should provide a definitive answer to the question and the results can provide the foundation for Board action in this matter.  ATC is willing to accept the test results with interpretation and AT&T should also be willing to accept the results with interpretation.  Interpretation is defined as “the system works and is functional” or it does not. ATC will review and make a final recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

Testing Procedure

This is to be a “Live Test” of the network.  This testing method has been used very effectively in other parts of Virginia when there were similar questions.

Step #1.

All hand-off sites must be up and running at full operating power.  Where this is not possible on a permanent basis (perhaps at Elmore), a temporary site using a "Cell on Wheels" may be used.  Sites to include Catlett, Warrenton, Vint Hill, Prince William and Elmore. AT&T will provide frequencies, power levels, etc for these sites to ATC prior to the testing. AT&T will not modify or change power levels, equipment during the testing period.

Step #2.

Actual permanent site transmitters and antennas MUST be used for this test to be meaningful.  Actual approved antenna heights must be used. 

Step #3.

At the Martin site, a temporary “Cell on Wheels” (or similar temporary structure) is to be set up at 80’ AGL, equivalent. The existing site is wooded, so the COW may be placed nearby and compensated for the approximate 8 to 10 foot depression at the applicants proposed site. The AMSL must be equivalent. The provision to raise the antennas to 85’, 90’, 95’ 100’ and 105’ must be possible. 

Step #4.

Again, actual transmitters and antennas and antenna sectors MUST be used for this test to be meaningful.  This means that the same antennas, cables, connectors etc. must be used.

Step #5.

Five to eight test locations are to be determined by mutual agreement. 

Step #6.

Once the AT&T system is functional using the temporary locations, it is to be left in that temporary, functional configuration.  Within five days of the setup, ATC will make measurements using spectrum analyzer equipment and also will make phone calls using AT&T telephones.  AT&T personnel may observe all testing and must provide the telephones if they so wish.  Telephones must be of the type and functionality that is available to the public.

Step #7.

After the initial sets of readings are taken, the Martin site will be raised to the next level and the test will be repeated.  

Step #8. 

When readings are taken at all test heights, all readings will be tabulated and given, with ATC’s interpretation and recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.  ATC will be available to the Board to answer questions. 

Step #9.

It is suggested (subject to Board approval) that all AT&T equipment be left in the functional configuration until the Board issues its final decision on the allowable height for the Martin and Elmore tower sites. It is ATC’s recommendation upon approval of the Department of Community Development and Building Inspector’s Office that these sites be able to remain in full service until the permanent structures are completed.

Testing Standards

The Testing standards will be simply the ability for a stationary Cell Phone to be able to call out or be called at the pre-designated points of testing. This is a “Go/No Go” Test.

AT&T will provide the Cell Phone. Ten (10) calls will be the sample from each location.

Any location with less than an 80% Success rate will be determined a “NO GO” Site.

Any more than 2 “NO GO” Sites will require the Applicant Tower to be raised another 5’ of AGL with the starting point at 80’ AGL equivalency. If 90% of Sites or more are a “GO”, then that will be the recommended height.

Conclusion

By providing for this testing, the County of Fauquier is providing a Independent, Objective and Unbiased opportunity for a wireless carrier to fill in a narrow gap in service to meet the existing topographic and service considerations that are the concern of AT&T. In return, the County is receiving actual live testing that will account for the recommended solution to only allow 80’ of AGL which could have been achieved one (1) year ago “By-Right” if the Applicant would have chosen that option. Since the Applicant already has existing service in the County and existing “in service” sites near-by, the Applicant may prove that he may need greater than 80’ AGL not to exceed his request of 105’ AGL and place his “Fill in Sites” (Elmore & Martin) into operation.

ATC believes that this is an absolutely fair way to resolve the issues at hand and display the County of Fauquier willingness and flexibility to accommodate commercial wireless carriers.