Purpose: This section ensures that residents and businesses have reliable access to wireless telecommunications networks while also protecting the health, safety, welfare, and aesthetic character of the community. The City of Olathe recognizes that facilitating the development of wireless service technology can be an economic development asset to the City and a benefit to residents. This section is intended to ensure that the placement, construction, and modification of wireless telecommunications facilities complies with all applicable federal and state laws and is consistent with the City’s land use policies, zoning, planning, and design standards. This section meets the following specific objectives:
•Encourage the reasonable use of disguised (stealth) facilities in residential areas, properties located in corridors with specific design guidelines and properties located near historically significant structures or districts.
This section applies to broadcast systems, cellular, commercial mobile radio services, common carrier wireless access exchange services, enhanced specialized mobile radio, personal communication services paging, personal wireless services, public service and emergency systems, specialized mobile radio, tower builder, unlicensed wireless services, and wireless cable systems.
This section does not apply to:
b. Antennas used by residential households solely for broadcast radio and television reception.
c. Satellite antennas used solely for residential or household purposes.
d. Carrier-on-wheels (COW) placed for a period of not more than one hundred twenty (120) days at any location within the City of Olathe after a declaration of an emergency or a disaster by the Governor or by the responsible official of the City of Olathe. In nonemergency situations, COWs or other temporary communication towers require approval of a temporary sales and events permit (see Section 18.50.225).
e. Television and AM/FM radio broadcast towers and associated facilities.
f. Facilities owned and operated by a federally licensed amateur radio station operator.
3. Functionally Equivalent Services
Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 prohibits unreasonable discrimination among functionally equivalent services.
a. The Approving Authority may waive any part of this section where the applicant demonstrates that the provision would violate the Federal ban on unreasonable discrimination among functionally equivalent services.
b. For purposes of this section, the following are considered “functionally equivalent services”: CMRS, cellular, PCS, enhanced specialized mobile radio, specialized mobile radio and paging. The Approving Authority may also consider current case law, state or federal legislation, or FCC rulings that define functionally equivalent services.
c. For purposes of this section, telecommunications facilities provided for commercial purposes are not considered functionally equivalent services to:
(1) Public service/emergency systems and services; and
(2) Services exempt from this section (see subsection A.2 of this section).
The terms and phrases used in this section are defined as follows:
Any equipment serving or being used in conjunction with a telecommunications facility or support structure. This equipment includes, but is not limited to, utility or transmission equipment, power supplies, generators, batteries, cables, equipment buildings, cabinets and storage sheds, shelters or other structures.
Radio equipment and associated antennas or support structures operated for the purpose of receiving or transmitting communications by a radio station as described in Section 153(g) of Title 47 of the U.S. Code and which is operated under license by the FCC.
Any structure or device used to collect or radiate electromagnetic waves for the provision of wireless services, including, but not limited to, cellular, paging, personal communications services (PCS) and microwave communications. Such structures and devices include, but are not limited to, directional antennas, such as panels, microwave dishes and satellite dishes, and omnidirectional antennas. A whip (omnidirectional antenna), panel (directional antenna), disc (parabolic antenna) or similar device used for transmission and/or reception of radio frequency signals.
Wireless communication systems that are licensed for the broadcast of AM/FM radio or television.
To paint or mount a wireless communication facility in a manner that requires minimal changes to the host structure and hides the facility in the context of its surroundings on the host structure. (Compare “Disguised (Stealth) Telecommunications Facility.”)
“Carrier on Wheels” or “Cell on Wheels” (COW)
A portable self-contained cell site that can be moved to a location and set up to provide personal wireless services on a temporary or emergency basis. A COW is normally vehicle-mounted and contains a telescoping boom as the antenna support structure.
A personal wireless service capable of transmitting and receiving voice that operates in the 800 MHz spectrum.
Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS)
Per Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, any of several wireless communication technologies using radio signals at various frequencies to send and receive voice, data and video.
Common Carrier Wireless Exchange Access Services
Services by which wireless communication is interconnected with wired communication infrastructure.
To enclose a wireless communication facility within a natural or manmade feature resulting in the facility being either hidden from view or made part of the feature enclosing it.
The appearance of wireless communication facilities as determined by selection of materials, colors, size, and shape.
Disguised (Stealth) Telecommunications Facility
Any telecommunications facility that is integrated as an architectural feature or designed to blend with surrounding development or natural environment in a manner to minimize visual impacts and to not have the appearance of providing wireless service. Specifically, this means ensuring that all antennas, arrays, cables and other equipment used for providing communications service are not obtrusive or noticeably visible from adjacent properties or adjacent streets. Examples of disguised telecommunications facilities include, but are not limited to, structures designed to resemble trees, flag poles, steeples, crosses, clock towers or other building elements. (Compare “Camouflage.”) Due to changing technologies and the use of new communications equipment, the City Planner has the discretion to determine if a telecommunications facility is designed as a disguised or stealth facility.
The measurement of height above sea level. Also AMSL, or above mean sea level.
Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio (ESMR)
Private land mobile radio with telephone services.
An enclosed structure, cabinet, shed, or box at the base of or in the general proximity of a support structure within which is housed the equipment for the wireless communication facility such as radios, batteries, and electrical equipment.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
An independent federal agency charged with licensing and regulating wireless communication at the national level.
Mounted on the ground.
Any type of support structure that is supported in whole or in part by cables anchored to the ground or other surface.
The area where a wireless communication facility is located or proposed to be located.
Improvements to existing telecommunications facilities or support structures that result in a substantial change to the facility or structure. Co-location of new telecommunications facilities on an existing support structure without replacement of the structure will not constitute a major modification. Major modifications include, but are not limited to, increasing the height of the support structure by more than ten (10) feet or ten (10) percent, whichever is greater, and expansion of the compound area for additional accessory equipment.
Improvements to existing telecommunications facilities and support structures that result in some material change to the facility or support structure but of a level, quality, or intensity that is less than a substantial change. Such minor modifications include, but are not limited to, a one (1) time increase in the height of the support structure by less than ten (10) feet or ten (10) percent, whichever is greater.
The changing of any portion of a telecommunications facility from its description in a previously approved permit.
A single, freestanding vertical pole supporting one (1) or more antennas.
Ensuring that telecommunications facilities and support structures are kept in good operating condition. Ordinary maintenance includes inspections, testing, and modifications that maintain functional capacity, aesthetic and structure integrity (such as the strengthening of the support structure foundation or the support structure itself). Ordinary maintenance includes replacing antennas and accessory equipment on a like-for-like basis within an existing telecommunications facility and relocating the antennas of approved telecommunications facilities to different height levels on an existing monopole or tower upon which they are currently located. Ordinary maintenance does not include minor and major modifications.
PCS (Personal Communication Services)
A personal wireless service capable of transmitting and receiving voice, data, text, and video messaging that operates in the 1850 to 1990 MHz range.
A personal wireless service that provides tone, text, and limited voice messaging that operates on several frequency ranges, usually in a limited geographic area.
Personal Wireless Services
Any personal wireless service defined in the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 which includes Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensed commercial wireless telecommunications services, including cellular, personal communications services (PCS), specialized mobile radio (SMR), enhanced specialized mobile radio (ESMR), paging and unlicensed wireless services, and common carrier wireless exchange access services.
Private Dispatch System
Wireless communication systems that are licensed to one (1) user for exclusive use and not to be shared with, or leased to, other users.
Public Service/Emergency System
Wireless communication systems operated by or for a governmental agency for the delivery of emergency or other public services.
Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer
Someone with a background in electrical engineering or microwave engineering who specializes in the study of radio frequencies.
Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR)
The propagation of electromagnetic waves through space.
Radio Frequency (RF) Signal
Constructing a new support structure of proportions and of equal height or such other height as would be allowed under the definition of minor modification to a preexisting support structure in order to support a telecommunications facility or to accommodate co-location, and removing the preexisting support structure.
Mounted on the side of a building.
The method and form of placement of telecommunications facilities on a specific area of a subject property.
Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR)
A form of dispatch or two (2) way communication used by companies that rent space or time from an SMR carrier. These are used primarily for delivery vans, truckers or taxis within a small, definable geographic area.
Any unmanned facility established for the purpose of providing wireless transmission of voice, data, images, or other information including, but not limited to, cellular service, personal communications service (PCS), and paging service. A telecommunications facility can consist of:
•Accessory equipment; or
•One (1) or more base stations.
Unlicensed Wireless Services
Wireless Cable System
Wireless communication services that provide point-to-multipoint communication for the provision of voice, data, text, and video that operate in the 2.1 to 2.8 GHz range.
A comprehensive term describing the wireless services covered by this section, including: broadcast systems, cellular, commercial mobile radio services, common carrier wireless access exchange services, enhanced specialized mobile radio, personal communication services paging, personal wireless services, public service and emergency systems, specialized mobile radio, tower builder, unlicensed wireless services, and wireless cable system. Does not include amateur radio or private dispatch system.
C. Where Permitted
1. Special Use Permit
b. The initial special use permit has a time limit of ten (10) years with subsequent renewals of ten (10) years each. At the time of renewal, the applicant must demonstrate that the telecommunications facility is still in compliance with the original conditions of approval.
2. By Right
a. In nonresidential zoning districts:
(1) New facilities that are concealed in or mounted on top of or the side of existing buildings (excluding single-family and duplex residences) and other structures. This includes support structures up to twenty (20) feet above the building, or the maximum height permitted in the underlying zoning district, whichever is greater.
b. In any zoning district, modification and/or replacement of support structures (light poles, flag poles, electrical poles, private dispatch towers, and similar structures) that do not make the existing structure significantly more visible or intrusive, including cumulative height extensions of up to ten (10) percent above the original structure height.
c. In any zoning district, telecommunications facilities are allowed in the City right-of-way if the applicant has complied with all the requirements of Chapter 12.14, and has obtained a right-of-way permit from the City Engineer as required by such chapter.
D. General Requirements
a. Legal Requirements
All telecommunications facilities must comply with all federal, state, and local rules and regulations.
(2) On existing poles in street rights-of-way, including telephone poles, electrical transmission and distribution poles, street lights, and traffic signal stanchions; on existing parking lot and athletic field/stadium light standards; and on modified or rebuilt poles that are substantially similar in appearance.
(4) In wooded areas.
(5) At certain City-owned properties, where the size and nature of the use does not interfere with other functions and allows for compatible siting. These may include water towers, large park areas, sewer treatment plant sites, and maintenance yards.
2. Concealing, Disguising, or Camouflaging
Telecommunications facilities must be:
b. Disguised to look like another type of facility, like a flag pole, clock tower, tree, or church steeple;
c. Placed in areas where trees and/or buildings obscure some or all the facility from view, or behind new plantings/screening installed around the site where visible from major street or residential areas; or
d. Placed on existing walls, flush-mounted, or on building roofs (excluding single-family and duplex) and structures, up to twenty (20) feet above the existing structure, as opposed to building new ground-mounted support structures. Facilities on rooftops must be set back from roof edges or screened from view.
3. Modifications to Existing Facilities
Replacement (as defined above) of an existing support structure may be permitted upon the granting of administrative approval by the City Planner. In cases where a new support structure exceeds the height allowed under the definition of minor modification to a preexisting support structure, a special use permit is required. Replacement of nonconforming support structures must conform to subsection J.3.e of this section.
a. Commercial and Industrial Zoning Districts
Unless otherwise stated, support structures must be set back from all platted property lines a distance equal to fifty (50) percent of the height of the structure measured from the base of the structure to its highest point (excluding lightning arrestor). In addition, where support structures are located on property zoned for commercial or industrial use that is adjacent to property zoned for residential use, the monopoles and towers must be set back from the residential property line a distance equal to the height of the structure measured from the base of the structure to its highest point. Setbacks for other structures are governed by the underlying zoning district.
b. Agricultural and Residential Zoning Districts
Unless otherwise stated, support structures must be set back from all platted property lines a distance equal to the height of the structure measured from the base of the structure to its highest point (excluding lightning arrestor). Setbacks for other structures are governed by the underlying zoning district.
(1) That the deviation is appropriate.
(2) The deviation will not adversely affect the rights of adjacent property owners or residents.
(4) That the deviation will not adversely affect the public health, safety or general welfare.
a. Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Zoning Districts
Unless otherwise stated, the maximum height for support structures must be one hundred fifty (150) feet, excluding lightning arrestor.
b. Residential and Mixed-Use Districts
c. In the City Right-of-Way
(1) Fifty (50) feet along arterial streets;
(2) Forty (40) feet along collector streets; and
(3) Twenty (20) feet along residential streets.
E. Design Standards
2. Accessory Structures
a. Accessory equipment, including any buildings, cabinets, or shelters, must be used only to house equipment and other supplies in support of the operation of the telecommunications facility or support structure. Any equipment not used in direct support of the operation will not be stored on the site.
b. An equipment building, shelter, or cabinet must not exceed five hundred sixty (560) square feet in area and twelve (12) feet in height.
e. Ground-level equipment must be enclosed by six (6) to eight (8) foot height security fencing, of a material compatible with its surroundings.
f. Equipment must be located indoors if space is available nearby. Burying equipment in an underground vault, to keep most of the equipment out of sight, may be necessary in rights-of-way and in some other visually/environmentally sensitive locations, such as tourist attractions, historic landmarks/districts, museum district, river corridor, and other locations of civic importance or architectural significance.
g. The Approving Authority may require additional screening or landscaping for stacked equipment buildings where needed to hide the buildings from surrounding parcels located in a residential or mixed-use district.
All anticipated antennas and mounting hardware must be shown on drawings for review. Mounting locations for multiple antennas on a single support structure must be coordinated in design, and spaced and balanced to give a planned and uncluttered appearance. Installation of additional antennas at new centerlines beyond those reflected in initial approvals may be approved administratively subject to subsection F of this section.
All cable runs should be through tower portals and within the tower itself. Where cable is required to be located on the exterior of tower for co-location of additional antennas, the cable must be painted to match the tower or covered by a material to match the tower.
b. The telecommunications facility must use colors, textures and materials that blend in with the existing environment;
c. Surfaces must be painted, or otherwise treated, to:
(1) Match or complement existing background structures and surfaces, or the sky, as appropriate; and
(2) To minimize reflection;
d. Support structures must be painted:
(1) A galvanized silver or gray finish; or
(2) Red and white where needed to avoid strobe lighting that would otherwise be required by applicable governing agencies.
6. Disguised (Stealth) Telecommunications Facilities
c. The structure used to support the disguised facility must be integrated as an architectural feature or designed to resemble an object or structure that does not have the appearance of a monopole or other telecommunications facility.
In all districts, the Governing Body, Planning Commission, or City Planner will have the authority to impose reasonable landscaping requirements surrounding accessory equipment. Required landscaping must be maintained by the facility owner. The Governing Body, Planning Commission, or City Planner may choose to not require landscaping for sites that are not visible from the public right-of-way or adjacent property or in instances where in the judgment of Governing Body, Planning Commission, or City Planner landscaping is not appropriate or necessary.
8. Lighting and Marking
b. Nighttime lighting of or on telecommunications facilities is not permitted except for aircraft warning lights or similar emergency warning lights required by applicable governmental agencies.
c. Strobe lights are not permitted.
d. Lighting for security purposes is not permitted at the base of telecommunications facilities.
e. Temporary lighting for nighttime repairs is permitted.
9. Security and Fencing
Ground-mounted accessory equipment and support structures must be secured and enclosed with fencing not less than six (6) feet in height. Fencing must be constructed with materials and design compatible with surrounding development.
No advertising or display is permitted on any telecommunications facility or related equipment, unless required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
11. Tower Design
b. Antennas must be mounted flush to the support structure where economically and technically feasible. Triangular “top-hat” antenna arrays are not permitted in a residential or mixed-use zoning district.
12. Disguised Facilities Required
c. Located in the K-7 Corridor or North Ridgeview Road Corridor; or
13. Wall- and Roof-Mounted Antennas
14. Flight Path Obstruction
New support structures must not be located in the flight paths of local airports where they would constitute a potential hazard to air safety.
F. Procedures for Approval
1. Administrative Review Process
e. Telecommunications facilities in the City right-of-way that comply with the provisions of Chapter 12.14 require a permit from the City Engineer and a separate administrative review is not required.
2. Special Use Permit Process
(3) In the case of a new support structure:
(a) Line-of-sight diagram or photo simulation, showing the proposed support structure set against the skyline and viewed from at least three (3) directions within the surrounding area.
3. Time Limits
The Approving Authority will act within a reasonable period of time to review and recommend requests to place, construct, or modify telecommunications facilities after an application is filed. Unless otherwise agreed between the City and the applicant or provided by state or federal law, reasonable review and action by the City will take no more than:
G. Abandonment and Removal
b. The owner is responsible for removing the unused facilities, including the uppermost twenty (20) percent of support structures that are unused. This does not apply where removal of the uppermost twenty (20) percent would require the removal of a lower portion of the support structure that is in use, in which case the required removal will be raised to the next highest portion of the support structure not in use.
c. If the facility or portion of a facility is not removed by the owner, then the City may employ all legal measures, including, if necessary, obtaining authorization from a court of competent jurisdiction, to remove it, and after removal may place a lien on the subject property for all direct and indirect costs incurred in its dismantling and disposal, including court costs and reasonable attorney fees. Under this subsection, “owner” includes both the owner of the real property and the owner of the telecommunications facility, whether such ownership is divided or in the same person.
H. Federal Regulations
All telecommunications towers and facilities must meet or exceed current standards and regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, and any other agency of the state or federal government with the authority to regulate telecommunications facilities, towers, and antennas.
I. Interference Requirements
All telecommunications facilities, towers, and antennas must be installed, operated, and maintained in accordance with all applicable laws, regulations, and ordinances so as not to interfere or cause interference with existing communications including, but not limited to, radios, televisions, computers, and the City’s or other public entity’s emergency broadcast systems.
J. Structures in Existence on the Date of Adoption of This Ordinance
2. Nonconforming Telecommunications Facilities
d. Notwithstanding other provisions of the Unified Development Ordinance denying modifications for nonconforming structures, minor/major modifications to telecommunications facilities and supporting structures must be allowed for the sole purpose of co-location of facilities.
3. Nonconforming Support Structures
c. Minor modifications may be made to nonconforming support structures to allow for co-location of telecommunications facilities. The minor modifications are permitted only upon the granting of administrative approval by the City Planner. Prior to the consideration of any minor modifications, the applicant must submit a letter or signed lease agreement with a telecommunications provider indicating intent to collocate.
d. Major modifications may be made to nonconforming support structures to allow for co-location of telecommunications facilities. The major modifications are permitted only if the Governing Body grants a special use permit. Prior to the consideration of any major modifications, the applicant must submit a letter or signed lease agreement with a telecommunications provider indicating intent to collocate.
e. Replacement of a nonconforming support structure is considered a major modification, and is permitted only if the Governing Body grants a special use permit. (Ord. 19-64 § 20, 2019; Ord. 17-01 § 3, 2017; Ord. 10-80 § 2, 2010)