Streetsboro council tries to limit cell towers

By Heather Condley Record-Courier staff writer Published:

STREETSBORO - In an effort to limit the number of cellular communications towers springing up within the city, officials are considering legislation creating stricter requirements for companies wishing to erect towers. The measure will allow cellular towers as a conditional use and will require companies to submit a plot plan that includes all building uses within 500 feet, build a security fence eight-feet high with barbed-wire around the top, and submit soil reports. The location of the tower also must comply with natural resource protection standards, including flood plain, wetlands and steep slope regulations. The legislation will also require companies to submit a report prepared by a professional engineer that includes the height, design, proof of compliance with nationally-accepted structural standards and the number and types of antennas it can accommodate. The ordinance has already been to council for it's first two hearings and has now been through two public hearings, the first on Dec. 15 and the most recent on Monday. At Monday's hearing, a representative from LCC International praised the regulations, but asked council to reconsider some of the stipulations that may put a hardship on cellular companies _ requirements which state companies must submit soil reports and an engineer's report to obtain a conditional-use permit. "I think (these sections) are excellent, but usually aren't included in zoning permits," said Sean Gilley, a zoning specialist with the company. "This is very costly and is done usually for a building permit. Soil reports can run upwards of $5,000, which is costly if we're denied. We like to do these things after we know we have the permit." Gilley said his company is considering building a tower in Streetsboro. In addition to the general requirements, the legislation would spell out some more specific requirements for towers in residential areas as well as non-residential districts, including maximum heights. The legislation's also restricts the lighting on the towers, advertising on the facility and the color the tower may be painted. City officials are also hoping the ordinance will encouraging collocation, which is use of a tower by more than one company. The measure stipulates the applicant must prove there is no other place available to erect an antenna on an existing tower or structure in the service area. A list of every tower building or structure that could potentially support a new antenna will be provided at the time of application. Streetsboro's Planning Commission recently tabled a conditional-use permit for a 250-foot Sprint Communication tower and suggested they apply to collocate, which they say they have. A representative from the company said they have applied to AT&T, which has a tower in the area, but haven't been able to reach an agreement with them. Commission members also asked the company if they would be willing to increase the height of the tower to 300 feet, enabling other companies to collocate on their tower, but representatives said the cost to increase the height is quite significant. To obtain a permit, Sprint will have to re-appear before the Planning Commission. The ordinance is scheduled go to council for a final hearing on Jan. 26.

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