Clearwire Antenna Project: Staff Report, Site Plans & Elevations, Draft Resolution

STAFF REPORT

AGENDA ITEM: Resolution Conditionally Approving Site Plan/Design Review 2010-06 for the Clearwire Antenna Project.

MEETING DATE: September 7, 2010

PREPARED BY: Donna M. Kenney, Community Development Director

REVIEWED BY: Richard N. Warne, City Manager

RECOMMENDATION:

Adopt Resolution conditionally approving Site Plan/Design Review 2010-06 for the Clearwire Antenna Project.

BACKGROUND:

Prior to August 16, 2005, the Livingston Municipal Code (“LMC”) required a Conditional Use Permit (“CUP”) for “radio towers.” The 195-foot lattice tower currently in place in the City was approved in 1996 by CUP 96-02, which was later modified in 1998 by Special Consideration 98‑04 to allow additional antennas. From 1998 to 2005, the Planning Commission approved a series of CUPs to allow the co-location of panel and dish antennas by various carriers at various heights on this tower. All are connected to equipment cabinets on the ground by cables.

LMC Section 5-5-8, adopted August 16, 2005, requires the co-location of antennas on a tower to receive Site Plan/Design Review approval by the Planning Commission and City Council instead of a CUP. Several companies have applied and received this approval between 2005 and 2010. Additionally, LMC Section 5-5-8 (F) 5 allows City staff to approve minor modifications to the site plan, provided there is little or no change in the visual appearance of the site. In the recent past, Staff has approved minor changes like the replacement of an existing 2‑foot dish with a new 3-foot dish. However, Clearwire’s proposal includes five (5) new panel antennas and a new cabinet on the ground. Therefore, staff determined that the Project requires Site Plan/Design Review. The Planning Commission, at their regular meeting of August 10, 2010 voted 4-1 to recommend approval to the City Council.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

The applicant, Clearwire is proposing to install five (5) new panel antennas at the 165-foot elevation of the existing 195’ lattice tower (the “Project”). Installation of the antennas will allow Clearwire to provide better high-speed wireless access to the City. The panel type antennas would measure approximately two (2) feet in height. Building and electrical permits are required by the Building Department if the City Council approves the Project.

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION:

The lattice tower property measures approximately 50’ by 50’ for a total of 2,450 square feet, is surrounded by a six-foot high chain link fence with one 12-foot wide chain link access gate, and contains an equipment pad, lattice tower, generator, equipment racks, L.P. tank, and various equipment shelters. The Project site is located at the rear of an existing mini-storage facility.

PROJECT ANALYSIS/DISCUSSION:

The lattice tower is visible from Highway 99 and throughout the northeastern portion of the City, including the Walnut Sports Complex site. The addition of the new antennas will be visible but will have minimal impact on the overall appearance of the existing structure.

ENVIRONMENTAL STATUS:

The Project is categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) under Section 15301, Existing Facilities, which allows minor changes to existing structures. A Notice of Exemption will be filed with the Merced County Clerk within 5 days of Project approval.

FISCAL IMPACT:

Permit fees.

ATTACHMENTS:

1. Planning Commission Resolution 2010-07

2. City Council Resolution 2010-__ (See below)

3. Site Plans

4. Photosims

RESOLUTION 2010-

RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON

APPROVING SITE PLAN/DESIGN REVIEW 2010-06

FOR THE CLEARWIRE ANTENNA PROJECT

WHEREAS, Clearwire submitted Site Plan/Design Review application 2010-06 to install five (5) new panel antennas to be collocated on an existing lattice tower at 2370 Walnut Avenue (047-200-025); and

WHEREAS, Staff has reviewed the plans and elevations with reference to the Livingston Municipal Code and the adopted Livingston Design Guide; and

WHEREAS, the project is exempt from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements pursuant to Section 15301 Existing Facilities.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council hereby adopts Resolution 2010-__, approving Site Plan/Design Review 2010-06 for Clearwire based on the following facts:

  1. The Project is consistent with its General Plan land use designation of LI, Limited Industrial because General Plan Objective 3.4(A) promotes industrial sites which are functional, have adequate public services, and have access to major streets and railroads. The lattice tower and antennas are currently functional and this upgrade and addition of antennas will improve their functionality, and allow Clearwire to provide adequate electrical services to serve the site, and broadband access to the public. In addition, the site has access to Walnut Avenue, which is a major street in the City.
  2. The Project is located in an M-1 Limited Industrial zoning district and is similar in nature and operation to other uses in that zone and compatible with surrounding uses in the area. Additionally, the addition of the antennas will not change the nature and operation of the use because they are similar in operation and compatible with the existing antennas on the lattice tower.
  3. The Project is a temporary use of the property and will not permanently change the physical attributes of the property, as the entire structure could be removed if future technology makes it obsolete. The replacement and additional antennas are on an existing tower.
  4. The Project will not have adverse visual impacts because the addition of the antennas will have minimal impact on the overall appearance of the existing structure.
  5. The Project is Categorically Exempt under CEQA, Section 15301 (a), Existing Facilities because it is the replacement and addition of new antennas on an existing lattice tower.
  6. That a notice of public hearing was properly prepared, posted at the City’s normal posting sites, published in the Livingston Chronicle on August 25, 2010, and mailed to adjacent property owners within 300 feet of the site in accordance with State law.
  7. That a public hearing to consider the Project was held on August 10, 2010, and all written and oral testimony presented to the Planning Commission was considered by the Planning Commission prior to their recommendation of Project approval to the City Council.
  8. That a second public hearing to consider the project was held on September 7, 2010, and all written and oral testimony presented to the City Council was considered by the City Council prior to any decision, including the Planning Commission’s recommendation.
  9. That the Project, subject to conditions, will meet all City requirements, standards, and specifications including design, parking, landscaping, fencing, signage, and zoning.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council hereby adopts Resolution 2010-__, approving Site Plan/Design Review 2010-06 for Clearwire with the conditions listed below:

  1. Development shall proceed and be completed so as to be substantially in accordance with the site plan and elevations received by the Livingston Planning Department on July 8, 2010, except as modified by the conditions contained in this resolution.
  2. Pursuant to Livingston Municipal Code Section 5-1-3 (F), if an applicant shall fail to take substantive action (i.e. apply for a building permit) with the City within twenty-four (24) months of site plan approval to advance in the process, the approval shall be deemed withdrawn; provided, however, that no approval shall be deemed withdrawn if the applicant is incapable of advancing its project due to any statutory or other legal requirement.

Passed and adopted this 7th day of September 2010, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT:

ABSTAIN:

_______________________

Daniel Varela, Sr., Mayor

of the City of Livingston

ATTEST:

I, hereby certify that the foregoing Resolution was regularly introduced, passed, and adopted at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Livingston, this 7th day of September 2010.

______________________________

Donna Barnes, City Clerk

of the City of Livingston

 

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