Staff Report/Resolution Cell Phone Tower Project at Livingston High School

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Agenda Item #:5a.

Meeting Date: August 9, 2011

Report Date: August 5, 2011

CITY OF LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION STAFF REPORT

CITY FILE NUMBER: Conditional Use Permit 2011-01 for Vista Towers and Merced Union High School District.

OWNER/APPLICANT: Merced Union High School District (MUHSD) 161 7 Main Street Livingston, CA 95334

Misako Hill Vista Towers 1075 45th Street Emeryville, CA 94608

PROJECT LOCATION: Livingston High School Football Field, MUHSD, 1617 Main Street, Livingston, APN 024-230-004

PROPOSED ACTION:  Approve Conditional Use Permit 2011-01 to allow an eighty-five (85) foot monopine tower, four sets/levels of antennas and associated ground facilities.

PREPARED BY:  Donna M. Kenney, Community Development Director

**********************

Property Size: Existing  APN 024-230-004 = 785,136 square feet, Tower lease area= 2,260 square feet

Land Use: General Plan  Football field with light standards, parking lot, and additional school facilities to the south of the proposed tower site.

Land Use Designation:   Public Facility

Zoning:  PF Public/Quasi-Public Facilities

Street Access:  Park Street and 5th Street

Adjacent General Plan Land Use- Zoning:

North: Low Density Residential and Public Facility-R-1, Low Density Residential and PF, Public/Quasi-Public Facilities

South: Public Facility- PF, Public/Quasi-Public Facilities

East: Low Density Residential – R-1, Low Density Residential

West: Park/Open Space – 0, Open Space

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

This project is a request by MUHSD and Vista Towers for a Conditional Use Permit to allow an eighty-five (85) foot antenna tower and antennas at the high school football field parking lot pursuant to LMC 5-5-8 Table 12, Permit Requirements for Wireless Communication Facilities. The proposed tower is a "monopine" with four (4) sets/levels of panel antennas, with the highest set located at the eighty (80) foot level. The project also contains equipment cabinets and GPS antennas within a new walled enclosure at grade at the northwest corner of the parcel, adjacent to Alvernaz Field. The antennas will support both voice (phone calls) and data (internet) from various carriers.

BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION:

Pursuant to LMC 5-5-8 C, wireless communication facilities are permitted in the City’s industrial, commercial, and open space zoning districts. Preference includes installation/co-location on City-owned property where inconspicuous to public view and when from residential areas. This site is located at the Livingston High School football field on property owned by MUHSD and is zoned PF, Public/Quasi­ Public Facilities. A Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is required in a PF zoning district by LMC 5-5-8, Table 12. Please find below the Development Standards and Operation and Maintenance Standards for new towers:

Development Standards for Towers (5-5-8 J):

I. Site Design. All facilities (including related equipment) shall be designed to minimize the visual impact to the greatest extent feasible, considering technological requirements, by means of placement, screening camouflage, to be compatible with existing architectural elements, landscape elements, and other site characteristics. The applicant shall use the smallest and least visible antennas possible to accomplish the owner/operator’s coverage objective. A visual impact analysis is required to demonstrate how the proposed facility will appear from public rights-of-way (including public trails). The tower is proposed to be placed to the northwest of the football field, adjacent to Alvernaz Field on Park Street at 511 Street. The applicant has submitted photo simulations (Attachment 3) of the monopine to demonstrate how the proposed facility will appear post construction from public rights-of way. In addition, the Livingston Design Guide (page 14) directs staff to encourage the undergrounding of utility equipment to screen from public view and preserve site aesthetics along main corridors per 1999 General Plan and 2025 General Plan Update Policy 7.1.A.2. All utilities that service the monopine shall be undergrounded.

2. Safety Design. All facilities shall be designed so as to be resistant to and minimize opportunities for unauthorized access, climbing, vandalism, graffiti, and other conditions which would result in hazardous conditions, visual blight, or attractive nuisances.

A proposed seven (7) foot tall split face block wall and locked gate is proposed to be painted to match existing school buildings and screened with vines and shrubs. New fencing and walls will be connected to existing fencing to prevent unauthorized access along the sides. Two motion sensor lights will be mounted at the southwest and southeast corners of the facility, directed down towards the football field for additional security.

3. Location. Towers shall not be located in any required front or side yard in any zoning district. The setback distance from any abutting street right-of-way, residential property line, or public trail shall be equal to the height of the facility (tower and related equipment). Otherwise the minimum setback distance from all other property lines shall be at least equal to 20 percent of the height of the tower. DTC zoned parcels that do not abut a residentially zoned parcel do not have any required front and side yards.

There are no yard requirements for the PF zoning district. The MUHSD parcel does not abut residentially zoned parcels or a public trail but there is residential housing across Park Street to the north and across 7’h Street to the east. The monopine is eighty-five (85) feet in height and proposes an approximately eighty-six (86) foot setback to the Park Street right-of way and an approximately six hundred thirty-four {634) foot setback to the 7th Street right-of way. The distance from the tower to the south property line at Peach Avenue right-of way is approximately 1,224 feet. The 20 percent setback to the Alvernaz Field property line is required to be a minimum of seventeen (17) feet and the project proposes a setback of approximately thirty-six (36) feet. Therefore, the proposed tower setback comply with zoning code requirements.

4. Height limit. The height limit for towers shall be consistent with the maximum building height of the zoning district of the subject parcel. Exceptions to the height limit may be granted when the designated Approving Authority finds that reasonable alternatives do not exist to provide the necessary service. There is no height limit specified for co-locations on existing structures, provided facilities are screened from view of abutting streets right-of-way or camouflaged by matching the color(s) and/or material(s) of the structure to which it is attached.

There is no maximum building height in the PF zoning district and the proposed monopine is eighty:five (85) feet tall. This is not a co-location project.

5. Lighting. Towers and related equipment shall be unlit except as provided below:

a. A manually-operated or motion-detector controlled light above the equipment shed door may be provided, except that the light shall remain off except when personnel are present at night; and

Two motion sensor lights are proposed at the southwest and southeast corners of the facility wall, directed down and towards the football field for security purposes. In addition, there will be one (1) motion-detector controlled light above each equipment shed door for a total of six (6) lights on site.

b. The minimum tower lighting required under FAA regulations; and

There is no lighting proposed for the monopine itself

c. Where tower lighting is required, said lighting shall be shielded or directed downward to the greatest extent possible to ensure that such light does not spill over onto abutting properties, especially residential zoning districts or uses.

There is no required tower lighting. No residential zoning district abuts the site. The closest residential use is across Park Street at 5th Street.

6. Landscape. Where appropriate, facilities shall be installed so as to maintain and enhance existing landscaping on the site, including trees, foliage and shrubs, whether or not utilized for screening. Additional landscaping shall be planted around the tower and related equipment and along street frontages to buffer abutting residential zoning districts or uses, and to buffer public trails in accordance with the following standards:

a. Perimeter of facility. Landscaping around the perimeter of the facility shall include dense tree and shrub plantings with necessary irrigation. Wireless communication facilities shall be developed with an immediate landscape screen. Trees shall be fast-growing evergreen species, a minimum of24-inch box in size. Shrubs shall be a minimum 15-gallon size covering a minimum planter area depth of five feet around the facility. Trees and shrubs shall be planted no further apart on center than the mature diameter of the proposed species.

There is existing landscaping at the proposed facility location which consists of a line of small trees on the west property line, directly to the south of the proposed facility and a line of taller trees along Park Street, west of the project site. Staff will work with the applicant to determine the appropriate shrubbery and vines to screen the site upon submittal of landscape plans.

b. Street frontage. Along all street frontages abutting the subject parcel, trees shall be fast-growing evergreen species, a minimum of24-inch box in size, planted no further apart on center than the mature diameter of the proposed species.

A 24-inch box tree is proposed to be located between the facility and Park Street. Staff will work with the applicant to determine the appropriate tree species for this location.

c. Buffer to residential zoning districts or uses and public trails. Along the entire length of all residential property lines and public trails abutting the subject parcel, 24-inch box, fast-growing evergreen trees shall be planted no further apart on center than the mature diameter of the proposed species. Additionally, shrub planting along public trails shall be a minimum five-gallon size and species shall be consistent with the native or other plantings along the trail in that same area.

No residential zoning district or public trail abuts the subject property.

7. Design/finish. The tower and related equipment shall have subdued colors and non-reflective materials that blend with the colors and materials of surrounding areas. When located on a parcel abutting a designated scenic corridor in the City, the tower shall be designed to simulate a tree of similar species to other trees in the immediate area.

A monopine is proposed to simulate other trees in the vicinity of Park Street.

8. Advertising. The tower and related equipment shall not bear any signs or advertising devices other than certification, warning or other required seals or signs.

No signage is proposed for the monopine.

9. Parking. The off-street parking for wireless communication facilities shall be determined by the designated Approving Authority in conjunction with required development permits.

A proposed fifteen (15) foot wide driveway easement from Park Street to the gates of the tower facility is proposed. A crushed stone parking area is proposed within the lease area, behind the gate.

Operation and Maintenance Standards (LMC 5-5-8 K):

I. Noise. All wireless communication facilities shall comply with the City’s Noise Ordinance at all times. When facilities are located within I 00 feet of any residential property, a noise analysis shall be required to ensure that all proposed equipment either complies with or employs noise attenuation measures in compliance with the City’s maximum noise level standards. Back-up generators shall only be operated during power outages and for testing and maintenance purposes.

The only noise emitted from this facility will be from a stand-by generator (Model #SD030 or model with an equal to or less than noise rating) to be used during power outages. The nearest residential property is located over I 00 feet from the proposed facility. Therefore, a noise analysis is not required.

2. Non-ionizing Electromagnetic Radiation (NIER) exposure. No wireless communication facility shall be sited or operated in such a manner that it poses, either by itself or in combination with other such facilities, a potential threat to public health. To this end, no facility or combination of facilities shall produce, at any time, power densities in any inhabited area that exceed the FCC’s Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limits for electric and magnetic field strength and power density for transmitters or any more restrictive standard subsequently adopted or promulgated by the City, County, State, or the Federal government. To ensure compliance, an RF (radio-frequency) testing report shall be submitted to the PIP Director for all proposed facilities after the initial installation and operation, every five years thereafter, and any time the MPE limits are modified to demonstrate facility compliance with government safety standards.

This is on the Resolution as a Condition of Approval.

The project was routed for comments and the only one received concerns the type of landscaping plants. Upon staff analysis, this project is consistent with the 1999 General Plan and 2025 General Plan Update, Zoning Code and Livingston Design Guide.

Conditional Use Permit:

LMC 5-5-8 Table 12 requires a Conditional Use Permit for a new tower in the Public Facility ("PF") zoning district. The following findings of fact apply:

a. The site for the proposed use is adequate in size and shape to accommodate said use and all yards, spaces, walls and fences, parking, loading, landscaping, and other features required by the zoning code. The proposed facility is located adjacent to high school facilities and a park and is able to meet all required setbacks and other features required by the zoning code.

b. The site for the proposed use is served by streets and highways adequate to carry the quantity and kind of traffic generated by the proposed use. The site provides a gate and driveway access just south of 5th Street at Park Street for occasional employees to enter for maintenance purposes.

c. Public facilities are currently adequate to serve the proposed use or improvements are included in an approved Capital Improvement Plan or otherwise will be complete prior to the issuance of building permits. The site was previously developed with high school facilities and parking. All utilities and public facilities are currently available.

d. The proposed development is consistent with the General Plan.

1999 General Plan and 2025 General Plan Update Policy 7.3 Objective A ensures that all commercial and public development projects are attractive, of high quality design, and enhance the image of the City. The proposed monopine tower is attractive and of a high quality design for a tower.

e. The height limit for towers shall be consistent with the maximum building height of the zoning district of the subject parcel. Exceptions to the height limit may be granted when the designated Approving Authority finds that reasonable alternatives do not exist to provide the necessary service. There is no maximum building height in the PF zoning district and the proposed monopine is eighty-jive (85) feet tall.

ENVIRONMENTAL STATUS:

The proposed project is categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) under Section 15332 In-Fill Development Projects and a Notice of Exemption will be filed with the Merced County Clerk within five (5) days if the project is approved. Class 32 consists of projects characterized as infill development which meets the following conditions:

a. The project is consistent with the applicable general plan designation and all applicable general plan policies as well as with applicable zoning designation and regulations.

Pursuant to LMC 5-5 Table 12, Permit Requirements for Wireless Communication Facilities, a new tower in the Public/Quasi-Public Facilities zoning district requires a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The general plan designation for the proposed tower site is Public Facilities and the zoning of Public/Quasi-Public Facilities (PF) is consistent with the general plan designation. The site therefore, is a conditionally permitted location. 1999 General Plan and 2025 General Plan Update Policy 7.3 Objective A ensures that all commercial and public development projects are

attractive, of high quality design, and enhance the image of the City. The proposed monopine is attractive and of a high quality design for a tower.

b. The proposed development occurs within city limits on a project site of no more than five acres substantially surrounded by urban uses.

APN 024-230-004 is located within Livingston city limits. The parcel at 785,136 square feet is a little more than 18 acres but the lease area, the project site itself, is approximately 2,260 square feet, less than jive (5) acres ( 05 acre). The parcel is substantially surrounded by the following urban uses: Park Street and residential housing to the north; 711 Street and residential housing to the east; high school facilities to the south and southwest; and Memorial Park to the west.

c. The project site has no value as habitat for endangered, rare, or threatened species.

The project site is an existing unimproved football field parking lot that is used for football games and practice as well as other high school functions like graduation ceremonies. It has no value as animal or plant habitat because the entire site is covered by mowed grass and is surrounded by urban uses.

d. Approval of the project would not result in any significant effects relating to traffic, noise, air quality or water quality.

As this is an unoccupied wireless facility with occasional employee visits for maintenance purposes only, there should be no significant impacts associated with traffic, noise, air quality or water quality. Employee access to the facility is through proposed gates near Park Street, on the north side of the proposed facility.

e. The site can be adequately served by all required utilities and public services.

The proposed.facility is on a developed high school parcel currently served by all utilities and services.

NECESSARY ACTION:

That the Planning Commission adopt Resolution 2011-_, approving Conditional Use Permit 2011-01, to allow a new eighty-five (85) foot monopine tower with four (4) sets/levels of panel antennas, including equipment cabinets and GPS antennas within a new walled enclosure at grade at the northwest corner of the parcel, adjacent to Alveraz Field.

ATTACHMENTS:

I. Resolution 2011-_, a Resolution Approving CUP 2011-01

2. Site Plans and Elevations {If you want to look at the Site Plans and Elevations, CLICK HERE and go to pages 31-33}

3. Photosims  {If you want to look at the Site Plans and Elevations, CLICK HERE and go to pages 34-37}

RESOLUTION 2011-_

RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON APPROVING CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT 2011-01

FOR VISTA TOWERS AND MUHSD

WHEREAS, Vista Towers and Merced Union High School District ("MUHSD") submitted a Conditional Use Permit application ("CUP") to allow an eighty-five (85) foot monopine tower and four levels/sets of antennas at the MUHSD football field at 1617 Main Street (024-230-004) (the "Project"); and

WHEREAS, the Project plans have been reviewed with reference to the 1999 General Plan, the 2025 General Plan, the Zoning Code and the adopted Livingston Design Guide; and

WHEREAS, the Project has been properly noticed by posting, a newspaper ad and a mailing to adjacent properties within 300 feet of the site; and

WHEREAS, the proposed project is categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") under Section 15332 In-Fill Development Projects and a Notice of Exemption will be filed with the Merced County Clerk within five (5) days of project approval. Class 32 consists of projects characterized as infill development which meets the following conditions:

a. The project is consistent with the applicable general plan designation and all applicable general plan policies as well as with applicable zoning designation and regulations.

The proposed site is zoned Public/Quasi-Public Facilities ("PF"). Pursuant to LMC 5-5-8

Table 12, wireless communication facilities in the PF zoning district require a Conditional Use Permit ("CUP"). The general plan designation for the site is Public Facility and the zoning of PF is consistent with the general plan designation. The site therefore, is a permitted location. 1999 General Plan and 2025 General Plan Update Policy 7.3

Objective A ensures that all commercial and public development projects are attractive, of high quality design, and enhance the image of the City. The proposed monopine tower is attractive and of a high quality design for a tower.

b. The proposed development occurs within city limits on a project site of no more than five acres substantially surrounded by urban uses. APN 024-230-004 is located within Livingston city limits. The parcel at 785,136 square feet is a little less than 18 acres but the Project site itself is 2,260 square feet or approximately 1/20th of an acre, far less than five (5) acres. The parcel is surrounded by the following urban uses: Park Street and residential housing to the north; 71 Street and residential housing to the east; high school facilities to the south; and Memorial Park and high school facilities to the west.

c. The project site has no value as habitat for endangered, rare, or threatened species.

The project site is an existing football field parking lot. It has no value as animal or plant habitat because the entire site is covered by mowed grass and is surrounded by urban uses.

d. Approval of the project would not result in any significant effects relating to traffic, noise, air quality or water quality. As this is an unoccupied wireless facility with occasional employee visits for maintenance purposes only, there should be no significant impacts associated with traffic, noise, air quality or water quality. Employee access to the proposed facility is through gates just south of 5th Street and Park Street.

e. The site can be adequately served by all required utilities and public services. The proposed facility is on an existing MUHSD site currently served by all utilities and services.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Planning Commission adopts Resolution

2011-_, approving Conditional Use Permit 2011-01 for the Project, based on the following findings of fact:

a. The site for the proposed use is adequate in size and shape to accommodate said use and all yards, spaces, walls and fences, parking, loading, landscaping, and other features required by the zoning code. The proposed facility is located adjacent to high school facilities and a park and is able to meet all required setbacks and other features required by the zoning code.

b. The site for the proposed use is served by streets and highways adequate to carry the quantity and kind of traffic generated by the proposed use. The site provides a gate and driveway access just south of 5th Street at Park Street for occasional employees to enter for maintenance purposes.

c. Public facilities are currently adequate to serve the proposed use or improvements are included in an approved Capitol Improvement Plan or otherwise will be complete prior to the issuance of building permits. The site was previously developed with high school facilities and parking. All utilities and public facilities are currently available.

d. The proposed development is consistent with the General Plan. 1999 General Plan and 2025 General Plan Update Policy 7.3 Objective A ensures that all commercial and public development projects are attractive, of high quality design, and enhance the image of the City. The proposed monopine tower is attractive and of a high quality design for a tower.

e. The height limit for towers shall be consistent with the maximum building height of the zoning district of the subject parcel Exceptions to the height limit may be granted when the designated Approving Authority finds that reasonable alternatives do not exist to provide the necessary service. There is no maximum building height in the PF zoning district and the proposed monopalm is eighty-five (85) feet tall

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Livingston Planning Commission adopts Resolution

2011-_, approving Conditional Use Permit 2011-01 based on the following condition:

a. Pursuant to LMC 5-5-8 (K) 2, no wireless communication facility shall be sited or operated in such a manner that it poses, either by itself or in combination with other such facilities, a potential threat to public health. To this end, no facility or combination of facilities shall produce, at any time, power densities in any inhabited area that exceed the FCC’s Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limits for electric and magnetic field strength and power density for transmitters or any more restrictive standard subsequently adopted or promulgated by the City, County, State, or the Federal government. To ensure compliance, an RF (radio-frequency) testing report shall be submitted to the PIP Director for all proposed facilities after the initial installation and operation, every five years thereafter, and any time the MPE limits are modified to demonstrate facility compliance with government safety standards.

The foregoing resolution was introduced and moved for adoption on August 9, 2011, by Commissioner , and being duly seconded by Commissioner _ was passed by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT:

ATTEST:

Chair, LUIS ENRIQUE FLORES Secretary of the Planning Commission, DONNA M. KENNEY

 

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