STAFF REPORT Agenda Item #: 3a.

Agenda Item #: 3a.

Meeting Date: January 11, 2011

Report Date: January 6, 2011



CITY FILE NUMBER: Conditional Use Permit 2010-05, Clearwire LLC

OWNER/APPLICANT: Livingston True Value, Inc. Sunny Ausink

2400 Walnut Avenue 568 First Avenue, Suite 650

Livingston, CA 95334 Seattle, WA 98104

PROJECT LOCATION: 321 Second Street, Livingston, APN 024-114-018

PROPOSED ACTION: To adopt Resolution 2011-01, approving Conditional Use Permit 2010‑05 to allow a monopalm and antennas at 321 Second Street.

PREPARED BY: Donna M. Kenney, Community Development Director


Property Size: A 100 square foot lease area on a 17,007 square foot parcel

Existing Land Use: Retail store with outside storage and parking

General Plan Land Use

Designation: DC Downtown Commercial

Zoning: DTC Downtown Commercial

Street Access: Main Street, Second Street, alley

Adjacent General Plan Land Use/Zoning:

North: DC, Downtown Commercial / C-1, Central Commercial

South: DC, Downtown Commercial / DTC, Downtown Commercial

East: DC, Downtown Commercial / DTC, Downtown Commercial

West: DC, Downtown Commercial / DTC, Downtown Commercial


This project is a request for a Conditional Use Permit to allow a sixty (60) foot antenna tower and antennas at the True Value Hardware store pursuant to LMC 5-5-8 Table 12, Permit Requirements for Wireless Communication Facilities. The proposed tower is a “monopalm” and the three (3) panel antennas and three (3) dish antennas are hidden within its fronds. The project also contains one (1) equipment cabinet with one (1) GPS antenna within a new fence enclosure at grade on the north side of the existing True Value building. The applicant is requesting an additional ten (10) feet in height pursuant to LMC 5-5-8 (J) 4.


Pursuant to LMC 5-5-8, wireless communication facilities are permitted in the City’s industrial, commercial, and open space zoning districts. The True Value Hardware store parcel is zoned DTC, Downtown Commercial, a commercial zoning designation and, therefore, a permitted location. Below can be found Development Standards and Operation and Maintenance Standards for new towers.

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

1. 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 on the north side and adjacent to the existing store between Second and Main Streets with minimum sixty (60) foot setbacks to street rights-of-way. The applicant has submitted photo simulations (see attached “photosims”) of the monopalm 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 monopalm 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.

Besides a proposed six (6) foot tall chain link fence with beige vinyl slats and locked gate, the proposed equipment enclosure site is already surrounded by an existing six (6) foot tall chain link fence with locked gates and barbed wire.

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.

The True Value parcel does not abut residentially zoned parcels so has no required front or side setbacks. There are no public trails nearby. The monopalm is sixty (60) feet in height and proposes a sixty (60) foot setback for Second Street and an approximately two hundred thirty eight (238) foot setback to Main Street. The setback to the north property line which parallels the railroad tracks is required to be a minimum of twelve (12) feet and proposes a setback of approximately twenty-one (21) feet. Therefore, the proposed setbacks 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.

The maximum building height in the DTC zoning district is fifty (50) feet and the proposed monopalm is sixty (60) feet tall. As the designated Approving Authority for CUP 2010-05, the Planning Commission may grant a ten (10) foot exception to the height limit if reasonable alternatives do not exist to provide the necessary service. Clearwire is requesting a ten (10) foot exception to provide necessary service. 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

A manually-operated three hundred (300) watt quartz light with timer is proposed above the equipment shed door. The timer will ensure the light is turned off after personnel visits the site once per month for maintenance activities.

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

There is no lighting proposed for the monopalm itself, only for the equipment cabinet.

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. The north wall of the existing building has three security lights that shine down on the property. Sheet number D-1 notes the proposed facility lighting will be “…directed downward to the greatest extent possible to ensure that such light does not spill onto abutting properties.” No residential zoning district abuts this site. The closest residential use is approximately one hundred fifty (150) feet southwest of the proposed light and approximately one hundred thirty five (135) feet southwest of an existing security light.

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 of 24-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 no existing landscaping at the proposed facility location. As this parcel is located in the DTC zoning district, perimeter landscaping is not required or proposed. The proposed facility will include a new concrete pad with an existing building to the south and an existing asphalt driveway to the north. Gravel parking lot is located to the east and west of the proposed facility. Beige slats are proposed for screening. The north wall of the existing building is built at an angle, which also provides some screening from Main Street.

b. Street frontage. Along all street frontages abutting the subject parcel, trees shall be fast-growing evergreen species, a minimum of 24-inch box in size, planted no further apart on center than the mature diameter of the proposed species.

No new landscape areas are proposed for construction on Second or Main Streets.

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 monopalm is proposed to simulate other trees in the vicinity of Main 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 monopalm. A simple nameplate (Sheet D-1, Detail 8) is proposed for the cabinet.

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

The existing asphalt driveway adjacent to the proposed facility can accommodate four or more parked vehicles.

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

1. Noise. All wireless communication facilities shall comply with the City’s Noise Ordinance at all times. When facilities are located within 100 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 the fans used to cool the equipment cabinet and the nearest residential property is located over 100 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.

Staff has noted this on the Resolution as a Conditions of Approval.

This project was routed to city staff and outside agencies for comments. None were received. Upon analysis, staff has determined that this project is consistent with the 1999 General Plan and 2025 General Plan Update, Zoning Code and Livingston Design Guide.


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.

Pursuant to LMC 5-5-8, wireless communication facilities are permitted in the City’s industrial, commercial, and open space zoning districts. The general plan designation for the site is Downtown Commercial and the zoning of Downtown Commercial (DTC) 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 monopalm is attractive and of a high quality design for a tower. It enhances the image of the City with a palm tree design instead of a stark lattice 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 024-114-018 is located within Livingston city limits. The parcel at 17,007 square feet is a little less than .4 acre, which is 17,424 square feet. The parcel is surrounded by the following urban uses: railroad tracks, gas station and used car lot to the north; shopping center to the east; retail stores to the south; and residential uses to the west.

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

The project site is an existing retail store with outdoor storage and parking. It has no value as animal or plant habitat because the entire site is covered by building, asphalt and gravel 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 existing gates just north of the northbound stop sign on Second Street at Front Street.

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

The proposed facility is on an existing retail site currently served by all utilities and services.


Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt Resolution 2011-__, approving Conditional Use Permit 2010-05, to allow a new monopalm with three (3) panel and three (3) dish antennas including a fenced cabinet and one (1) GPS antenna at the True Value Hardware store, thereby granting an additional ten (10) feet in height to the project.


1. Resolution 2011-__

2. Site Plan and Elevations

3. Photosims

4. Operational Narrative


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