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County Council ZTA 02-03
||Ordinance No: 14-65
Zoning Text Amendment No: 02-03
Concerning: Telecommunications Facilities
Draft No. & Date: 2 - 10/29/02
Introduced: March 5, 2002
Public Hearing: April 9, 2002; 1:30 PM
Adopted: October 29, 2002
Effective: November 18, 2002
COUNTY COUNCIL FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
SITTING AS THE DISTRICT COUNCIL FOR THAT PORTION OF
THE MARYLAND-WASHINGTON REGIONAL DISTRICT WITHIN
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Councilmember Praisner
|AN AMENDMENT to the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance
for the purpose of:
(1) revising the standards for the grant of a telecommunication
(2) generally amending the standards for the grant of a telecommunication
By amending the following section of the Montgomery County Zoning
Ordinance, Chapter 59 of the Montgomery County Code:
||"USES PERMITTED IN MORE THAN ONE CLASS
||"Antenna for a private telecommunication
facility mounted on a
rooftop or structure located on privately owned land"
| DIVISION 59-G-2
||"SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS-STANDARDS AND
|| Boldface indicates a heading or a defined
Underlining indicates text that is added to existing
by the original text amendment.
[Single boldface brackets] indicate text that is deleted
existing law by the original text amendment.
Double underlining indicates text that is added
to the text
amendment by amendment.
[[Double boldface brackets]] indicate text that is deleted
from the text amendment by amendment.
* * * indicates existing law unaffected by the text
Zoning Text Amendment No. 02-03 was introduced on March 5, 2002.
The ZTA as introduced would increase residential protections by
establishing a maximum height for a support structure and encouraging
a support structure design that is compatible with the environment.
Due to concerns that have been raised over the potential for an
excessive number of telecommunication facilities being constructed
on a lot or parcel, the ZTA would prevent any telecommunication
facility from locating within 1,500 feet of another telecommunication
facility, unless a closer proximity is required for service. The
ZTA is intended to further previous efforts to put in place clear
and effective zoning regulations to control telecommunication facilities
and balance the need for these facilities with community concerns.
The Montgomery County Planning Board in its report to the Council
recommended that the text amendment be approved with revisions.
The County Council held a public hearing on April 9, 2002, to
receive testimony concerning the proposed text amendment. The text
amendment was referred to the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development
Committee for review and recommendation.
The Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee held
worksessions on July 8, September 30 and October 14, 2002 to review
Zoning Text Amendment 02-03. The Committee fully discussed the issues
raised by industry and community representatives. Important elements
of the ZTA, as recommended by the Committee include: (1) clarification
that the size of a leased parcel for construction of a telecommunication
tower is not required to be the minimum area required for the zone,
(2) a maximum telecommunication tower height of 199 feet, and (3)
tower siting and design requirements to achieve compatibility with
the residential community.
Under current law, the wireless and the radio/television transmitting
towers are subject to the same zoning regulations. The Committee
identified several confusing zoning elements that pertain to wireless
and to radio/television broadcast facilities that need to be addressed
and clarified. The Committee recommends that a comprehensive review
of the zoning requirements for self-supporting broadcast towers
be undertaken to determine whether any different zoning requirements
unique to a broadcast tower should be enacted. The Committee also
recommended that the proposed separation restriction of 1,500 feet
between telecommunication towers, not be implemented at this time,
but set aside and taken-up in connection with the review of self-supporting
broadcast towers. The same zoning requirements will continue to
apply to both types of towers, until definitional changes and revisions
to clarify the differences between radio and television towers,
and towers for personal service are implemented.
The District Council reviewed Zoning Text Amendment No. 02-03
at a worksession held on October 29, 2002, and agreed with the recommendations
of the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee.
For these reasons and because to approve this amendment will assist
in the coordinated, comprehensive, adjusted and systematic development
of the Maryland-Washington Regional District located in Montgomery
County, Zoning Text Amendment No. 02-03 will be approved as amended.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland, sitting as
the District Council for that portion of the Maryland-Washington
Regional District in Montgomery County, Maryland, approves the following
|Sec. 1. Division 59-A-6 is amended as follows:
DIVISION 59-A-6. USES PERMITTED IN MORE THAN ONE CLASS OF ZONE.
* * *
|Sec. 59-A-6.14. Antenna for a private telecommunication
facility mounted on a rooftop or structure located on privately owned
(a) An antenna and a related unmanned equipment building or cabinet
may be installed on a rooftop as a matter of right if [[it meets]]
the following standards are met.
(1) The building must be at least 30 feet in height in any multi-family,
commercial or industrial zone.
(2) The building must be greater than 50 feet in height in any one-family
residential zone. However, a rooftop telecommunication antenna is
not permitted on a one-family residence or a building or structure
accessory to a one-family residence.
(3) An antenna may be mounted on the facade of the building at a
height of at least 30 feet in a multi-family, commercial, or industrial
zone, and at a height greater than 50 feet in a one-family residential
zone. However, a telecommunication antenna must not be mounted on
the facade of a one-family residence or a building or structure
accessory to a one-family residence.
(4) An unmanned equipment building or cabinet must not exceed 560
square feet and 12 feet in height or 14 feet in height for a roof
top structure, including the support structure for the equipment
building, except that a single equipment building in excess of 560
square feet, located at ground level, may be used for more than
one telecommunication provider, if:
(i) the overall square footage does not exceed 1500 square feet
and 12 feet in height,
(ii) the building is used for more than one telecommunication
provider operating from the same monopole or tower, and
(iii) the building is reviewed by the Telecommunications Transmission
Facility Coordinating Group in accordance with Sec. 2-58E of the
If the equipment building or cabinet is at ground level in a residential
zone, the building or cabinet must be faced with brick or other
suitable material on all sides and surrounded by landscaping providing
a screen of at least 3 feet in height, and must conform to the
[[applicable]] setback standards of the applicable zone.
(5) If the equipment building is located on the roof of a building,
the equipment building or cabinet and other structure, in combination
with any other equipment building and structure, must not occupy
more than 25% of the roof area.
(b) In addition to a rooftop, an antenna may be attached as a
matter of right to an existing structure on privately owned land,
including but not limited to a radio, television, or telephone
transmission tower, a monopole, a light pole, a water tank, or
an overhead transmission line support structure. An equipment
building located on such a structure is subject to the requirements
of subsection (a)(4). A structure constructed for the support
of: (1) an antenna that is part of an amateur radio station licensed
by the Federal Communications Commission, or (2) an antenna to
receive television imaging in the home, may not be used as a support
structure for any other antenna.
|Sec. 2. Division 59-G-2 is amended as follows:
DIVISION 59-G-2. SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS-STANDARDS AND REQUIREMENTS.
* * *
59-G-2.43. Public utility buildings, public utility structures and
|(j) Any telecommunication facility must satisfy the
[(1) The minimum parcel or lot area must be sufficient to accommodate
the location requirements for the support structure under paragraph
(2), excluding the antenna(s), but not less than the lot area required
in the zone. The location requirement is measured from the base
of the support structure to the property line. The Board of Appeals
may reduce the location requirement to not less than the building
setback of the applicable zone if the applicant requests a reduction
and evidence indicates that a support structure can be located on
the property in a less visually unobtrusive location after considering
the height of the structure, topography, existing vegetation, adjoining
and nearby residential properties, if any, and visibility from the
[(2)](1)[[A telecommunication facility, including support structure
and antenna, must not be within 1,500 feet of another telecommunication
facility, unless a closer proximity is required for service.]] A
support structure must be [located] set back from the property line
a. In agricultural and residential zones, a distance of one foot
from the property line for every foot of height of the support
b. In commercial and industrial zones, a distance of one-half
foot from property line for every foot of height of the support
structure from a property line separating the subject site from
commercial or industrial zoned properties, and one foot for every
foot of height of the support structure from residential or agricultural
c. [These location requirements apply to perimeter lot lines and
not to interior lot lines.] The setback from a property line is
measured from the base of the support structure to the perimeter
d. The Board of Appeals may reduce the setback requirement to
not less than the building setback of the applicable zone if the
applicant requests a reduction and evidence indicates that a support
structure can be located on the property in a less visually [[un]]obtrusive
location after considering the height of the structure, topography,
existing vegetation, adjoining and nearby residential properties,
if any, and visibility from the street.
(2) A support structure must be set back from any off-site dwelling
[[residential building or structure]] as follows:
a. In agricultural and residential zones, a distance of 300 feet.
b. In all other zones, one foot for every foot in height.
c. The setback is measured from the base of the support structure
to the base of the [[residential building or structure]] nearest
d. The Board of Appeals may reduce the setback requirement in
the agricultural and residential zones to a distance of one foot
from an off-site residential building for every foot of height
of the support structure if the applicant requests a reduction
and evidence indicates that a support structure can be located
in a less visually obtrusive location after considering the height
of the structure, topography, existing vegetation, adjoining and
nearby residential properties, and visibility from the street
(3) The support structure and antenna must not exceed 155 feet in
height, unless it can be demonstrated that additional height up
to 199 feet is needed for service ,[[to accommodate]] collocation,
or public safety communication purposes. At the completion of construction
and before the final inspection of the building permit, the applicant
must submit documentation to the Department of Permitting Services
as to the height and location of the support structure.
(4) [[The antenna and support structure must be designed to minimize
the visual impact on the community. The antenna and support structure
should be designed to blend into the surrounding environment by
use of available camouflaging, stealth design technology, or other
means. The support structure and any related equipment buildings
or cabinets must be surrounded by landscaping that provides a screen
of at least 3 feet in height.]] The support structure must be sited
to minimize its visual impact. The Board may require the support
structure to be less visually obtrusive by use of screening, coloring,
stealth design, or other visual mitigation options, after considering
the height of the structure, topography, existing vegetation and
environmental features, and adjoining and nearby residential properties.
The support structure and any related equipment buildings or cabinets
must be surrounded by landscaping or other screening options that
provide a screen of at least 6 feet in height.
[(3)](5)The property owner must be an applicant for the special
exception for each support structure. A modification of a telecommunication
facility special exception is not required for a change to any use
within the special exception area not directly related to the special
exception grant. A [freestanding] support structure must be constructed
to hold no less than 3 telecommunication carriers. The Board may
approve a support structure holding less than 3 telecommunication
carriers if: 1) requested by the applicant and a determination is
made that collocation at the site is not essential to the public
interest; and 2) the Board decides that construction of a lower
support structure with fewer telecommunication carriers will promote
community compatibility. The equipment compound must have sufficient
area to accommodate equipment sheds or cabinets associated with
the telecommunication facility for all the carriers.
[(4)](6)No signs or illumination are permitted on the antennas or
support structure unless required by the Federal Communications
Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration, or the County.
[(5)](7)Every freestanding support structure must be removed at
the cost of the [[applicant]] owner of the telecommunication facility
when the telecommunication facility is no longer in use by any telecommunication
carrier for more than 12 months.
(8) All support structures must be identified by a sign no larger
than 2 square feet affixed to the support structure or any equipment
building. The sign must identify the owner and the maintenance service
provider of the support structure or any attached antenna and provide
the telephone number of a person to contact regarding the structure.
The sign must be updated and the Board of Appeals notified within
10 days of any change in ownership.
(9) Outdoor storage of equipment or other items is prohibited.
(10) Each [[applicant for the special exception]] owner of the telecommunication
facility is responsible for maintaining the telecommunication facility,
in a safe condition.
(11) The applicants for the special exception must file with the
Board of Appeals a recommendation from the Telecommunications Transmission
Facility Coordinating Group regarding the telecommunication facility.
The recommendation must be no more than one year old.
[[(6)]]12 Prior to the Board granting any special exception for
a telecommunication facility, the proposed facility must be reviewed
by the County Telecommunication Transmission Facility Coordinating
Group. The Board and Planning Board must make a separate, independent
finding as to need and location of the facility.
(k) Any telecommunication facility special exception application
for which a public hearing was held before November 18, 2002 must
be decided based on the standards in effect when the application
(l) Any telecommunication facility constructed as of November 18,
2002 may continue as a conforming use.
|Sec. 3. Effective date. This ordinance becomes effective
20 days after the date of Council adoption.
This is a correct copy of Council action.
Mary A. Edgar, CMC
Clerk of the Council