Wireless and Cellular Towers and Facilities

Cellular and wireless communication facilities are regulated by the Zoning Code. The full text is reproduced below. The application for a wireless or cellular communication facility is linked at the bottom of the page.
If you have questions regarding this use, please contact Marilyn Neal or Chris Anderson.


     (A)     Purpose.It is the purpose of the regulations contained in this subchapter entitled Wireless and Cellular Telecommunications Towers and Facilities, to:

          (1)     Accommodate the need for cellular or wireless communications towers and facilities for the provision of personal wireless services while regulating their location and number in the city; 

          (2)     Minimize adverse visual effects of communications towers and support structures through proper siting, design and screening;

          (3)     Avoid potential damage to adjacent properties from communications towers and support structure failure; and

          (4)     Encourage the joint use of tall structures and any new and existing communications towers and support structures to reduce the number of such structures needed in the future.

     (B)     Definitions.  As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

          ALTERNATIVE TOWER STRUCTURE.  Simulated trees, clock towers, bell steeples, light poles and similar alternative-design mounting structures that camouflage or conceal the presence of antennas or towers.

          ANTENNA.  Any exterior apparatus designed for telephonic, radio or television communications through the sending, relaying and/or receiving of electromagnetic waves; including but not limited to directional antennas, such as panels, microwave dishes and satellite dishes, and omnidirectional antennas, such as whips.

          CELLULAR COMMUNICATION SERVICES.  Personal communications accessed by means of cellular equipment and services.

          CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE.  The measure of proof which will produce a firm belief as to the assertion sought to be established.

          CO-LOCATION.  The process of providing space for more than one user on a tower or facility.

          CELLULARor WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORT STRUCTURE.  Any building or structure, including equipment shelter, guy wire anchors, accessory to and necessary for the proper functioning of the cellular or wireless communications antenna or tower.

          HEIGHT.  When referring to a tower or other structure, the distance measured from ground level to the highest point on the tower or other structure even if said highest point is an antenna.

          PERSONAL WIRELESS SERVICES.  Commercial mobile services, unlicensed wireless services and common carrier wireless exchange access services, including cellular services.

          TALL STRUCTURES.  Any structure or building, including but not limited to, smoke stacks, water towers, buildings over 45' in height, antenna support structures of other cellular or wireless communication companies, and other communication towers.

          TOWER.  Any freestanding structure that is designed and constructed primarily for the purpose of supporting one or more antennas, including self-supporting lattice towers, guy towers, or monopole towers. The term includes, but is not limited to, radio and television transmission towers, microwave towers, common-carrier towers, cellular telephone towers, monopoles, and alternative tower structures.

          WIRELESS AND CELLULAR TELECOMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT.  Antennas and satellite dishes, etc. which are used for transmitting, receiving or relaying communications signals, except as regulation of such equipment has been preempted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

          WIRELESS AND CELLULAR TELECOMMUNICATION FACILITIES.  Any cable, wires, lines, wave  guides, support structure, antennas and any other equipment or  facilities associated with the transmission or reception of communications, as authorized by the Federal Communication Commission. However, the term Wireless Telecommunications Facilities shall not include:

          (1)     Any satellite earth station antenna 12' or less in diameter, regardless of zoning category.

          (2)     Antennas used by amateur radio operators are excluded from this definition.

     (C)     Effect on other zoning regulations.  The provisions of any other zoning regulation of these Codified Ordinances notwithstanding, the provisions of this subchapter shall apply to all wireless and cellular telecommunications towers and facilities and shall supersede any contrary zoning regulation, including, but not limited to, zoning regulations related to essential services, public utilities and heightilities and height restrictions, modifications and exceptions.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     (A)     Wireless and cellular telecommunications towers and facilities are either permitted uses or special exceptions in a variety of zoning districts contingent upon a number of requirements being met. These criteria are in place in an attempt to minimize adverse health, safety, public welfare or visual impacts through buffering, siting, design and construction, and reduction of the need for new towers.

     (B)     Application procedure as outlined in § 150.306 is required.

     (C)     Registration of wireless and cellular telecommunication towers and facilities is required by § 150.303.

     (D)     Shared usage of towers and transmission facilities is encouraged, and towers should be designed to accommodate such uses, including governmental telecommunication needs.  Appropriate shared parking and access must be provided for co-located facilities on one tower.

     (E)     All wireless and cellular telecommunication facilities must be co-located with existing facilities except where the applicant can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that its facilities cannot be located on any other existing communication tower, building, or structure in the geographic area to be served, and that all reasonable means have been undertaken to avoid any undue impact caused by the "clustering" of towers within an area. The applicant must send a certified mail announcement to all other owners of existing towers and tall structure owners in the geographic area to be served stating their siting needs and/or sharing capabilities. In determining whether a facility can or cannot be located on another communication tower, building, or structure, the city shall consider the space available on an existing structure, the technological practicality of the co-location, the financial feasibility of the co-location, and such other factors as the city deems appropriate.

     (F)     Federal Aviation Administration regulations shall be met and requirements presented to the city prior to facility approval.

     (G)     The owner of any tower or facility shall indemnify and hold the city harmless against any and all claims, demands, suits, causes of action or judgment arising from any injury, including death or damage caused by the construction and operation of the tower or facility.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     (A)     All wireless and cellular telecommunications facilities within the city, and which are used to provide any telecommunications services for a fee are required to be registered by the owner and/or equipment owner. The registration forms shall be provided by the city. A fee of $120 plus $1 for each foot of tower height shall be charged for the registration.

     (B)     Each owner shall inform the city within 60 days of any changes to the information set forth in the registration form.

     (C)     Wireless telecommunication towers and facilities registration must be renewed on an annual basis, at the beginning of each year. The registration must be accompanied by the fee, which is $120 plus $1 for each foot of tower height.  The telecommunications tower or facility owner/operator must submit the registration to the Community Development Department of the city by February 1 of the year for which registration is submitted.

     (D)     A late fee of $25 shall be charged for each month the registration and accompanying fee is not received by the city.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     No wireless or cellular telecommunication tower and/or facility shall be designed and/or sited such that it poses a potential hazard to nearby improvements or surrounding properties.  The structural integrity of towers and facilities must meet the applicable OBBC and EIA E-222 standards.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     (A)     Permitted.  Towers and facilities are a permitted use in M, Manufacturing District and IP, Industrial Park District subject to the provisions of § 150.309.

     (B)     Special exceptions.  Towers and facilities not to exceed a total of 200' in height shall be permitted as a special exception in the PB, Planned Business District when expressly authorized by the Planning Commission and subject to the provisions of § 150.309.

     (C)     Special exceptions.  Wireless and cellular telecommunication facilities to be attached to a structure shall be permitted in all zoning districts except residential subject to the provisions of § 150.310.

     (D)     City Council approval.  Towers and facilities located on publicly owned property are permitted subject to the provisions of § 150.311.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     (A)     Any person or company intending to apply for the placement or operation of a cellular or wireless communications tower or facility within the city shall first schedule a pre-application conference with the Community Development Director. At the conference, the prospective applicant must present to the Community Development Director any proposed locations for siting of towers and equipment.  The information should identify possible locations, tower and tall structure heights, and the possibility of co-location.

     (B)     The purpose of the pre-application conference will be to generally evaluate the impact on adjacent areas and neighborhoods, discuss co-location, identify suitable sites that minimize any negative impact on surrounding areas.

     (C)     Upon the completion of the pre-application conference, an application may be filed with the Community Development Director.  The applicant must comply with the requirements of this chapter.

     (D)     A $250 application fee will be charged for each new cellular or wireless telecommunication tower or facility.  This fee shall be in addition to the applicable building permit fees. A $150 application fee will be charged for facilities that co-locate with an existing facility. The registration fee and registration form as provided for in § 150.303 shall not be required until February 1 of each year.

     (E)     The applicant may be asked to review plans with the Safety Service entities within the city to consider any requests the city may need to ensure public safety.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     An applicant proposing to construct a new tower must submit an improvement plan in accordance with applicable zoning district requirements. In addition to a plan indicating compliance with the zoning district, the plan must include:

     (A)     The location of all existing facilities and towers owned or used by the applicant within the city and 1/4 mile outside the city limits. Provide the following information for each existing facility:

          (1)     Type and height of the tower and facilities at each location.

          (2)     The accessory equipment and/or building located at each site.

          (3)     The ground network and associated land lines utilized by each tower.

     (B)     The general location of planned future towers and facilities.

     (C)     For each proposed tower location shown on the plan, there must be a schedule showing:

          (1)     Type and height of the tower and facility at each location.

          (2)     The type of accessory equipment located or proposed on each tower.

          (3)     Type, size and location of any support structure accessory to the tower is being submitted.

          (4)     The ground network and associated land lines, if any, utilized by each site.

          (5)     A site plan showing the parcel on which any existing tower is located.

          (6)     Detailed drawing of screening plan and related landscaping design standards.

     (D)     Copies of certified mail announcements to all other owners of towers and tall structures must be attached to the application. See § 150.302(D) herein.

     (E)     Notification from the FAA describing any requirements to be set forth on the tower and its location.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     Existing wireless and cellular telecommunication towers and facilities which do not comply with the conditions of this chapter at the time of its adoption, shall be classified as non-conforming. However, the owner and/or operator must comply with any registration requirements set forth in this chapter. Future co-location of facilities on existing towers and changes to the towers or facilities must comply with requirements of this chapter.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     (A)     All telecommunication towers, support structures, and associated facilities shall be enclosed within a minimum six foot high solid fence or barrier and a continuous evergreen hedge a minimum of 30" in height on the outside of the fence or barrier.  Applicant is responsible for installation and maintenance of the fence or barrier and hedge.

     (B)     Proof shall be provided by the applicant in a form satisfactory to the Community Development Director that the proposed installation has been approved by and will be operated in compliance with all agencies and governmental entities having jurisdiction, including, but not limited to, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Communications Commission or the successors to their respective functions.

     (C)     Lights, beacons or strobes of any kind shall not be permitted on any tower, antenna, or facilities unless required by the Federal Aviation Administration.  Any such requirements must be presented to the Community Development Director prior to city approval of the facility. Furthermore, telecommunication towers which would require special painting or lighting by the FAA regulations are discouraged.

     (D)     Setback requirements.  Towers shall be located no closer than 250 feet from any R zoning district line, except for residentially zoned land that is operated by the Hamilton County Parks District, and no closer than 100 feet to a public street right of way and no closer to any property lines than 25% of the height of the proposed tower unless a variance is granted by the Planning Commission.

     (E)     The minimum size of a parcel on which a tower is located shall be one acre and no more than one tower may be located on a parcel. Parcel means a separate tract of land as determined by the Hamilton County Auditor's Office.

     (F)     No advertisement of any kind shall be installed on telecommunication towers and/or facilities.

     (G)     The towers shall be painted a non-contrasting gray or similar color minimizing their visibility, unless otherwise required by the Federal Communications Commission or Federal Aviation Administration. When permitted as a special exception, the Planning Commission may require an alternative tower structure to blend into the existing environment. The towers and accessory structures shall be well maintained.

     (H)     Towers shall be 200 feet or less in height.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     Telecommunication facilities on existing structures are permitted in all districts as specified in § 150.305, subject to the following standards:

     (A)     Existing tall structures include water towers, smoke stacks, buildings, lighting standards or other structures.

     (B)     Telecommunication facilities on existing structures must be aesthetically and architecturally compatible with the surrounding environment.

     (C)     The maximum height of such telecommunication facilities shall not exceed the lesser of 25 feet above the height of the structure or 25% of the height of the structure on which it is located. If located on a building, all attempts should be made to set back the facility from the exterior wall of the building.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     (A)     Towers and facilities may be permitted on any city owned property subject to the following:

          (1)     The property must be leased from the city at its sole discretion.

          (2)     The maximum height and design of any tower and/or facility on city property shall be determined by Planning Commission and approved by City Council.

          (3)     All design standards in §§ 150.309 and 150.310, shall apply to towers and facilities under this subsection except for the setback requirements in § 150.309(D).

     (B)     Towers and facilities may be permitted on any other publicly owned property subject to the following:

          (1)     A special exception must be approved by the Planning Commission for any publicly owned property located in a district in which towers and/or facilities are not a principally permitted use.

          (2)     The maximum height of any tower and/or facility shall not exceed 200' in height.

          (3)     All design standards in §§ 150.309 and 150.310 shall apply to towers and facilities under this section except for setback requirements in § 150.309(D).

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)


     (A)     All wireless and cellular telecommunication towers and facilities shall be removed within six months after they are no longer used or in the event that it is proven that the towers cause a health hazard. A telecommunication tower and/or facility shall be considered abandoned if non-operational for six consecutive months. All owners or operators of such towers or facilities shall notify the Community Development Director in writing of the date upon which such towers or facilities are no longer used.

     (B)     Wireless and cellular telecommunication towers and facilities which are not removed within six months after they are abandoned are hereby declared to be a public nuisance which shall be abated by removal of such tower and/or facilities.

     (C)     The Community Development Director shall serve written notice on the owner or operator of the tower and/or facilities and the lessee and/or owner of the property upon which such tower and facilities are located ordering removal of the tower and/or facilities within 120 days of the receipt of the notice.

     (D)     In the event that the tower and/or facilities are not removed within 120 days after the written notice, then the Community Development Director is authorized and directed to abate such public nuisance by causing the removal of the tower and/or facilities at the expense of the owner or lessee of the tower, facilities or property.

     (E)     The cost of removal of the tower and/or facilities by the city shall be certified to the Hamilton County Auditor as a lien for assessment and collection against the real property upon which the tower and/or facilities were located in the same manner as general taxes and returned to the city's general fund.

(Ord. 21-1997, passed 9-15-97)

§ 150.999  PENALTY.

     Any person, firm, or corporation, violating any of the provisions of this chapter, or any amendment or supplement thereof, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, in a court of competent jurisdiction, shall be fined not more than $100. Each and every day during which such violation, illegal location, erection, construction, reconstruction, enlargement, change, maintenance, or use continues shall be deemed a separate offense.

(Ord. 10-1986, passed 5-19-86)

Associated Documents

Cellular and Wireless Communication Facility Application