Albemarle County Planning Commission

November 13, 2007


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, November 13, 2007, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.


Members attending were Marcia Joseph, Chairman; Duane Zobrist, Jon Cannon; Bill Edgerton and Pete Craddock. Absent was Eric Strucko and Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman. Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were David E. Pennock, Senior Planner; Joan McDowell, Principal Planner; John Shepherd, Manager of Current Development & Zoning; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; Summer Frederick, Planner; Scott Clark, Senior Planner; Amelia McCulley, Director of Current Development & Zoning; Judith Wiegand, Senior Planner; Allan Schuck, Senior Engineer; Gerald Gatobu, Planner; Glenn Brooks, County Engineer; Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney. 


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Ms. Joseph called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. and established a quorum.


SP-2007-00038 Carrsbrook (ATC)-Verizon Tier III PWSF (Sign # 21)

PROPOSED: Co-location of a personal wireless service facility on an existing tower

ZONING CATEGORY/GENERAL USAGE: RA, Rural Areas-; EC Entrance Corridor overlay

SECTION: 10.2.2 (48) Special Use Permit, which allows for Tier III personal wireless facilities in the RA Zoning District


LOCATION: Tax Map 46, Parcel 15:  West of U.S. Route 29N accessed via a gravel drive, approximately 0.15 miles north of Ashwood Boulevard [Rte. 1670]


RELATED APPLICATION: Amendment to SP 2003-026

(Gerald Gatobu)


Mr. Gatobu presented a power point presentation and summarized the staff report.  (See Staff Report.)


·         The property is zoned RA and Entrance Corridor.  In this case the ARB was not involved with the review because the tower is at least 500’ away from the Entrance Corridor.

·         The proposal is for a co-location of one array consisting of 6 new antennas that are approximately 140’ on an existing 180’ tall tower with additional supporting ground equipment. 

·         There are 3 other special use permit approvals. SP-1997-13 allowed for building the tower itself at a maximum height of 200’.  The last special use permit approved on this site was SP-2003-26 that allowed the co-location of at least 9 new antennas of approximately 155’.

·         The tower is actually in an Airport Impact Area.  Ms. Joseph asked staff to see if there was anybody at the Airport who had any comments or questions about it being in the Airport Impact Area.  Staff contacted Barbara Hutchinson, Executor Director of the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport Authority.  In the last email she said that they had to file something with the Federal Aviation Authority.  The applicant may not have to file since it is a co-location.  But, that is something that the applicant can address.  From Ms. Hutchinson’s standpoint the FAA may not have any issues or comments with it since they were co-locating on an existing tower.  The applicant will need to address whether they have actually contacted the FAA.

·         The applicant is asking for some modifications in terms of the flush mounting and the modification of a tree conservation plan.  There is no additional land disturbance being proposed because it is just a co-location.  According to Section 5.1.4.e the Board of Supervisors can modify in terms of the special use permit during the review.

·         Based on staff’s review they are recommending approval with conditions. 


Ms. Joseph opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Maynard Sipes, Attorney with LeClair Ryan, said that he represented Verizon Wireless, the applicant in this matter.  Also present is Stephen Waller with Wireless Resources Incorporated, who is a consultant to the applicant.  They appreciate staff’s work.  Staff’s report was thorough and made a finding that the additional antenna would not provide any additional detrimental impacts on adjacent properties or open space resources in the area.  They currently envision mounting 2 antennas on each sector.  They would like the conditions to remain open so that additional antennas could be added to provide the additional service that may become needed when more capacity is needed.  The number of antennas reflects how much capacity of calls can be handled.  It is not just a matter of putting the antenna up and covering the area with coverage.  They will cover a certain radius of area with the request, but they also need to address issues about the capacity.  Additional antennas allow for more calls to be handled on this location.  There is a condition in the staff report, as proposed, that will limit the size of this array to not exceed that of the existing arrays on the tower.  That condition is on page 9 and is 3c, which hopefully will address any questions about the size of the array.  If there are any other questions or comments, they are certainly happy to address them.


Mr. Craddock asked when his antenna reaches capacity does it spill over into the other antennas to answer the phone.


Mr. Sipes asked Mr. Waller to speak about capacity issues.


Stephen Waller, a consultant with Wireless Resources who is a consultant to Verizon, said that the issue of capacity really depends on the sector.  The sectors are set up in different degrees.    As more customers get into the area there is a need for more capacity.  What they would like to do is have the option to add 2 additional antennas in the future without hopefully having to come back to amend the special use permit, but just doing it through a building permit. Once the mounting brackets are installed they would allow up to 4 antennas, which would increase the capacity.  Regarding the size condition, the antenna information was given just to show that they are well below the 1,152”, which is the minimum for antennas allowed by right. The 7’ height and 2’ width is a carry over from the old special use permit.  They would like to have some lead way in case the technology changes.  As shown, the technology has changed where they are able to use a lot smaller antennas.  But, that is not to say that the technology won’t change in the future to where they may have to increase their antenna sizes.  If they could keep their condition in line with what is already allowed with the 1,152” for by right antenna that the 7’ height and the 2’ width is not as big of a deal.  It is not guaranteed that the antennas will be smaller and they want to be governed by the overall allowed by the ordinance.


Mr. Kamptner said that if they go with the 7’ height it will be slightly more than a 13” wide antenna would keep each antenna under the 1,152 square inches provided in the regulations or ordinance.


Mr. Sipes noted that the applicant is amendable to all of the conditions suggested by staff.


Mr. Edgerton asked if they were proposing to start off with 4 arrays and be able to add 2 later.


Mr. Waller replied that they were starting off with 6 possibly with 2 per sector in the 3 sector array.  They would like to be able to expand up to 12 antennas.


Mr. Edgerton noted that the drawings show 12 antennas and the conditions limit it to 4 antennas.  He suggested that they get that straight.  On page 10, paragraph 8 the tower shall be limited to a total of 4 vertical arrays.


Mr. Waller replied that speaks to the arrays themselves.  At this time they would be the fourth array on the tower.  The array is all of the antennas on each level.  If there is a limit on the size that is any different than what is here, they would like to take the 1,152 square feet that would allow the by right.  But, they can live with the 7’ and 2’ as well. They do not want to be limited to the proposed size.


Mr. Zobrist said that there are going to be 3 panels in the array with each having 2 antennas on them.  The applicant wants the ability to put 4 antennas on each of those panels. 


Mr. Waller replied exactly that they want the ability to add to it at the time that the need for additional capacity arises. 


Mr. Sipes pointed out that the conditions before the Commission was acceptable because it allows for the additional capacity that they may need.  The 1,152 square inch requirement is already in the ordinance and does not need to be put into the conditions.


Ms. Joseph asked if the applicant has a problem with checking with the FAA.


Mr. Waller replied that is already part of the federally regulated requirements of the engineer.  She has already confirmed that no further FAA review is required. 


Ms. Joseph invited other public comment.  There being none, the public hearing was closed and the matter before the Planning Commission.


Mr. Kamptner suggested the following modifications to the conditions:

·         That condition 3b is deleted because it is already required by the regulations.

·         The first line of 3d should be clarified as follows: The replacement of dishes and antennas attached to this tower may be approved administratively, and the rest of the language as is.   


Action on Special Use Permit:


Motion:  Mr. Edgerton moved, Mr. Cannon seconded, for approval of SP-2007-00038, Carrsbrook (ATC) – Verizon Tier III PWSF, with the conditions recommended in the staff report, amended, as follows:


·         That condition 3b is deleted because it is already required by the regulations.

·         The first line of 3d should be corrected as follows: The replacement of dishes and antennas attached to this tower may be approved administratively, and the rest of the language as is.  


The motion for approval passed by a vote of 5:0. (Mr. Morris and Mr. Strucko were absent.) 


Ms. Joseph stated that SP-2007-00038, Carrsbrook (ATC) – Verizon Tier III PWSF, would go before to the Board of Supervisors on January 9 with a recommendation for approval with the conditions as follows.


  1. All work shall be done in general accord with what is described in the applicant's request and site construction plans, entitled “Carrsbrook American Tower Corporation Compound", with a final zoning drawing submittal date of July 19, 2007.


  1. The tower shall not be increased in height.


  1. The additional array of panel antennas may be attached only as follows:
    1. All equipment attached to the tower shall be painted to match the color of the tower. The cables extending from the ground equipment may remain black.
    2. The antennas shall not exceed seven (7) feet in height and two (2) feet in width.
    3. The antennas shall be set at the minimum distance that is allowed by the mounting equipment, and in no case shall any of the new antennas project from the structure to a distance that is greater than that of the existing antennas.


4.      The replacement of dishes and antennas attached to this tower may be approved administratively, provided that the sizing, mounting distances and heights of the replacement equipment are in compliance with these conditions of approval and in accordance with all applicable regulations set forth in Section 5.1.40 of the Zoning Ordinance.  


  1. With the exception of any safety lighting required by Federal Aviation Administration regulations, outdoor lighting shall be permitted only during maintenance periods; regardless of the lumens emitted, each outdoor luminaire that is not required for safety shall be fully shielded as required by Section 4.17 of the Zoning Ordinance.
  2. No existing trees within 200 feet of the facility shall be removed for the purpose of installing the proposed antennae or any supporting ground equipment.

  3. The current owner and any subsequent owners of the tower and its supporting facilities shall submit a report to the Zoning Administrator by July 1 of each year. The report shall identify each personal wireless service provider that uses the facility, including a drawing indicating which equipment, on both the tower and the ground, are associated with each provider.

  4. All equipment and antennae from any individual personal wireless service provider shall be disassembled and removed from the site within ninety (90) days of the date its use is discontinued. The entire facility shall be disassembled and removed from the site within ninety (90) days of the date its use for personal wireless service purposes is discontinued. If the Zoning Administrator determines at any time that surety is required to guarantee that the facility will be removed as required, the permittee shall furnish to the Zoning Administrator a certified check, a bond with surety satisfactory to the County, or a letter of credit satisfactory to the County, in an amount sufficient for, and conditioned upon, the removal of the facility. The type of surety guarantee shall be to the satisfaction of the Zoning Administrator and the County Attorney.

  5. The tower shall be limited to a total of four (4) vertical arrays of panel antennas. No additional relay, satellite or microwave dish antennas shall be permitted on the tower without an amendment of this special use permit.

  6. This special use permit must be amended to allow either of the three existing arrays of panel antennas to be:
    1. relocated on the structure;
    2. modified to increase the number or size of panel antennas; or,
    3. modified to increase the distance of the panel antennas from the structure.


Action on Modifications:


Motion:  Mr. Craddock moved, Mr. Zobrist seconded, for approval of the two modifications for SP-2007-00038, Carrsbrook (ATC) – Verizon Tier III PWSF, for the flush mounting requirements and for the tree modification plan because they are not disturbing any trees.


The motion for approval passed by a vote of 5:0. (M. Morris and Mr. Strucko were absent.) 


Ms. Joseph stated that SP-2007-00038, Carrsbrook (ATC) – Verizon Tier III PWSF modifications were approved.


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