Albemarle County Planning Commission

October 4, 2005


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, October 4, 2005 at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Bill Edgerton, Chairman; William Rieley, Rodney Thomas, Calvin Morris and Marcia Joseph, Vice-Chair.  Absent was David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia, Jo Higgins and Pete Craddock. 


Other officials present were David Benish, Chief of Planning; Bill Fritz, Development Review Manager; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; Stephen Waller, Senior Planner and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Mr. Edgerton called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum. 


SP 2005-019 Buck's Elbow Mountain - Ntelos (WBP701) (Signs #35,36) - Request for approval of special use permit allowing the attachment of a 6-foot long, 11.7-inch wide antenna supporting portable wireless broadband services on an existing structure.  The antenna will be attached with an extension rod extending nine (9) feet above the structure, which will result in a total top height of approximately 42-feet above ground level and 3153 above mean sea level (AMSL).  This request is being made in accordance with Section [] of the Zoning Ordinance, which allows for Tier III personal wireless service facilities in the Rural Areas zoning district.  The property, described as Tax Map 39 - Parcel 1E, contains 0.22 acres, zoned Rural Areas (RA).  This site is located in the White Hall Magisterial District, on Buck's Elbow Mountain, approximately 3-1/2 miles northeast of the intersection with Jarman's Gap Road [State Route #611].  The Comprehensive Plan designates this site as Rural Area 3.  (Stephen Waller)


Mr. Waller summarized the staff report.



There being no questions for staff, Mr. Edgerton opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to address the Commission.


Emily Walker stated that she was present on behalf of Ntelos Network, Inc. to request a special use permit.  This request is being made in order to install the one antenna and one micro-wave dish on an existing self-support tower that already exists on top of a rooftop of a telecommunication structure.  This portable broadband wireless service will be used to better serve the Western Albemarle County area and portions of Waynesboro.  Parts of Western Albemarle County currently now do not have access to portable broadband service.  With this installation they will be able to receive service in some of those locations.  Also, this is going to back off flow traffic from our existing tower located on Bear Den, which also now supports portions of Western Albemarle County and the Waynesboro area.  They are proposing to mount a 17-foot 3 ˝ -inch steel pole to the existing self-support tower in order to mount the one antenna.  Only 9-feet of the 17-foot pole will extend will above the top of the existing self-support tower.  The antenna will be mounted at 7-feet above the top of the existing self-support tower and will extend no higher than 13-feet above the top of the existing self-support tower.  That total height would then be 40-feet above the ground level.  The micro-wave dish will be mounted on the existing self-support tower at 4-feet above the existing rooftop.  This small micro-wave dish will be used to back call the customer traffic and for redundancy.  In order to provide the portable broadband service, their antenna needs to be mounted above the existing antennas on the other three existing towers and have a direct line of sight to the actual customer location.  Russell Walker, our service supervisor, is also here and will be happy to answer any technical questions.


Russell Walker, Service Supervisor, was present to represent the request.


Mr. Edgerton invited public comment on this matter.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for consideration.


Mr. Rieley thanked Mr. Waller for a very clear and crisp presentation.


Ms. Joseph stated that the staff report was very clear on the critical slopes.  She asked if everyone received the email message that there were some folks that were not happy with this addition.  As she looked at what is proposed she saw another 6 foot extension, which is co-locating and was something they encouraged people to do.  Therefore, she felt that the addition of this would have a minimal impact on what is already out there.  She understands the folks concerns and if this were something that was coming down any time soon, then she would support what they are talking about.  But, this is existing and unfortunately or fortunately they must have these things.


Mr. Rieley stated that he had been very critical about the aggregation of these and the visual impact over time.  He pointed out that driving over Afton Mountain there are currently six of these towers and what was invisible is now very visible.  So these horizontal co-locations as they have gone to are not as successful as these kinds.  He felt that they can end up with a problem with it, but in this case he felt that the overriding consideration is the fact that you simply cannot see this.  Visibility has always been their criteria.   


 Motion: Mr. Thomas moved, Mr. Rieley seconded, that SP-2005-019, Buck’s Elbow Mountain, be approved with the recommended conditions.


1.                   The antenna, mounting pole, microwave dish and ground equipment shall all be sized, located, installed and maintained in general accord with the construction plans, structure elevations and schematic drawings, entitled “Telecommunications Facility Co-location, Bucks Elbow Mountain - Waynesboro/Crozet (WBP701), Crozet, Virginia 22932”, last revised August 12, 2005 and initialed SBW on September 20, 2005.

2.                   Prior to the issuance of a building permit, the applicant shall submit a final revised set of site drawings construction of the facility.  Planning staff shall review the revised plans to ensure that all appropriate conditions of this special use permit have been addressed.

3.                   The top of the omni-directional antenna shall not exceed an elevation of 3157 feet.

4.                   The 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 agent determines at any time that surety is required to guarantee that the facility will be removed as required, the agent may require that the parcel owner or the owner of the facility submit a certified check, a bond with surety, or a letter of credit, in an amount sufficient for, and conditioned upon, the removal of the facility. The type and form of the surety guarantee shall be to the satisfaction of the agent and the county attorney. In determining whether surety should be required, the agent shall consider the following: (i) the annual report states that the tower or pole is no longer being used for personal wireless service facilities; (ii) the annual report was not filed; (iii) there is a change in technology that makes it likely that tower or pole will be unnecessary in the near future; (iv) the permittee fails to comply with applicable regulations or conditions; (v) the permittee fails to timely remove another tower or pole within the county; and (vi) whenever otherwise deemed necessary by the agent.

5.                   The owner of the facility shall submit a report to the agent by no earlier than May or and no later than July 1 of each year. The report shall identify each user of the existing structure, and include a drawing, photograph or other illustration identifying which equipment is owned and/or operated by each personal wireless service provider. Multiple users on a single tower or other mounting structure may submit a single report, provided that the report includes a statement signed by a representative from each user acquiescing in the report.

6.                   The following shall be submitted to the agent after installation of the monopole is completed and prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy: (i) certification by a registered surveyor stating the height of the monopole, measured both in feet above ground level and in elevation above mean sea level, using the benchmarks or reference datum identified in the application; and (ii) certification stating that the lightning rod’s height does not exceed two (2) feet above the top of the monopole and width does not exceed a diameter of one (1) inch.


The motion passed by a vote of 5:0.  (Commissioners Higgins and Craddock were absent.)  


Mr. Edgerton stated that SP-2004-019, Buck’s Elbow Mountain, will go to the Board of Supervisors on November 2 with a recommendation for approval.


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