Beltrami County, MN Communications Tower and Wind Energy Conversion System Ordinance

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Beltrami County, MN, US

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Type: Ordinance

Status: Adopted on 6/3/2003

Source File:


As the entire ordinance comprises a 14-page document, only the first 3 sections are shown below. To view or print the entire ordinance, please refer to the source file.

The unique and diverse landscapes of Beltrami County are among its most valuable assets. Destroying these assets risks undermining the very characteristics responsible for our economic vitality and future potential. Protecting these assets will require that location and design of tower facilities be sensitive to, and in scale and harmony with, the aesthetics of Beltrami County. This Ordinance will provide standards for the proper placement and design of tower facilities in order to ensure their compatibility with surrounding aesthetics and development.

The purpose of this Ordinance shall be to establish predictable and balanced regulations that protect the public, health, safety, and general welfare of the county, these regulations are intended to:

A. Facilitate the provision of telecommunications and wind energy conversion systems services and facilities including commercial wireless telecommunication services in Beltrami County;
B. Minimize adverse visual effects of towers through careful design and siting standards;
C. Avoid potential damage to adjacent properties from tower or antenna failure and weather-related occurrences through structural standards, careful siting, and setback requirements;
D. Encourage the use of existing towers and buildings to accommodate commercial wireless telecommunication service antennas in order to minimize the number of towers needed to serve the county.

The Telecommunication Act of 1996 affirms Local Government’s right to control the siting, construction, and modification of cellular and other wireless telecommunication facilities. The permitting process in this Ordinance does not discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent services and does not prohibit the provision of personal wireless services.

Leasing of public buildings, publicly owned structures, public lands, and/or rights-of-way for the purposes of locating wireless telecommunication services facilities and/or equipment is encouraged. In cases where a facility is proposed on County property, specific locations and compensation to the County shall be negotiated in lease agreements between the County and the provider on a case-by-case basis, and shall be subject to all the requirements contained in this Ordinance. Such agreements would not provide exclusive arrangements that could tie up access to the negotiated site(s) or limit competition, and must allow for the possibility of “co-locating” (sharing of facilities) with other providers.

It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, construct, or place any new Tower facility or Wind Energy Conversion System without first receiving appropriate permits from the Beltrami County Planning and Zoning Department. Tower Facilities and Wind Energy Conversion Systems must comply with all local, state and federal regulations. It shall be unlawful to alter, modify, transform, add to, or change in any way, an existing tower structure or wind energy conversion system without first receiving permits from the Beltrami County Planning and Zoning Department. Addition of antennas and transmission lines shall not require a permit.

Amateur Radio – The provisions contained herein shall not govern any privately owned tower, or the installation of any antenna that is under eighty-five (85) feet in height or operated by a federally licensed amateur radio station operator, or is used exclusively as a receive only antenna.

Amateur Radio Operator: A person holding a written authorization to be the control operator of an amateur radio facility. This authorization shall be in the form of a license or permit issued by the Federal Communications Commission.

Antenna: Any structure or device used for the purpose of collecting or radiating electromagnetic waves including but not limited to directional antennas such as panels, microwave dishes, satellite dishes, and omni-directional antennas such as whip antennas.

Co-Location: The placement of wireless telecommunication antenna by two or more service providers on a tower, building or structure.

Commercial Wind Energy Conversion System: Any WECS designed and operated at a capacity greater than incidental excess of the amount needed for basic residential use, and/or the purpose of such energy generation is intended for commercial sale.

Department: Beltrami County Planning and Zoning Department.

Experimental and Homebuilt WECS: Wind machines that are one of a kind, first attempt machines built by a wind power company or individual.

Guyed Tower: A tower that is supported, in whole or in part, by wires and ground anchors. Lowest Extension of WECS Blades: The lowest point of the arc created by the rotation of the WECS rotor.

Monopole: A type of tower mount that is self supporting through a single shaft usually constructed of wood, metal or concrete.

Production Phase WECS: Professionally designed wind machines that are built in significant numbers on a continuing basis after testing. Wind machines made from professionally designed kits will be considered production phase WECS.

Search Ring: An area in which a wireless provider is able to locate an antenna of a defined height that will provide the wireless service provider’s desired coverage.

Tower: Any pole, wire, structure or combination thereof, including support lines, cables, wires, braces and masts intended primarily for the purpose of mounting antenna or to serve as an antenna, or for the placement of a wind energy conversion system.

Tower Facility(ies): A tower and its appurtenant devices including, but not limited to antennae, buildings, fences, gates and related equipment.

Total Height: The distance between the ground level at the base of a structure and its tallest vertical extension including any attachment thereon.

Wind Energy Conversion System (WECS): Any device such as a wind charger, windmill or wind turbine, which converts wind energy to a form of usable energy.