Notes from Glenn MacDonell VE3XRA
This is the message sent to all Presidents:
I wrote to you on 22 September 2011 when we kicked off our efforts to respond to the City’s proposed Consultation Process for Antenna Systems. On 28 March the Ottawa City Council approved the “Municipal Concurrence and Consultation Process for Antenna Systems” (The Process) including an amendment to address issues pointed out by area radio amateurs at City Council Committee meetings around the end of February. The decision was reported in the Ottawa Citizen on that day. The city has published the minutes of that meeting on its website and I have attached the section containing the information relevant to amateur radio and other residential use antenna systems.
The City staff who prepared the amendment made one error - describing the parties to final agreement on details of the exemption criteria as city staff and the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club. In fact the 22 September e-mail to you and other area amateur radio club Presidents and RAC executive living in Ottawa led to the creation of a representative group of amateurs to prepare advice for city staff and to share information on the ongoing discussions with radio amateurs across the region through our various clubs and nets. Gordon Dewis, President of the Manotick Amateur radio Group created an e-mail list server to make information sharing easier. Andy Hart has been involved throughout the process and taken several important initiatives, not only inviting the city official drafting the Process to the October WCARC meeting, actively participating in our common efforts to produce a written submission to the city and meeting with city staff but also writing to his City Councillor before the Process was presented to the Ottawa Planning Committee meeting and also making a presentation at that meeting. The public presentations at City of Ottawa Committees around the end of February that led to the final negotiations were made by myself, Andy Hart (VE3NVK), Vice President of the West Carleton Amateur Radio Club, and Ray Perrin (VE3FN) who had initiated an appeal against the original by-law at the Ontario Municipal Board.
The City recognized that Industry Canada had the authority to approve antennas and developed The Process to address municipal concerns with land use and to define a process for consultation. The City Council decisions on 28 March included revoking the earlier by-law that had set requirements on antennas in the city.
Ottawa is one of the few cities that has defined a specific process for the antenna systems used by residents in addition to the larger commercial antenna systems. Our discussions with the city focused on the differences between the commercial and personal use antenna systems as city staff had little understanding of amateur radio. The city’s concern was primarily with aesthetics and aimed to ensure that prominent antennas would not be erected without the proponent announcing their intent and receiving and responding to comments from the their immediate neighbours and city representatives. We worked out a set of criteria addressing the size and location of the antenna to define which required consultation and which could be erected without consultation. They do not define what is/can be built, as Industry Canada, not the city, has the power to do this. They do define what can be built easily, without consultation.
The default consultation process in the Industry Canada guidelines, used where cities have not developed their own municipal consultation process, focuses on height: antennas less than 15m are exempt from consultation. The process approved by the city recognizes that location and scale are important and so has more relaxed requirements on larger lots and for locations like the back yard where the house will screen much of the antenna from view. Consequently, on larger lots and certain locations on smaller lots antennas higher than 15m can be erected without consultation under the Ottawa process. I am not aware of any city in Canada that has set up a similar system. The specific height limits and setbacks from property lines for antenna structures on different sized lots are included in the section of the Ottawa City Council record of decision I have attached.
The new Process takes effect 30 days after the the City Council decision - which turns out to be a day after the next OVMRC meeting. City staff are now organizing their internal procedures and preparing information packages. I expect that their first priority will be creating an ability to deal with large commercial antenna systems almost all of which require public consultation. The criteria for Residential Use Antenna Systems are generous enough that most hams should be able to put up the antenna they need without getting involved in the consultation process. Consequently I believe city staff will likely produce information on the new Process and monitor over time how the new Concurrence and Public Consultation process works for these smaller antenna systems.
Glenn MacDonell VE3XRA
President, Ottawa Amateur Radio Club
Secretary, West Carleton Amateur Radio Club
Moved by Councillor P. Hume
Seconded by Councillor K. Hobbs
WHEREAS report ACS2012-ICS-PGM-0045 was carried by Planning Committee on February 28, 2012 and by Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee on March 1, 2012 recommending Council approve a new Municipal Concurrence and Public Consultation Process for Antenna Systems (the “Process”); and
WHEREAS Planning Committee and Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee directed staff to undertake discussions with the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club to determine whether the recommended Process can be refined to reflect their concerns, prior to the report being considered by Council; and
WHEREAS staff have reached an agreement with representatives of the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club which requires amendments to the Process contained within the report; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Process, attached as Document 1, to report ACS2012-ICS-PGM-0045 be amended as follows:
- Part 3.0 - Definitions be amended by replacing the definition of “Tower” with the following:
“Tower for an Antenna System - means all types of towers including but not limited to: a monopole; tripole; lattice tower; guyed tower; self-supported tower; pole; mast; or other structure, which are used to support one or more antennas and may be located at ground level or attached to a building or structure.
Tower for a Residential Use Antenna System (RUAS) - means all types of towers built for the purpose of supporting an antenna used primarily for personal use, including but not limited to a monopole; tripole; lattice tower; guyed tower; self-supported tower; pole; mast; or other structure, which are used to support one or more antennas and may be located at ground level or attached to a building or structure, but does not include vegetation such as trees.”
- Part 4.0 - Exemptions to the City of Ottawa Municipal Concurrence and Public Consultation Process be amended by replacing Part 4.1(a)(ii) with the following:
(ii) complies with all of the applicable guidelines set out within Part 5.1 and is not expected to contain medium or high white intensity lighting for the purposes of satisfying Transport Canada requirements;
- Part 5.0 - Site Selection and Design Guidelines be amended by replacing all of the text under the heading Part 5.1 - Residential Use Antenna Systems (RUAS) with the following:
“The purpose of these guidelines is to encourage the development of RUAS in a manner which mitigates the visual impact on the adjacent property owners.
A proponent of an RUAS proposed on a lot less than 1 acre in size should ensure the RUAS:
a) If located within the front yard:
i. contains only a self-supporting (non-guyed) mast or pole with a diameter no greater than 3 inches at its widest point and used solely for a wire antenna;
ii. is less than 15 metres in height; and,
iii. is set back at least 1.5 metres from all lot lines;
b) If located within a side yard, including the extension of a corner side yard into a rear yard:
i. is set back at least 1.5 metres from all lot lines;
ii. is less than 15 metres in height; and,
iii. does not consist of a guyed or lattice tower, unless the tower abuts and is attached to the principal building;
c) If located within the rear yard, excluding the extension of a corner side yard into a rear yard:
i. is less than 18 metres in height; and,
ii. is set back at least 1.5 metres from all lot lines if less than 16 metres in height; or
iii. is set back an amount equal to a quarter of its height if 16 metres or more in height; and,
d) A wire antenna, not including a tower, need not comply with (a) through (c) above
e) If located on the roof of the principal building:
i. is less than 16 metres in height, and if 15 metres or more in height:
- is located on that half of the roof closest to the rear yard; and,
- is setback from all lot lines at least 1.5 metres; or
ii. if the building is greater than 3 storeys in height, the RUAS does not exceed a height equal to 25% of the existing height of the building.
A proponent of an RUAS proposed on a lot at least 1 acre, but less than 5 acres in size should ensure the RUAS:
a) is no higher than an amount equal to the lot width to a maximum of 29 metres;
b) if it includes a guyed or lattice tower, is located outside of the required front yard; and,
c) is set back from all lot lines an amount equal to a quarter of its height;
A proponent of an RUAS proposed on a lot 5 acres or more in size should ensure the RUAS is:
a) no higher than 29 metres; and,
b) setback from all lot lines an amount equal to a quarter of its height;
In all instances a proponent of an RUAS should:
a) ensure the RUAS carries no advertising, flags (unless a flagpole is being used as a tower), graphics or other such devices, as well as permanent lighting above five metres;
b) avoid placement of an RUAS within:
i. Natural Environment Areas, Significant Wetlands or Urban Natural Features as shown on Schedules A & B of the Official Plan;
ii. Any 1:100 year flood plain, and Unstable Slopes shown on Schedule K of the Official Plan;
iii. significant habitat of endangered and threatened species as defined in Section 4.7.4 of the Official Plan; and,
iv. 30 metres to the normal highwater mark or 15 metres to the top of the bank of any watercourse or waterbody, whichever is greater.
Where a proposal for an RUAS does not conform to all of the applicable guidelines above, it should be designed so as to mitigate negative impacts on the surrounding properties and the environment, including but not limited to decreasing the size and visibility of the RUAS, or selecting an alternate location on the property. To reduce the scale and visual impact mitigation measures could include the installation of screening and landscaping, the application of appropriate design features, colour and materials. Non-reflective surfaces and neutral colours that blend with the surrounding should be used.”
- Part 8.0 - Public Consultation be amended by inserting the following paragraph in Part 8.1 - Public Consultation for Residential Use Antenna Systems (RUAS) after Part 8.1f), and before the paragraph which begins “Despite the notification requirements of Part 8.1…”:
“In addition to the above, where a proponent expects that an RUAS will contain medium or high white intensity lighting for the purposes of satisfying Transport Canada requirements, the proponent must also undertake public consultation in accordance with Part 8.2.4 - Notice in Local Community Newspaper.”
CARRIED …. END ….