The Ocean View Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimously on Jan. 24 to recommend an ordinance to amend the Town’s Land Use & Development Code related to wireless communication facilities.
P&Z Commissioner Ken Sigvardson asked what had driven the recommended changes to the code.
“I can identify where the impetus for this ordinance occurred,” said Attorney Ross C. Karsnitz, who served as Town solicitor. “Basically, the Federal Communication Commission issued new regulatory rules about local municipalities and governments reviewing application for cell towers, essentially. They’re called ‘wireless facilities.’ The new rules require local governments to speed up their review process to facilitate the installation of these wireless facilities.
“It’s basically the federal government saying, ‘We want 5G, higher broadband, faster internet services throughout the country, so we’re going to make sure there’s no local governments impeding the installation.’”
The commission voted unanimously, 5-0, to recommend that the town council approve the ordinance.
The commission also voted on Jan. 24 to recommend an ordinance to amend the code related to “Administrative and Beneficial Use Appeals; Variances” to allow for “Administrative variances.”
“This really is to keep moving things along, things that could logically be approved by the Planning & Zoning office,” said Ken Cimino, director of Planning & Zoning for the Town of Ocean View.
“I think you get a lot of applications — particularly from Bear Trap — where people have a 10-foot setback, and they have a deck they want to put in. If it’s 9 feet, 9 inches, it’s within your jurisdiction to approve it,” said Commissioner Kent Liddle.
“It provides an administrative mechanism to grant a variance instead of going through the whole public-hearing process for small variances,” added Karsnitz.
The council voted 5-0 to recommend the town council approve the proposed ordinance on administrative variances.
By Maria Counts