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City of DeBary SealCity Council Meeting
City of DeBary

Subject:   Special Exception Request - Case #14-02-SKYWAY Request to Permit a 195 Foot Tall Monopole Cell Tower with Associated Equipment Within a ~5,100 Square Foot Compound on Property Located at 479 W. Highbanks Road

From:   Rebecca Hammock, AICP
                 Planning Administrator   
Meeting/Hearing Date:  December 3, 2014

(   )  Ordinance
(   )  Resolution
(X )  Other
(X )  Supporting Documents/Contracts

The applicant, Skyway Towers with the authorization of the property owner, Donald Bauerle, is requesting special exception approval for property zoned R-3 (Urban Single Family Residential) to permit a 195 foot tall monopole cell tower with associated equipment within a ~5,100 square foot compound (please refer to the attached Zoning Site Plan). The subject property is located on the west side of Ft. Florida Road just south of W. Highbanks Road with an address of 479 W. Highbanks Road. The size of the property is approximately 3.84 acres; the cell tower compound will comprise ¼ of an acre of that area.

Pursuant to Section 1-9, LDC, special exceptions are certain uses or development situations that may involve consideration of special circumstances or factors to determine that they are appropriate to the specific location and property. In considering a request for a special exception, the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council shall evaluate the request against the criteria put forth in Section 1-9 (2) Criteria for Special Exceptions, attached.  

The subject property is zoned R-3 (Urban Single Family Residential), which permits communication towers exceeding 70 feet in height by special exception. The applicant is requesting special exception approval for the subject property to allow a 195’ monopole cell tower with associated equipment that will accommodate six (6) carriers including Verizon Wireless, who is requesting the tower to expand coverage and prevent gaps in coverage on the west side of DeBary. Please see the attached letter and coverage maps from Verizon Wireless. The fall radius of the proposed tower is 45'.



Zoning Designation

FLU Designation



B-7 Commercial Marina, RA Rural Estate

Commercial Retail (C/R), AR Agricultural Rural

Highbanks Marina Campground & Vacant Single Family Residential


R-3 Single Family Residential

AR Agricultural Rural

Single Family Residential


A-2 Rural Agriculture

AR Agricultural Rural

Single Family Residential owned by Community United Methodist Church


Lake County

Lake County

St. Johns River

Background Discussion
Pursuant to Section 1-9(1)(b), City Council in considering a request for a special exception shall evaluate the criteria for the specific use requested. The criteria for a communication tower is outlined in Section 3-134(20) Communication Towers of the Land Development Code (attached).   

There are no existing communication towers or structures that could accommodate the applicant’s needs as the nearest tower is over two (2) miles away and co-locating on that tower would create weak coverage and coverage holes, according to the applicant. The Community United Methodist Church does have an active land lease to a cell tower company for property located to the east of the subject property but no special exception application has been submitted to the City for the Community United Methodist Church property at this time.   

The applicant has provided a letter from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources indicating that the proposed cell tower will have no direct effects and no visual effects on historic properties. The applicant has also provided “No Hazard to Air Navigation” certifications from the FAA and the FCC.

The applicant has demonstrated compliance with the special exception criteria (Chapter 3, Section 134 (20)) with the exception of criteria #1 and #5 under (e) Setbacks and Separation and with the exception of Section 134(20)(d)(6) Design.

Criteria # 1 requires that communication towers be setback a distance equal to one-half of the height of the communication tower from the property line. The proposed tower does not meet the required setback distance of 97.5’ on the north property line along W. Highbanks Road; instead the proposed setback is 47’, however, the north property line of the parcel is separated from other uses by the Highbanks public right-of-way. The applicant is requesting a waiver of the required setback along the north property line pursuant to §3-134(20)(d), of the City of DeBary Land Development Code.   

Criteria #5 requires that towers be separated from residential dwellings by at least 1,000 feet. There are residential dwellings within 1,000 feet of the proposed tower. The separation requirement may be waived by City Council, but in no case shall said separation be less than 500 feet. The applicant is requesting a waiver of the 1,000 ft. residential dwelling setback as permitted under §3-134(20)(d) and §3-134(20)(e)(5) of the DeBary Land Development Code. The applicant is proposing a residential separation of 500’; please see the attached 500’ radius map. The 500’ radius map indicates that there is a vacant residential lot and a mobile home dwelling within the 500’ radius of the proposed tower. A mobile home dwelling is defined by the City's Land Development Code as a single family dwelling fabricated in a manufacturing facility, having a width of more than eight feet and a length of more than 40 feet, and bearing a seal certifying it is constructed either to the Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Code or to obsolete ANSI 119.1 Mobile Home Design and Construction Standards. The applicant contends that the 500’ minimum separation distance pertains to existing residential dwellings and is not applicable to future development on vacant lots nor is it applicable to the mobile home shown within the radius as it is a mobile recreational shelter located within Highbanks Marina, which is campground and not intended for permanent residential use.

The proposed communication tower could be conditioned to meet the criteria put forth in Section 134(20)(d)(6) Design by requiring the conditions listed below or other conditions as the Council deems appropriate.  

Skyway Towers conducted a photo simulation of the proposed tower to show the height of the proposed cell tower and its visual impact. The photo simulation package is attached showing the visual impact of the tower from different locations.

Land Development Regulations
Chapter 1, Section 1-9
Chapter 3, Section 3-134 Special Exceptions, (20) Communication Towers

Planning & Zoning Commission Recommendation
On November 24, 2014, the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed the application and voted 3-0 to recommended approval of Case #14-02-SKYWAY subject to the following conditions:

1. A gravel driveway shall not be permitted.
2. The fence surrounding the tower compound shall be a decorative fence, which is aesthetically pleasing and no barbed wire around the fence shall be permitted.
3. Antennas shall be flush mounted or enclosed in the mono-pole structure.                                                                                       
4. The design of the tower shall ensure a fall radius of no more than 47'.

Findings of Fact
If City Council votes to recommend approval of the special exception request, the Council finds that the request reasonably meets the criteria put forth in Section 1-9(2) Criteria for Special Exceptions and Section 3-134(2) Communication Towers contained in the Land Development Code and that the request is in compliance with the City’s Comprehensive Plan.  Pursuant to Section 1-9(3), LDC the City Council may impose additional reasonable conditions for the establishment and operation of the use. If the request is denied, the reasons shall be provided as part of the action for denying the request.

Example Motions
Approve Case # 14-02-SKYWAY
Approve with Conditions Case # 14-02-SE-SKYWAY
Deny Case # 14-02-SE-SKYWAY

  • Zoning Site Plan
  • Section 1-9 Special Exceptions, Land Development Code
  • Verizon Letter & Coverage Maps
  • Section 1-134(20), Land Development Code
  • 500’ Radius Map   
  • Photo Simulation Package

City Council Action:
(   )  Approved As Recommended
(   )  Approved With Modification
(   )  Disapproved
(   )  Continued Date:

(   )  Other


City of DeBary, FL
16 Colomba Rd, DeBary, FL 32713
Phone: (386) 668-2040  Fax: (386) 668-4122