New communication tower proposals require approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). Substantial modification of an existing communication tower also requires approval of CUP. Communication towers are available as a conditional use in all of the County's zoning districts.
Prospective applicants for a communication tower CUP are strongly encouraged to contact staff to discuss proposals prior to submitting a formal application (see staff contact info, below). Pre-application discussions provide an opportunity to review the application and decision-making process, and to identify any potential issues of concern, including a proposal's consistency with the County's tower ordinance and comprehensive plan.
Like all Conditional Use Permit applications, communication tower CUPs are subject to town board and county Zoning & Land Regulation Committee review and action (approval / denial) and are reviewed against the standards established in the Dane County Zoning Code under sections 10.101(7)(d) and 10.103(9). Tower applications made on property designated in one of the County's state-certified farmland preservation zoning districts (FP-1, FP-35, FP-B) are subject to additional conditional use permit review standards found in section 10.220(1) of the county zoning code.
All applications are reviewed by a third party radio frequency engineering consultant for completeness and compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal regulations. All reasonable costs and expenses associated with such consultation, except travel expenses, shall be borne by the applicant.
The county code includes robust submittal requirements for new tower applications. As required by state law and county ordinance, applications must be supported by substantial evidence to demonstrate that the proposal satisfies all requirements and conditions of the ordinance. Section 10.103(9) of the county zoning code lists the specific application procedure and submittal requirements for new tower applications. Please note that only complete applications will be accepted.
The fee for a tower Conditional Use Permit application is $1,145. A separate RF engineering review of $3,000 also applies.
Most proposed collocations or equipment modifications on an existing tower do not require a Dane County zoning permit. No Dane County zoning permit is required for equipment upgrades / swaps or collocations on existing towers. However, a local building permit may be required from the township in which the tower is located. Proposals that involve structural modifications to an existing tower, such as increasing the tower height, or installation of a new equipment shelter, may require a Dane County Conditional Use Permit and/or zoning permit.
Project managers are encouraged to contact county staff and the applicable town clerk or building inspector prior to proceeding with a collocation or upgrade project.
For additional information, please refer to the detailed county tower ordinance summary, below.
Individuals with questions regarding the county tower ordinance, equipment modifications, collocations, pending tower proposals, or prospective applicants wishing to arrange a pre-application discussion or to obtain a communication tower application form, should contact:
Majid Allan, Senior Planner
Phone: 608-267-2536 / Email