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Author Topic: advise needed, where to procede?  (Read 1315 times)
N4UE
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Posts: 292




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« on: August 23, 2003, 04:59:15 PM »

Hi all. I have some questions that I would like to throw out for advice / steering. Here's the deal:

Last year the XYK and I built a new home here in Florida. We worked with numerous Realtors to find "our dream home site". We found a neighborhood that met our criteria.
We speciffically asked about antenna restrictions. The Realtor produced a copy of the 'by laws'. There is NO Homeowner Assn. (yet!) Since the neighborhood is aprox. 10 years old, the 'by laws' state "no sheet metal roofs", "only three pets per family". That kind of stuff. NOTHING about antennas. My best friend is a ham and lives in the neighborhhod. He has a crank-up tower with a Bencher Skyhawk. (He went through hurricane Andrew in Miami, and wanted to be able to lower his antenna, even though hurricanes, are non-existant here).
Anyway, there are several other homeowners with TV towers, 60-80' high. Before we bought the land, I spoke to the local Zoning and Planning Commissioner. He said: "ham towers are exempt from any regulations".

Starting last month, I have been erecting the 2 towers. I went back to Planning and Zoning and have the written statement from them that it was OK to procede. I provided all the data that they could possibly need concerning concrete, rebar, guy wire (I'm using 1/4" EHS), etc. The official said "go for it, build anything you want".
I was taking my time with the 2 90' Rohns, wanting to do it right. AFTER I had both towers up 1/2 way, my next door neighbor (whose house you cannot see, all these lots are 5 acres and the Oak trees are huge), came up to me and said she was unhappy about my towers.
I told her 'sorry, but I have done my homework, and I am completely in compliance with all regulations". She has a metal roof on her house by the way, and 4 horses, both of which are specifically NOT allowed in the 'bylaws'.
This week she sent around a very nasty letter to all the neighbors stating I was going to ruin the property values, cause TV interference, etc. She is calling for a neighborhood meeting to "rid the area of this blight".
I FAXed her a copy of PRB-1 (of which Florida is signed up for, thank goodness!). I also sent copies of the State and County statutes specifically preventing anyone from preventing the erection of said towers. The main problem appears to be the location of the towers. We have a corner lot and the towers are close to the road and pretty visable. Had she come over and mentioned this to me while I was digging my holes,I MIGHT have considered moving one. She saw me out there every day and waited until I was almost done to complain.
I made copies of the OK from Planning and Zoning, copies of the PRB-1, etc. I went around to the neighbors this AM. With one exception, every neighbor said "I really don't care what you do. I would prefer the towers not be there, but I have no plans to object". I DID have 3 people tell me that they wish I would park my 35' motorhome behind my detached 4 car garage/shop/shack. I did so immediatly. I told them all they would have had to do was ask! I don't like conflict.
The one exception mentioned above was the shocker! He is a neighbor I have done some consulting for, I have helped him set up a machine shop in a nearby town, he is an ex-ham, also. He said "I'll spend $100,000 to make you remove ONE of those towers!" "I'll GIVE you one (big of him, eh?), but that other one has gotta go".
Normally, I wouldn't have cared too much but this guy has the $ to spend and knows everyone around here.
The wierd thing is a couple of years ago, he was cited for building a 'shop' to run his business out of which he catagorically denied. (Businesses run out of the home is also disallowed) He DOES however, continue to run his business from his shop. He gets daily FedEx and UPS deleveries. I know, because I have worked there myself, for him! Talk about two faced!

I plan to consult a Lawyer on Monday. I really don't have the $ to spend on legal fees. Can the ARRL helP?

Where would YOU go from here?

thanks so much in advance!

ron

N4UE
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KE4DRN
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Posts: 3722




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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2003, 11:21:56 PM »

Hi,

Good idea to speak with your lawyer.

Perhaps your lawyer can send a letter to her
and get her to stop what she is doing to you or
face legal action !

We had a similar thing up in ny area, homes were being pruchased by an individual cheap and he rented all of them out to low income people.  All legal to do and the  renters were good people.
Anyway, one lady on our block mails out letters against the investor and his lawyers slammed her with a huge lawsuit. It was settled out of court, she had to take back what she wrote about him, place ads in papers, and pay him some money, maybe a lot of money.

Keep us posted on how this all works out.

73 james
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20595




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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2003, 04:42:14 PM »

It sounds like thus far most of the claims, reports, complaints, or whatever have been verbal...I'd keep everything in writing, whenever possible.

I'd like to see the neighbor who swore he'd spend $100,000 to prevent you from erecting the second tower put that in writing.

Remember, if and when this gets to court, only written or "live" testimony counts.  Everything else is hearsay.

WB2WIK/6
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N4UE
Member

Posts: 292




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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2003, 08:33:27 PM »

An update:
I have received positive input from several Lawyer / Hams, that participate in the ARRL's Volunteer Counsel Program. They told me to closely examine the wording in certain parts of the 'restrictions', especially in reference to "structures". The wording was clear that 'structures" were not to be more than 2 story 'residences'.
Today, my long suffering buddy, neighbor, and fellow ham (who got sucked into this whole mess) came over and spoke to the XYL and I. It appears the other homeowners went to a lawyer who told them they had NO case. Then they went to the County Commissioner who said the same thing!
The Lawyer suggested that they write me a polite letter and ask me to remove one tower. Since my wife is tore up about this whole mess, I have agreed under some conditions:
This is NOT a admission of my being wrong
They will reimburse me for time and materials
They will have to realize that all my yagis that were going on 2 towers, will now reside on one.

I agreed to this for several reasons. I do not want to lower myself to their level. I have been advised to sue and / or put up several more towers!

However, the whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth and we are considering relocating to nearby county. The taxes are MUCH lower there, in addition to being lots of nice, high land out in the country with no neighbors and no restrictions. My buddy has his own 100 yard target range. YES!!

Anyway, it's nice to know that the neighborhood 'blow hard' has the wind taken out of his sails. I feel good that the system does work and 'right is right.

regards,

ron

N4UE
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KE4DRN
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Posts: 3722




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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2003, 08:55:36 PM »

Hi,

Glad to learn that you did the right things before
the towers went up.

Legal action is no picnic, for plantif or defendant.
Be sure to keep your options open, you just don't know how many sleepless nights that nasty letter the lady mailed out has caused you !

Maybe you can offer your place for sale to mr.
neighbor/moneybags and walk away a little richer.

Better yet, sell the place to someone that has lots of kids, some junk cars to park on the lot along with an old school bus rusting and maybe an old airplane ?

The neighbors may wish they left you alone !

73 james
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KG4VBR
Member

Posts: 20




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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2003, 09:24:37 PM »

Try to concentrate on what you are doing right and not on what everyone else is doing wrong.Don't worry about one has a shop on his property,or the other has a metal roof and horses.Finger pointing doesn't work when it gets right down to it.Be sure you have(and it sounds like you have)done everything to the letter of the law.Sometimes a little comprimise goes along way.You have a tough situation there.Stick to what you know is right and legal.Try to keep the wife happy.I wish you luck my friend.Let us know how it works out.Hope this helps.

           JOE KG4VBR
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KD5IR
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2003, 08:38:46 AM »

In today's world when you buy property you need to hold both the relator and current seller of the property accountable by having ALL of their declaration(s) of "no restrictions"  codified by putting them into the sales contract.  In addition , you should also  make them "attest" to the fact that there are no deed restrictions from previous owners  that will restrict towers\structures of any kind.  If , after you close , somebody starts a bitch then you have legal recourse against the previous owner and their relator.   They should be held accountable  for their statements as to the status or lack of restrictions on the property that you purchased.   kd5ir
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2801




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« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2003, 10:33:00 AM »

I've lived in a neighborhood "with CC&Rs" for almost 30 years (same neighborhood).  One of the "rules" was that you couldn't put up a "large antenna" without getting the approval of the Architectural Control Committee.  I wanted to put up a relatively modest 50 foot self-supporting tower with a 2-element quad.  The only place I could install it was quite near the property line.  

As luck would have it, my neighbor on that side was getting ready to retire, and he had a huge RV and a similarly large boat and trailer.  His driveway and parking area was just too small...unless...

He approached me to ask if he could "intrude" on my property so he could widen his driveway.  I made him an offer he just couldn't refuse, and we got it in writing, notarized and filed with the county. He got his wide driveway, and I got my tower and antenna. By this time, the Architectural Control Committee was no more, because the Homeowner's Association hadn't met for several years and it was "legally dead".

The agreement with my neighbor was made a part of any future sale of that house (the buyer gets a nice, wide driveway but must live with the quad hanging over their property line.  So far, no problems from that quarter.

Other neighbors have occasionally dredged up the "CC&Rs" to show me that my antenna is "illegal".  I point out the fact that there is NO Architectural Control Committee any more, and that even if it still existed, these neighbors have fences made of material other than wood (chain link fences are also "illegal"), they have their houses painted colors that the Committee didn't approve --- any number of countercomplaints.  I ask them to please let me know if my radio transmissions disturb their TV or any other of their home systems.  So far, there hasn't been any problems from that quarter either.  
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KG4RUL
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Posts: 2718


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« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2003, 08:46:30 AM »

Yes, the architectual committee may have not met for a number of years but, the covenants are probably still in force.  Additionally, some covenants have a clause similar to this one from the subdivision where I live:

2. If the parties hereto, to any of their heirs of assigns, shall violate or attempt to violate any of the covenants herein, it shall be lawful for ANY PERSON owning real property in said subdivision to prosecute any proceeding at law or in equity against the person or persons violating or attempting to violate any such covenant and either to prevent such violation or to recover damages or other due therefore.

If your fellow property owners don't like what you are doing, they don't even have to wait for the board/committees to act.  They can cost you a HUGE amount of money just to defend yourself!

Dennis - KG4RUL
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2801




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« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2003, 11:49:06 PM »

As it was explained to me, in Washington State, if the Homeowners' Association does not meet for some period of time (like five years or so), it's gone for good, and the CC&Rs are void.

Even so, there's not one house in this area that fully meets the covenential requirements for number of vehicles, color of house, fence material and so on.  I would simply countersue:  you want my antenna out?  Fine.  You change the siding on your house, get rid of your dog (or keep it inside), lose two of your cars...and so on.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
N4UE
Member

Posts: 292




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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2003, 08:20:28 PM »

Update.........

I would like to thank each and everyone who replied to this 'situation', especially those who have replied to me directly. I have contacted several of the Lawyer / Hams who participate in the ARRL's Volunteer Council Program. Great advise from all, and free, too!!! I now know that the 'good neighbors' have zero chance of winning any type of court battle. I have decided that there is a precedence here, and I will NOT be bullied by some 'neighbors'. I have received some harrassing and annoyance phone calls (obviously an act of desperation on their part). I have taken the legal steps to prosucute those involved. I have opened a complaint with the Sherrif and other details I do not wish to share here, at this time.
 As I explained earlier, there is NO homeowners assn, and I have written approval by Planning and Zoning. There is NO restriction against antennas, as there are 4 TV towers in this area. One of my towers was bought from a neighbor, and simply reinstalled on my property!!!
One of the Lawyers involved, thinks this whole thing is so lobsided as to be 'almost' humorous. Maybe to him, but I have to live here. Other options are being considered including a HUGE countersuit.
Being a Viet Nam vet, I would like to think that my tour of duty was not in vain. Right will pervail!

God Bless America!!


ron

N4UE
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WA1SFH
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2003, 12:02:24 AM »

Personally, I would continue with the orignal plan.
Be nice about it, but be firm ...and thank them for their interest. ;-)
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N4UE
Member

Posts: 292




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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2003, 06:31:58 PM »

Hi, one of my Lawyers (!!) drafted a letter stating I was going to procede with my original plans and tough luck if you don't like it. I WAS willing to remove one tower. However the Chicken S--- person I sent my proposal to (yes, another ham, if you can believe it!) destroyed the letter. That's when the neighbors sued us.

Our court date is Dec. 18th. I have hired the best Lawyer in town (also the most $). These 'good neighbors' even print out my postings here, in an effort to use this against me! How would you like to live near these POS people!
We moved to Florida thinking the mentality here was acceptable. Let me tell you, some people make fun of Ky and Tenn people because they are 'Rednecks'. Man, Northern Florida is the WORLD Capitol!!!

Since they have treated both my poor wife and I with such disrespect, I am right now putting together plans for 2 MORE TOWERS! How do you like that! ha ha

73

ron

N4UE
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N0IU
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2004, 09:12:49 AM »

I have told my tale of woe a few times in this forum and it looks like Ron has run into the same thing I did. The “Reader’s Digest” version of the story is that my wife and I bought a house on a 3 acre lot and the word “antenna” is not mentioned anywhere in the CC&Rs. Unlike in Ron’s case, the president of the  HOA didn’t come to me after I put up my 22’ Cushcraft R7 vertical, but rather went around with a petition to prohibit ALL outdoor antennas (except for satellite dishes 24” in diameter or less) to all the homeowners (there are only 14 of us). As you would expect, the only homeowner that did not sign it was me! Of course that antenna and the 270’ Carolina windom antenna were grandfathered and they could not make me take them down. This was several years ago. Everyone in the subdivision has our phone number and in the almost five years since this occurred, I have only received one telephone call accusing me of interference. (It was actually on our answering machine when we weren’t even home!)

Now here’s the funny part. With all this heightened concern about homeland security since 9/11, one of the residents took a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) class. In this class, she learned just how crucial amateur radio can be in the event of an emergency. At our last HOA meeting, she told us all about the class then made the statement, “Now when there is an emergency and our telephones are out, we can all go over to Scott’s house because he is a ham radio operator!” Ah, how quickly they forget!

Now I could have said a lot of things at that point (some of which involve performing un-natural acts upon themselves), but as many have said here and on other posts, I am not going to lower myself to their level. After all, the whole point here is to be a good will ambassador for ham radio and in the event of some sort of disaster, there is no way I would turn any one away.

73,
de Scott NØIU
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N4UE
Member

Posts: 292




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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2004, 08:49:05 AM »

Just as an update, we have sold the house. We got a nice price for it.
Could be the new owner is a ham? Could be.
Perhaps he is planning even more towers? Maybe he's a
Lawyer too?
Ha ha ha............

Life is sweet!!!

ron

N4UE
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