They shouldn't because Pennsylvania never codified PRB-1. Half the states did, but not that one.
My state (CA) codified it many years ago, in fact two Governors ago. It's state law here.
Actually PA did. PA Senate bill 884 is now Act 88. http://www.ddxa.org/Act88.html
James, Great minds think alike. I did call my State rep. who is, unfortunately, friends with the supervisor of town counsel. Luckily he was recently voted out and I'll try that approach when the new member begins in January. The local paper ran a story on the situation, and even blasted the town for "excessive red tape" and gave amateur radio two thumbs up for public service. They mentioned my MARS participation and commented on my nightly involvement (11 PM- 3 AM) for several consecutive nights during the recent disaster in Haiti. And even cited my relaying info directly from Andrews Air Force Base. (with the Salvation Army Net)
I contacted both local TV stations, but they weren't interested in the story.
I did contact Fred Hopengarten who was nice enough to respond to my email. He suggested that I buy his book that was supposed to be available in late November, but still, as of today, hasn't been released.
I just want to thank everyone for the comments and support and suggestions. We're all in this together and it helps to know that I'm not alone!
It just boggles my mind that we, as amateur radio operators, are recognized by the Federal Government with orders from the FCC such as:
Federal Preemption PRB-1
A Federal Order issued in 1985 which preempts the authority of state and local zoning laws regulating amateur radio structures.
“State and local regulations that operate to preclude amateur communications in their communities are in direct conflict with federal objectives and MUST be preempted.”
“Because amateur station communications are only as effective as the antennas employed, antenna height restrictions directly affect the effectiveness of amateur communications. Some amateur antenna configurations require more substantial installations than others if they are to provide the amateur operator with the communications that he/she desires to engage in.”
“ local regulations which involve placement, screening, or height of antennas based on health, safety, or aesthetic considerations MUST be crafted to accommodate reasonably amateur communications, and to represent the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the local authority's legitimate purpose.”
Language subsequently issued as a Federal Regulation (Title 47 CFR § 97.15):
“Except as otherwise provided herein, a station antenna structure MAY be erected at heights and dimensions sufficient to accommodate amateur service communications.
State and local regulation of a station antenna MUST reasonably accommodate such communication and MUST constitute the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the state or local authority’s legitimate purpose.”
Public Law 103-408--Joint Resolution of Congress to Recognize the Achievements of Radio Amateurs as Public Policy
Public Law 103-408--Oct. 22, 1994
Public Law 103-408
Section 1, Paragraph 3”
“(3) reasonable accommodation should be made for the effective operation of amateur radio from residences, private vehicles and public areas, and that regulation at all levels of government should facilitate and encourage amateur radio operation as a public benefit.”
According to the Federal Government, Municipalities Must:
-Reasonably accommodate amateur communication
-Apply only the minimum practical regulation to accomplish the authority’s legitimate purpose
-Must permit heights and dimensions sufficient to accommodate amateur communications.
According to the federal Government, Municipalities Must Not:
-Preclude amateur communication.
-“Precluding amateur communication is in direct conflict with federal objectives and MUST be preempted.”
-MUST not engage in balancing their enactments against the interest that the Federal Government has in amateur radio, but rather must reasonably accommodate amateur communications.
-“given this express Commission language, it is clear that a ‘balancing of interests’ approach is not appropriate in this context.”
The Federal order ( PRB-1) concludes:
“Obviously, we do not have the staff or financial resources to review all state and local laws that affect amateur operations. We are confident, however, that state and local governments will endeavor to legislate in a manner that affords appropriate recognition to the important federal interest at stake here and thereby avoid unnecessary conflicts with federal policy, as well as time-consuming and expensive litigation in this area. Amateur operators who believe that local or state governments have been overreaching and thereby have precluded accomplishment of their legitimate communications goals, may, in addition, use this document to bring our policies to the attention of local tribunals and forums.”
From the FCC & ARRL web site:
“The courts have tended to agree that reasonable accommodation does require that a town adhere to a certain process. The reasonable accommodation standard has been interpreted to mean that a town must:
consider the application;
make factual findings; and
attempt to negotiate a satisfactory compromise with the applicant.
Under a reasonable accommodate standard, consideration of an application does not terminate if it is determined that the requested antenna structure is not permitted under local regulation. Reasonable accommodation requires that the local board should then consider what steps must be taken to "reasonably accommodate" amateur radio communications. A town must apply its regulations in a manner that reasonably accommodates amateur communications.
In considering the steps necessary to provide reasonable accommodation, a board may not balance the interests of the town in regulating local land use matters against the interest that the Federal Government has in amateur radio. The Commission has already done that balancing and issued a Federal rule that requires the board to accommodate amateur communications.”
I'm a simple man and still can not get it through my rather thick cranium why, with such express language, from The Federal Government (State PRB-1 laws aside) municipalities frequently thumb their nose at Federal orders. I, in my limited understanding of law, read that clearly it is the town that should accommodate me, not the reverse.
As an electrician and understanding code, I know that wording in regulation is important. Some codes say "should" which means, basically, it's a good idea. When the word "MUST" or "SHALL" (instead of "should) is applied, this is something, written in stone, as an absolute requirement.