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eHam Forums => Antenna Restrictions => Topic started by: AA2HA on December 14, 2010, 07:30:48 PM



Title: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AA2HA on December 14, 2010, 07:30:48 PM
Hi to all. I'm hoping someone may be able to give me some guidance. Now disabled for two years (auto accident) and attempting to live on Social security has been a real challenge for myself and my family. Formerly a very active and athletic fellow, conforming to this new sedentary lifestyle has proven difficult. One of the remaining leisure activities that afford some solace and gratification is amateur radio. A few years ago I moved from the NYC metro area to PA. I live on a 2.7 acre parcel. After two dipoles broke (I had to hire a tree company) and experiencing radio silence for the last several months, My friends and family chipped-in and purchased a 70' free-standing tower for me. Since PA has a PRB-1 law (Senate bill 884, act 88), the Federal PRB-1 and the fact that I live on nearly three acres in a very rural area, I thought this would be as easy as filing for a zoning permit. I could have not been more wrong.
 At first, I was denied and told that "no towers are allowed on private property in the township" I forwarded a copy of the PA senate bill and PRB-1 to the township. They advised me that they had to submit this to the township solicitor (attorney) for an opinion.
 Basically the attorney concluded that since the township has no such zoning permitted, it is "A use not provided for" I would have to pay the following fees, just to meet with the board to even consider the matter. 
$600.00 Special application fee
$600.00 to meet with the board
Hire a stenographer to record the meeting (price unknown)
Secretarial fees (amount unknown)
Mailing fees (amount unknown)
Engineer fee (unknown amount)
A list of all property owners within 300' of my property
I assume this cost would be in the thousands just for them to hear "my side". I can not afford this!
 I spoke to a nice gentleman from the VC program that advised me that clearly the township is wrong. And that ham radio antenna structures are a "permitted accessory use" of  residential property and not a "use not provided for."
 I have two options as the town refuses to deny or issue my zoning permit. (all they keep saying is that it is "a use not provided for")
A. Hire a lawyer, which I can not afford
B. Take a chance with the zoning board, which I also can not afford and may may be denied.
Anyone that may have an idea or may be able to help in any way, please let me know. Thanks!

Yes, I have have written respectful letters. I have been a MARS member for years and an antenna on the tower will serve as a RACES link. None of this seems to matter or impress the local zoning board. As I've said, I moved to a rural are- There is no mayor to appeal to and the town counsel are the very same folks that sit on the zoning board.

Any comments, suggestions or help is greatly appreciated, Tim


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: K1CJS on December 15, 2010, 04:35:02 AM
Try contacting the section manager of the ARRL for your area.  They may be able to do something for you.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KH6AQ on December 15, 2010, 06:10:47 AM
The ARRL can help you find a ham attorney who may do work for you pro bono. You still have to pay the fees. Are you an ARRL member?

An alternative is to install something like a 5BTV vertical. Is a tower really needed?


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: K5LXP on December 15, 2010, 12:48:41 PM
> At first, I was denied and told that "no towers are allowed on private property in the township"

Do you have a copy of the zoning ordinance?  It would be worth a read.  It's important to know just how your parcel is zoned, and how towers are defined.

I agree that they are typically considered an accessory structure, like a shed.  Attaching it to your house may be one way to circumvent any separate structure issues.

Sometimes amateur towers are lumped in with commercial towers and you have to convince them you're not commercial.  This could be just a variance.  Or, change how your parcel is zoned.

You can do a lot of the homework regarding the existing code, coming up with  examples of existing structures and their permitting and overall understanding just exactly what you need to do to get this thing installed without spending any money or getting anyone else involved.  If you just wave PRB-1 and ARES in their face you're going to get, well, what you just got.  They don't care, and they shouldn't.  You need to sell it purely on the legal basis as a property owner in that community.  I can't believe there's not one other 70' structure in that entire area.  What about light poles? Cell towers?  Billboards?  Wind mills?

The ARRL is not going to come in like a knight on a white charger.  The legal defense committee has a limited budget , things have to get pretty ugly for you, and they'll only contribute a portion of the $ and legal advice you need.

It still may require a special use permit or zoning variance and that will cost you.  A properly installed tower will cost thousands in services and material, so if a permit fee is scaring you off you may want to reconsider.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AA2HA on December 16, 2010, 12:15:06 PM
I have contacted my section manager who advised me to join a local club. Unfortunately, that's nearly an hour ride and being disabled, this is almost an impossibility. I've contacted the ARRl (I'm not currently a member) and left a few voice mails but haven't received any return calls.
 I agree with you Mark, I've read as much legal case law as I could find. It seems that the usual decision is that amateur radio antenna and support structures have been found to be customary accessory use devices. My Township solicitor (advising attorney) disagrees.  He has stated that this is "A use not specifically provided for" in township zoning. The township ordinance which they site (and refuse to offer me a zoning permit under) Is "Use not provided for." I have no problem paying application fees, but this could easily cost 3,000-4,000 bucks, maybe more just to present my side. This, I do have a problem with. I suppose what I fail to understand is this: Why should it be MY obligation, as John Q Citizen, to pay thousands of dollars for my township to comply with State and Federal law? Perhaps I'm missing something here.
 I already have the tower (nearly $6,000) was generously raised by family and friends and delivered here several months ago in an attempt to occupy some time and afford me some comfort.  I can assure you that since being disabled, I have very limited recreational activities left. The tower is very important to me. I live in the woods, and I mean dense forest. Ground mounted verticals aren't going to be very effective and, as previously stated, a RACES link will also be mounted to the tower for 900 MHz. I absolutely need to be above tree level. I believe 70 feet to be a modest height.
 The 900 MHz antenna and repeater (along with 7/8 hardline) will be supplied by the RACES repeater group. I only wish to hang a fan dipole for the time being and hope to add a 10/15/20 meter band beam when funds permit.
 As far as other structured, Yes Mark, they have Flag poles of that size at all three local schools only feet from the buildings and the ultimate thumb-in-the-eye scenario, one in front of the very Township building that refuses to issue me a permit!
 It just seems unfortunate that we have a PRB-1 law in PA that is supposed to supersede local law, and at least two federal orders, PRB-1 and Title 47 CFR § 97.15): Act 88, but cities, towns and municipalities ignore them unless you're fortunate enough to be in a financial position to challenge them.  It's sad indeed.
 
 
 


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: WB2WIK on December 16, 2010, 03:29:54 PM
I have contacted my section manager who advised me to join a local club. Unfortunately, that's nearly an hour ride and being disabled, this is almost an impossibility. I've contacted the ARRl (I'm not currently a member) and left a few voice mails but haven't received any return calls.

I'd encourage you to join.  Then you don't actually need to contact the League directly, just the Volunteer Counsel closest to you.  There are ten in PA, one of whom I know personally (Chris WA3CMP): http://www.arrl.org/system/vcs/search/page:1/Entity.state:PA/model:Entity

Quote
This, I do have a problem with. I suppose what I fail to understand is this: Why should it be MY obligation, as John Q Citizen, to pay thousands of dollars for my township to comply with State and Federal law? Perhaps I'm missing something here.

It can be like that in places that I have carefully avoided living, by doing a lot of advance research prior to each move.  But these issues certainly exist.  Where I live (Los Angeles) is extremely "ham friendly" and has written amateur radio towers specifically into local code (towers are allowed).  However some very nearby communities aren't, and require a Conditional Use Permit for almost anything.  A CUP "application" can easily cost $2500 and is no guarantee of getting approval -- that's just the non-refundable application fee, for a hearing.  It also involves a lot of paperwork and notifying all neighbors within 500 feet (or something) of the time and date of your hearing in case they want to show up and object.


 
 


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EY on December 16, 2010, 03:51:47 PM
Sorry to hear about all the troubles.

Couple of points:

First, the tower:

- Where you live may be rural but it's also close to a number of areas that are very sensitive (Delaware Water Gap, parks, Bushkill Falls, etc.). It's a resort/recreation area, too.

- There are probably some hams in your township; do any of them have towers?

- Your friends & family meant well, but buying a tower before there was permission wasn't a good idea. From what I have seen, often the tower itself is the least expensive part! Besides permits and other fees, there's the foundation, construction costs, grounding system, antennas, feedlines, rotators, etc. Plus recurring costs such as maintenance and insurance. Is it possible to sell or return the tower and get at least some of the money back?

- Join the ARRL, they will help. But they cannot do it all; their resources are limited too.

- You need qualified legal counsel. Yes, it shouldn't be that way, but that's how it is in many places today. The locals are trying to do what they think is best for the community, which often doesn't include amateur radio because they have no experience of amateur radio.

---

Now for the antenna issue:

You have lots of trees - why not a wire dipole, or a loop? You mentioned that two dipoles broke - why did they break? How were they put up? What were they made of?

A dipole or loop won't solve the tower problem, but such an antenna will get you on the air. That's important, both for your own state of mind and for the tower issue.

Hams have been putting wire antennas in trees since spark days. You may need a tree company to get the lines back up, but once that's done it should be possible to do all work from ground level if the installation is done the right way.

Good luck!

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AA2HA on December 16, 2010, 09:19:00 PM
Hey Jim,

 I am near those areas but in a private community. I have the blessing of the board and president of our community, so no CC&R issues. It's funny, my family and friends (including two fellow hams) checked the PA Senate bill which expressly preempts towns in PA from regulating amateur radio towers and, as I would have, assumed no issues. But we all know what happens when we assume.
 I wish I could afford legal counsel. A Union electrician for over 30 years, although not a rich man, never had financial difficulties. Attempting to live on Social Security has been a rude awakening.
 The first antenna was a G5RV Sr. (204 feet long) installed in an inverted V fashion. It was made with 10 ga. copper THHN wire. What happened to that one? I can only assume, but bordering miles of State Land (Delaware State Forest), kids routinely drive ATV's through a path on my property. All I know for sure is that one day, someone got one of the ends of the antenna (it was supported by Dacron rope  through a pulley with a weight on the end) up about 10 feet. They took the weight, rope and 102' of copper for that end.
 Unable to climb, I called the tree company back (at another $250.00, plus materials) had them hang my newly made G5RV Sr. with 12 ga. copper-clad steel (really strong stuff, something like 900 lb. break strength) and had them support the weights much higher. As my luck would have it, a mere two months later, an ice storm toppled a very large pine tree...you guessed it right onto the antenna. (this is exactly why I don't buy lottery tickets).
 Some of the issues are the almost all of the large trees are very tall, very thin pine trees that sway vary badly in the wind. I lose trees every winter to ice and wind. There is a fairly large clearing on my property where the previous owner was going to build a "mother-in-law" home. A nice clearing in the woods, perfect for a tower, and out of the fall-range of any trees! There are even three 2 1/2" conduits already run underground to the site. They're begging to be filled with coax and rotor cable.  :)
 


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AA2HA on December 16, 2010, 09:40:57 PM
Hey Steve,

 What part of Jersey are you from? I lived in Nutley most of my life. I'm jealous that while you bask in the sun in CA, it's been in the low teens to single digits back here for the last week (at night) and in the 20's days.
 Unfortunately all those attorneys are more than 150 miles from me. I did consult three attorneys from that list. One advised me to "do a Google search and find a closer lawyer." Another was helpful, but also stated he was too far away. A third was extremely helpful and offered to write a letter to the township attorney!!! That was three weeks ago and I haven't heard back from him. I understand that they don't have to do this and I'm sure they're busy. All agree that the township is "clearly wrong" and must accommodate me (by law), but it would most likely take an attorney to represent me. Again, I'm back to either paying 3-4K for an attorney or 3-4K to the town.
 Unfortunately, neither are viable options at this time and amount to the same thing. As the township zoning officer stated "You'll pave the way for the next guy." Lucky him or her. :) I wish I were the second guy. lol


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KF7CG on December 17, 2010, 04:36:12 AM
Too bad you already have the tower! You could put up a silo of good height (I suspect that that woulddn't raise any eyebrows. A silo might make a nice antenna support and would be allowed. You could shunt load it to0 and use it for a broader banded vertical.

Most of the zoning and planning board types are masters at straining at gnats and swallowing camels.

Is a windmill permissible? Many of my "older" Amateur friends used "windmill" towers to support quite large beams. A windmill tower (old style without windmill) even looks like a "radio" tower.

Just some conversation points.

KF7CG


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N1DVJ on December 17, 2010, 08:17:16 AM
Is a windmill permissible? Many of my "older" Amateur friends used "windmill" towers to support quite large beams. A windmill tower (old style without windmill) even looks like a "radio" tower.
Heck, I'd put up the windmill.  Then maybe 'add' the antenna after a year or so.

Also, there's usually a minimum height.  Can you go 40 feet without a permit?  Go the 40 for now, then in a year or two ask for the permit to go higher.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KH6AQ on December 17, 2010, 09:20:10 AM
THHN doesn't last long with moving trees. The Wireman #531, #13 AWG, 19 strand 40% copper-clad steel with a tough coating is recommended for through-the-trees installation.

Add an amp.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: WB2WIK on December 17, 2010, 10:05:24 AM
Hey Steve,

 What part of Jersey are you from? I lived in Nutley most of my life. I'm jealous that while you bask in the sun in CA, it's been in the low teens to single digits back here for the last week (at night) and in the 20's days.

I grew up in Springfield, only about probably 15 miles or so from Nutley.  I hated the WX back there and moved to L.A. 23 years ago.  WX is better here. :)

Quote
Unfortunately all those attorneys are more than 150 miles from me. I did consult three attorneys from that list. One advised me to "do a Google search and find a closer lawyer." Another was helpful, but also stated he was too far away. A third was extremely helpful and offered to write a letter to the township attorney!!! That was three weeks ago and I haven't heard back from him. I understand that they don't have to do this and I'm sure they're busy. All agree that the township is "clearly wrong" and must accommodate me (by law), but it would most likely take an attorney to represent me. Again, I'm back to either paying 3-4K for an attorney or 3-4K to the town.

Did you contact Chris WA3CMP?  He's definitely 150 miles from you but he's an old friend of mine.  If you haven't contacted him, try that and tell him I said hello.

Quote
Unfortunately, neither are viable options at this time and amount to the same thing. As the township zoning officer stated "You'll pave the way for the next guy." Lucky him or her. :) I wish I were the second guy. lol

The whole thing is unfortunate.  I don't know if you lived in Nutley back in about 1979-80 or so, but if you did and remember the West Orange Repeater Tower battle, I was involved in that a bit.  Mike WA2JSB put up a repeater at his home, just down about 100' below the summit of Eagle Rock (reservation ridge) in West Orange, so he needed about a 100' tower to clear that and have any coverage.  The town fought him and fought him and fought him, and it became a big case of Mike vs. the city Zoning Board.

Thankfully one of the club members and regular repeater users was a ham who was also a successful attorney (Harvard grad, young guy) and offered to represent Mike for free.  I think he had fun with it.

About 100 hams showed up for the hearing, it was standing room only.  I can't remember the lawyer's callsign offhand, but his name was Jim.  He chewed up and spit out the entire Zoning Board, citing them with numerous violations of state code and all sorts of crap he was able to dig up.  They all had their tails between their legs after this hearing, and the zoning ordinance was immediately revised to allow "amateur radio towers up to 100 feet in height" without the need for a variance or use permit.  As far as I know, that ordinance still stands.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KF7CG on December 17, 2010, 10:29:05 AM
If you have to go the Lawsuit Route, see if you can find a way to force the township to pay all the legal costs since it is abundantly clear that they are using the threat of high legal and/or permitting fees to effectively ban towers. This appears to be significant contempt for the laws under which they must operate and maybe someone could send them to their just rewards while getting them to pay for the ticket.

KF7CG


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: K1CJS on December 17, 2010, 11:24:41 AM
Quote
If you just wave PRB-1......in their face you're going to get, well, what you just got.  They don't care, and they shouldn't.

They shouldn't care about Federal laws?  I disagree--they should.  But, as you stated, many of them don't care--until someone with muscle (meaning money) gets them in hot water.  Those fees (as they are stated in this thread) are unreasonable--and THAT would come under the PRB-1 law.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KE4DRN on December 17, 2010, 04:42:37 PM
hi Tim,

Try calling your local Rep and Senator, they may be able to help.
A few phone calls can get the local board moving.

The local TV station troubleshooter can also help, some TV
coverage will help your cause and make the board look foolish.

take a look at this topic

http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,72013.0.html

You may be able to do the same thing that was done for this case.
Existing case law may also help you.  That is why you need a lawyer
that is an expert in these matters.

Thompson's attorney, Fred Hopengarten of Massachusetts, a legal expert
in telecommunications law, helped convince the county state's attorney
office that the county zoning law was trumped by Federal Communications Commission
law that allowed for construction of ham radio towers.

http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1428447220/Opposition-to-radio-tower-farm-pushes-on

Keep us posted.

73 james


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: WB2WIK on December 17, 2010, 07:18:51 PM
If you just wave PRB-1......in their face you're going to get, well, what you just got.  They don't care, and they shouldn't.


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.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: K1CJS on December 18, 2010, 03:45:46 AM
.....The local TV station troubleshooter can also help, some TV
coverage will help your cause and make the board look foolish.....

It may also strengthen their resolve to stop you in any way they can.  Some public officials are like that--make them look bad and you can kiss any compromises goodbye.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AA2HA on December 18, 2010, 01:16:03 PM



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
103d Congress
Joint Resolution
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.


 


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EHG on December 19, 2010, 04:39:45 AM
I find it strange  and  criminal that the town board wants  a  600$ fee  just to meet them.  I've  presented before  many boards  and have not heard that before.

 Not  really an  authority perhaps this is common? Just seems  really   unreasonable,  Do towns typically  charge  residents  to present?


N2EHG


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EY on December 19, 2010, 05:47:56 AM
Not  really an  authority perhaps this is common? Just seems  really   unreasonable,  Do towns typically  charge  residents  to present?

It all depends on thje location and the rules/mindset in force there.

In this case, the mindset is that "radio towers" are a special use of a property, for commercial purposes. The idea that a resident might want one for noncommercial purposes never occurred to them. They view it as a safety/zoning issue - the person wantin the tower is asking for special permission, an exemption to the rules.

Since it's a special exception, (the mindset says) why should the taxpayers pay for it? Let the person asking for the special permission pay the costs of the application. It's just a cost of doing business.

Also, the cost of the fees is small compared to the overall cost of the installation.

In the case of a commercial installation, all of the above does make a certain kind of sense. Look at the total cost of a cell tower, with foundation, commercial tower, antennas, feedlines, backup power, lightning protection, professional installation with crane rental, etc., etc., and a couple of thousand in fees is pocket change. 

Of course what we hams know, and what PRB-1 says, is that amateur radio antennas are a completely different thing. But that particular local board doesn't realize it yet.

Also, fees are a revenue stream for the local government. They are often much more politically acceptable than tax increases. Fees only affect those who are building something; taxes affect everyone who owns property.

I'm NOT saying any of this is how it should be. I'm saying that's how it is, and that we have to understand it in order to deal with it.

The irony is that such mindsets are a direct result of the "small government/low taxes/minimal regulation" mindset. Same as CC&Rs.

The township folks aren't saying you can't have a tower; they're just saying that you have to go through their process (which costs some money) to get permission.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: K1DA on December 19, 2010, 10:29:16 AM
   His problems fit in with a "minimal regulation mindset"????????   


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AA2HA on December 19, 2010, 12:37:04 PM
I find it strange  and  criminal that the town board wants  a  600$ fee  just to meet them.  I've  presented before  many boards  and have not heard that before.

 Not  really an  authority perhaps this is common? Just seems  really   unreasonable,  Do towns typically  charge  residents  to present?


N2EHG

It's not just a $600 fee either. It's $600.00 for the special permit, and additional $600.00 to meet with the board, I must pay a stenographer to record the entire meeting and decision (I have no idea what that would cost, but I'd assume not a small amount), Secretarial fees (who knows what that means or how much), and engineering fee (to have a certified engineer cheek the manufacturer's specs. Again I have no idea what that would cost, but again, I'm sure we're not talking a few bucks), mailing fees (for "correspondence" and sending all property owners within 300' of my property registered or certified letters) These fees could be well into the $3,000+ range or perhaps much more)

 I even tried a different approach. The PA State Senate Bill, Act 88 states:
"No ordinance, regulation, plan or any other action shall restrict amateur radio antenna height to less than 65 feet above ground level."

So... I resubmitted my zoning application for a 60 foot tower (leaving one section out) and a 5 foot mast for a total of 65 feet, which, according to PA law, they may not regulate. It was also rejected as "A use not provided for."  I was told "It doesn't matter, if it's not on our books, it's a use not provided for."  ??? Isn't it provided for under state law?

Actually, they've not officially rejected me in writing, all they will say it's "A use not provided for" and being determined to be such, the above fees apply for consideration. I did receive a registered letter on Friday stating that if I didn't pay the fees, my application will be rejected because it will expire. Which means an additional $150.00 will need to be paid when and if I reapply for a new permit.
 


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EY on December 19, 2010, 05:14:07 PM
   His problems fit in with a "minimal regulation mindset"????????   

As I previously wrote, they are the result of the "small government/low taxes/minimal regulation" mindset. Same as CC&Rs.

Here's why:

"Small government" in this case means they don't have a lot of knowledgeable people running things. (If they did, they'd know about PRB-1 and that the Commonwealth had adopted it).

"Low taxes" in this case means there are all sorts of fees so the cost of applications is borne by the person making the application, not the taxpayers.

"Minimal regulation" in this case means that they simply ban all sorts of things rather than have lots of regulations to deal with them. "No towers on residential properties" is about as minimal as you can get.


73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: K6OK on December 19, 2010, 06:12:01 PM
I did receive a registered letter on Friday stating that if I didn't pay the fees, my application will be rejected because it will expire. Which means an additional $150.00 will need to be paid when and if I reapply for a new permit.

Many cities and counties will waive fees for low income applicants.  Perhaps you could write back and ask for a full or partial waiver based on your status and income.



Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: K1DA on December 20, 2010, 05:52:03 PM
   "Minimal" to me would mean little or NO regulation of  amateur towers.  Anyone familiar with how bureaucrats "work" knows that the more of 'em, there are, the more rules and regulations there will be.  The Federal Government is a prime example.  They can't "regulate" far enough or fast enough. 

   I might go out on a limb and suggest the notion that "all things are prohibited unless specifically PERMITTED"  is not how property law works, at least around here, where unless you enumerate what you wish to regulate, you have not "regulated" it at all. 


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: WB2WIK on December 21, 2010, 09:31:54 AM


   I might go out on a limb and suggest the notion that "all things are prohibited unless specifically PERMITTED"  is not how property law works, at least around here, where unless you enumerate what you wish to regulate, you have not "regulated" it at all. 

That's the way regulations are supposed to work; it goes back to the Ten Commandments, where #1, #4 and #5 are feel-goods and the other seven are all "Thou Shalt Nots."

It's impossible to "regulate" what you can do.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EY on December 22, 2010, 06:58:12 PM
   "Minimal" to me would mean little or NO regulation of  amateur towers. 

Me too. But that's not how the folks who make the rules see it. To them, "minimal regulation" can mean simply not allowing towers at all. That's a lot simpler than having all the regulations needed to allow them.

This is one reason the folks who write CC&Rs put in "no antennas" rules. That way, they don't have to judge which antennas are allowed and which aren't.

Anyone familiar with how bureaucrats "work" knows that the more of 'em, there are, the more rules and regulations there will be. 

Which isn't always a bad thing.

We live in a complex technological society, so there needs to be a reasonable level of regulations to match.

The Federal Government is a prime example.  They can't "regulate" far enough or fast enough. 

Just the opposite. For 30 years the Feds have been busy de-regulating. That's why we had the recent financial crisis and why the real estate market tanked.

It used to be that there were tight regulations on banking, investing, and particularly home mortgages. The rules were written in such a way that it was quite difficult for most people to get in over their heads with a mortgage; the banks simply weren't allowed to lend you too much money.

But the deregulation craze that started about 1980 swept away most of those rules, and the lenders and borrowers went wild. The result was quite a mess, and will take years to climb out of.

Or consider FCC. Do you think they adequately regulate RF noise sources? I don't!
 
   I might go out on a limb and suggest the notion that "all things are prohibited unless specifically PERMITTED"  is not how property law works, at least around here, where unless you enumerate what you wish to regulate, you have not "regulated" it at all. 

The point is that AA2HA lives in a place where the local govt. decided that it was simpler to just not allow towers on residential properties. That their policy violates state law hasn't occurred to them.

---

One of the ironies of all this is that often the places that are most "red" seem to have the most draconian anti-antenna regulations, while the places which are the most "blue" seem to have the least. Compare WB2WIK's experiences in LAX with those of AA2HA in Pike County, PA.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AB4D on December 23, 2010, 06:45:08 AM
Not  really an  authority perhaps this is common? Just seems  really   unreasonable,  Do towns typically  charge  residents  to present?

It all depends on thje location and the rules/mindset in force there.

In this case, the mindset is that "radio towers" are a special use of a property, for commercial purposes. The idea that a resident might want one for noncommercial purposes never occurred to them. They view it as a safety/zoning issue - the person wanting the tower is asking for special permission, an exemption to the rules.


That was exactly the case when I applied for a permit to erect a tower at my home.  The code for my county only addresses towers and antenna supports for commercial installations, which require the payment of a large fee to obtain a conditional use permit. When I went to apply for a building permit, the county building department was convinced that all towers must be treated as a commercial venture, and therefore I must obtain a CUP with an initial fee of $600.00.

Before proceeding further, I asked for a meeting with the director of zoning, and prepared a package with as much "in my favor" information I could locate (PRB-1, VA code 15.2-2293.1, Amateur Radio publications from the FCC and ARRL), to explain about the ARS and that it was totally noncommercial.

I was able to convince zoning to direct the building department to relax the rules for my amateur radio tower installation, no CUP, and I just had to follow the normal building inspection process.  The saving grace for me; the county attorney determined from the package I provided that I was preempted because of PRB-1 and VA code 15.2-2293.1.

I believe that if I had not presented the favorable information and performed the necessary research beforehand, the outcome may have been far different.  IMO anyone who is contemplating installing a tower for amateur radio, and your local jurisdiction does not have a code on the books which addresses noncommercial towers, you should prepare to educate the county. A great many people have never heard of amateur radio or know our purpose, those who have heard of ham radio, usually lump us in with CB radio and think "oh no, TV and telephone interference."

I wish you good luck obtaining a permit for your tower.







Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 23, 2010, 06:32:34 PM
Have you figured out that you shouldn't have applied for a permit in the first place yet and instead should have used the effort to paint the tower and antennas flat black or go the flag pole or silo route? Never apply for a permit. You are just making it harder for other hams when you do that!  :-\

Also, notice that the only support that you are getting is from the newspaper because of "public service." That is why it is so important to ham radio. Some of these hams are so self-centered they wouldn't help an old lady across the street and it hurts the hobby.  :'(

I am noting however that you seem to be able to buy a lot of property and engage in hobbies on Social Security. Things can't be that bad.  ;)


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EY on December 23, 2010, 07:10:12 PM
Have you figured out that you shouldn't have applied for a permit in the first place yet and instead should have used the effort to paint the tower and antennas flat black or go the flag pole or silo route? Never apply for a permit. You are just making it harder for other hams when you do that!  :-\

The problem with that approach is that it can backfire in a big way.

All it takes is for someone to drop a dime on you. Then the folks who give out permits can make you remove it, plus fines, costs, etc. And just try getting a permit after the fact!

Of course IMHO the township is in the wrong in this case because they have made getting a permit unreasonably expensive and difficult. The gov't *does* have a responsibility to make sure the tower is installed safely and in accordance with good engineering practice, but that's a straightforward process, same as with any construction.

I am noting however that you seem to be able to buy a lot of property and engage in hobbies on Social Security. Things can't be that bad.  ;)

I suspect that AA2HA sold his place in an urban part of 2-land and bought his current home with the proceeds. One reason for the move may have been lower living costs.

IIRC, the tower was bought for him; he didn't spend a dime for it.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 23, 2010, 07:43:18 PM
Most hams I know don't apply for permits and have no problem. The people that have problems do apply for permits. These days, you have to be smarter than the government to be a ham. If your not, you shouldn't be messing with high voltage equipment. ;)

We are talking about only a 70 foot tall tower on almost 3 acres of land. The only hazard is to himself. Anyone ought to be able to hide that on three acres, if it has any trees on it. If not, enough stealth suggestions were made to find a solution. :)

I hate to give financial advice, but maybe he should have bought a place outside of town for less and put the rest of the money in the bank. He might not have needed a permit at all then. ;D


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KF7CG on December 24, 2010, 06:13:13 AM
From what I read, he isn't in Town just a township which is a zoning division.

Townships control rural areas outside of towns if they have been implemented. Think of a township as another name for a county.


KF7CG


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AB4D on December 24, 2010, 06:53:35 AM
Have you figured out that you shouldn't have applied for a permit in the first place yet and instead should have used the effort to paint the tower and antennas flat black or go the flag pole or silo route? Never apply for a permit. You are just making it harder for other hams when you do that!  :-\

I wouldn't follow the advice from KI4SDY, getting a permit is the proper way to go. Not getting a permit puts the ARS in a bad light, you always run the risk of the local government forcing you to take it down, and the risk that if something does happen your insurance company will not cover you because the installation was not inspected and passed by a building inspector.

There is a guy not too far from me that had 4 small various size towers on his one acre lot, he put them up without permits. They are now down because the county made him remove them last year.  There have been multiple instances of hams who have had to remove their towers because they did not obtain a permit first.  You can spend upwards of several thousands dollars and many hours of time to properly install a tower, it's a waste if you have to take it all down because you did not get a permit.

IMO what makes it harder for us is hams who put up towers without a permit. That type of action causes others to form stereotypes, that we are unwilling to follow the rules.



Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 24, 2010, 08:17:48 AM
Any idiot that puts up four towers on a one acre plot without trying to hide them, if he can, is asking for trouble and he found it! These are the dumb compulsive hams that give us a bad name and are the cause of these over restrictive regulations. Remember, I said you need to be smarter than government to safely operate high voltage ham equipment.  ::)

If it looks like a town and has a town council, it is a town! He should have bought in the county.  ;D

The original poster learned his lesson the hard way. He applied for a permit and now he will never be allowed to have a tower.  :'( 


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EY on December 24, 2010, 12:05:54 PM
Most hams I know don't apply for permits and have no problem. The people that have problems do apply for permits.

That may be the situation where *you* are. But it's not the situation everywhere - and that's the problem.

Zoning, permits, and other regulations vary enormously from place to place and from state to state. What has worked where you are won't work everywhere.

In another post you say one should buy "in the county" and not "in the town". That may work in some places - but in others, local government is completely different.

For example, I live in Radnor Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. So there are state rules, county rules, and township rules. The county and state pretty much delegate authority to the townships and boroughs, except in the case of safety codes (where the national codes are the minimum) and transportation issues (where PennDOT holds sway).

All of Delaware County, PA is either township, borough, or city. Many other counties in PA are the same way, so there's no escaping township, borough or city rules in those counties. I'm not sure about Pike County.

Radnor Township's Code has a lot of rules about antenna towers - and a rule that almost none of them apply to amateur radio towers on residential property.

I used to live in New York State. That State is divided into Counties, and the Counties divided into Towns. A New York "Town" is often a hundred square miles or more!

An incorporated area inside a Town is a Village. When a Village grows big enough to encompass all or much of a Town, it becomes a City. In New York State, the only way to escape living in a Town is to live in a City, which is hardly the better choice.

Just to make it more interesting, towns and villages sometimes have the same name!

I lived in the Village of Palmyra, Town of Palmyra, Wayne County, New York.

The point of all this is that what matters when it comes to real estate is the actual rules where a ham lives, not what worked hundreds of miles away - or even a few miles away - where a completely different set of rules exists.

If you look up the location in question in this case, you'll see it's a rural, wooded area. The first big mistake made was the assumption that since it was a low-density rural area with zero CC&Rs, that there would be no trouble with towers. Which turns out not to be the case at all. The low density has actually worked against the amateur, because it turns out that the local govt. folks have no precedent for an amateur radio tower. There are simply too few people for the issue to have come up before.

The second big mistake (which many hams make, btw) is not allowing for miscellaneous costs. You see this all the time, and not just in tower/antenna installations.

73 de Jim, N2EY




Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AB4D on December 24, 2010, 02:20:18 PM
Any idiot that puts up four towers on a one acre plot without trying to hide them, if he can, is asking for trouble and he found it! These are the dumb compulsive hams that give us a bad name and are the cause of these over restrictive regulations. Remember, I said you need to be smarter than government to safely operate high voltage ham equipment.  ::)

If it looks like a town and has a town council, it is a town! He should have bought in the county.  ;D

The original poster learned his lesson the hard way. He applied for a permit and now he will never be allowed to have a tower.  :'( 

I agree, he was an idiot, but for not for having four towers on a one acre lot, but for not obtaining the proper permit for his towers. If he had, there would have been no trouble at all.  I just installed a new 72 foot crank up, and I will never have any trouble from the county or my insurance company, because I got a permit. ;D

Those who try to circumvent the rules, end up harming us as hams more than helping us, and I am always suspecious of those who want to sneak towers onto their properties without the proper permits, what do they have to hide? A lot of those "sneaky" installations are old second hand towers that can not meet the requirments of EIA-222, and should go to the scrap yard instead of up in the air.

The township has not told AA2HA that he cannot have a tower, they are telling him that he must obtain a CUP to have one, and he is arguing the point that he does not want to pay the extra cost.  I can understand where he is coming from, but nonetheless, he should not try to sneak one up.



Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 24, 2010, 04:01:48 PM
He will not get an antenna tower permit for these reasons:

1. He did not investigate before he bought concerning the local regulations on antenna towers.  ::)
 
2. After he found out about the regulations, he asked for an antenna tower permit.  ???

3. It is obvious the Town Council does not want antenna towers in their neighborhood, so if they make an exception for him, they will have to do it for others. They will spend $100,000 or more, of his and other taxpayers money, fighting him in court to make sure he does not get an antenna tower.  >:(

4. Unless some of you rich hams are willing to loan him $100,000 for the legal fight, he might as well quit whining, wait a while and go stealth (by the way, it will be up to the judge if he wants to award payment of the attorney fees to the winner, here they hardly ever do that anymore to discourage lawsuits).  :-X

I don't know what you guys are arguing about or what your point is, but the bottom line is he is not getting an antenna tower because of the course of action he chose and the results thereof. The facts are the facts!  :'(


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EY on December 24, 2010, 06:36:27 PM
Those who try to circumvent the rules, end up harming us as hams more than helping us, and I am always suspecious of those who want to sneak towers onto their properties without the proper permits, what do they have to hide?

It's just being a good neighbor to minimize visual impact.

But what you're talking about is a lot more. And yes, it does end up harming all of us because, when discovered, it destroys our credibility.

Suppose a ham sneaks up a tower without a required permit and gets away with it. Then another ham in the same area does the same thing, and another, and another.

Sooner or later one of the towers without a permit will be discovered and the authorities will make the ham take it down, and pay costs and a fine. Worse, the permit folks may go looking for other towers-without-permits, and do the same thing. Worst of all, the ham who tries to play by the rules will have a very tough go because of the bad reputation created by others.

A lot of those "sneaky" installations are old second hand towers that can not meet the requirments of EIA-222, and should go to the scrap yard instead of up in the air.

Safety is the #1 reason for building codes, inspections, standards and permits. There's an old saying that the code books are written in blood. So when a ham tries to go around such things, it makes all of us look very unqualified and unsafe.

The idea that "you'll only hurt yourself" may be attractive but it doesn't carry much water with the legal folks. We may not agree with that, but that's how it is.

And the truth is that very, very few hams are qualified structural engineers. I know a local ham who bought a used tower that looked great - on the outside. But it failed catastrophically when being put up - one of the tower legs had rusted on the inside. Fortunately no one was hurt and the property damage was minimal. He bought a brand-new tower and had no further problems.

The township has not told AA2HA that he cannot have a tower, they are telling him that he must obtain a CUP to have one, and he is arguing the point that he does not want to pay the extra cost.  I can understand where he is coming from, but nonetheless, he should not try to sneak one up.

I have been to Pike County, and AA2HA's township. My impression is that if he'd simply gone and put up the tower without permits he'd be in a heck of a lot of hot water because of it. Somebody would have seen it and started talking, because it would be new and unusual. Pretty soon the right (or wrong) person would hear of it, and the township folks would be making life miserable and expensive for him.

So IMHO he did the right thing to at least try for a permit.

Consider this story as an example:

http://www.eham.net/articles/24101

73 es MC de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 24, 2010, 09:45:26 PM
Yes, he did the "right thing" according to the government regulation politically correct types. He even paid an initial $150 fee, knowing that he could not afford to go through the entire process or be able to hire an attorney to defend his position. As a result, his application fee is soon to expire and he will lose his $150. He says things are financially tight, but I would not be able to afford to throw away $150 and I am not living on Social Security disability payments. I work for a living to support myself and the people on Social Security). :P

So again, what is the result of doing the "right thing?" Well, he will lose his $150 application fee and he will never have a tower as long as he lives in that town. If he wants one, he will have to sell his house and move!  8)

If he had used the stealth method, he would have had it up until it was discovered, which may have been never and the fine might have only been $150 if he got caught, which is doubtful. Usually, they will give you time to come into compliance, remove it or request a hearing on the violation. A lot of choices there! ;)

I am still trying to figure out why someone would need a tower to just reach 70 feet anyway. Sturdy push up poles and proper guying could do that, cheap. Then, you don't have to call it a "tower." You can put a UHF TV antenna on it, along with your other antennas and call it a "TV antenna pole." Plus, it is easier to hide from the neighbors. ;D

 


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KF7CG on December 25, 2010, 08:02:38 AM
The problem the poster had when he purchased the property was that the regulations were mute (no regulations) on Amateur Radio Towers, no prohibitions, no HOA rules, and no CC&Rs, just a provision to apply for a building permit. You have to have a permit to put up a garage, pave your driveway, or make any improvements to your house. So unless the tower was applied for before the house was purchased there was no reasonable way to know that towers would be prohibitted. No way to know that it would require a special (conditional) use permit.

You now (it this holds up) can no longer buy rural property outside of developments, towns, and other cities with know restrictions and expect to be allowed a tower, you must at least attemp to obtain a permit before the purchase if it is possible to do so. Of course such things can change before the tower goes up. It is no longer wise to buy a place that has no permitting regulations expecting to put up a tower later when you can afford it, since the powers that be can change their mind at any time if the regulations are not written.

When buying a home now, we as Amateurs must insist that a specific addition become part of our offer letter. That provision must specify that the seller and that the realtors and other knowledgable parties to the transaction affirm that towers are allowed and the limits that may be applied. This must be accomplished before the offer to purchase is accepted.

Awful tight, but that looks where things are going.


KF7CG


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 25, 2010, 09:28:26 AM
Oh, there were rules concerning antenna towers when he bought the property. No antenna towers on private property! The problem is, he did not check the regulations and ask questions before he bought the property. He has only himself to blame. It is a shame, but those are the facts as he related them.  :-[

Oh yes, there are plenty of places left in America where you can buy property where there are no regulations concerning antenna towers and very little regulations for much else. However, they are not where your wife would allow you to buy. That is why I am not married! I will give you a hint. They are not in any of the socialist states like New York, California and now Florida (with all the yankees we have flooding in here that demand such restrictions). However, none of my ham friends that have erected towers without asking for a permit had any problems. We did have one dufus that moved into a small city near here and asked for a permit. He will either have to pay thousands of dollars to put it up or forget it. He is whining like this guy and guess what? He didn't check the regulations first either. Just as a side note, he is  currently collecting unemployment. Go figure!  ;)

Anyway, the bottom line is, he will never have an antenna tower in that town! If he wants a tower, he will have to move!  :'(

The purchasing requirements for antenna friendly property in the contract for sale is a very good idea and one that any of us that actually wear the pants in the family should insist on!  ;D


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KF7CG on December 25, 2010, 01:57:24 PM
As I understandy it, there were no "WRITTEN" rules about antennas. The only way to find out about antennas was to apply for or try to apply for a permit.

It is now apparent for all, that henceforth Amateurs must assume that all antennas are prohibitted everywhere and militantly attack the problem of permission for towers before even making an offer. All offers must be contingent on a irrevocable promise to grant a permit for antenna contsruction with reasonable fee and maintenance rules all to be agreed to by the seller and the local governments before an offer becomes binding.

The state involved even has a law in place saying that the townships shall provide reasonable accomodation. The townships idea of reasonable and the rest of the worlds is definitely out of sync.

For those who say do your home work, is it reasonable to try to apply for a tower permit before you even by a property? Since most boards do not work with hypotheticals they may well decline to answer anybody other than a legal jurisdiction regarding permits. When you are an owner then you get the no.

KF7CG


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 25, 2010, 04:09:30 PM
In the original inquirer's first post and second paragraph he states; "At first I was denied and told that "No towers are allowed on private property in the township." Everything else you just said was absolutely correct!  ;)



Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EY on December 25, 2010, 08:23:09 PM
As I understandy it, there were no "WRITTEN" rules about antennas. The only way to find out about antennas was to apply for or try to apply for a permit.

It is now apparent for all, that henceforth Amateurs must assume that all antennas are prohibitted everywhere and militantly attack the problem of permission for towers before even making an offer.

The rule in this case is against *towers*, not antennas. BIG difference. One can have very effective HF antenna systems without a tower.

What makes a "tower" such a big deal to the real-estate folks is that it's a structure, with all sorts of safety, insurance, liability and structural issues. In a place such as where AA2HA lives, their only concepts of "tower" are formed by broadcasting towers and cell phone towers, which are usually very high structures that are very visible. The idea of an amateur radio tower on a residential property hasn't occurred to them. Their rules don't cover it, really, so they say it's not allowed.

 
All offers must be contingent on a irrevocable promise to grant a permit for antenna contsruction with reasonable fee and maintenance rules all to be agreed to by the seller and the local governments before an offer becomes binding.

That's fine as far as it goes. Such a requirement would work in a buyer's market such as we have today. But in the seller's market of a few years ago you'd never get an offer accepted with a condition like that.


The state involved even has a law in place saying that the townships shall provide reasonable accomodation. The townships idea of reasonable and the rest of the worlds is definitely out of sync.

I suspect that's because nobody has ever pushed the issue before. The township involved has fewer than 7000 residents, which means maybe 16 hams at the current ratio of hams to US population.

For those who say do your home work, is it reasonable to try to apply for a tower permit before you even by a property? Since most boards do not work with hypotheticals they may well decline to answer anybody other than a legal jurisdiction regarding permits. When you are an owner then you get the no.

I think the "homework" consists of the following:

1) Determine what CC&Rs exist on the property and exactly what they say. Be particularly on the look out for things that don't mention towers or antennas but could be interpreted that way. For example, if it says that no structure shall exceed a certain height, remember that a tower could be considered a structure.

2) Determine what the various zoning codes and ordinances say and do not say.

3) Determine the actual process of getting a permit for an amateur radio tower. You don't have to be a landowner to ask about process.

4) Determine how many other hams have put up towers there in recent times and what they went through in cost, paperwork, etc.

5) Retain qualified legal counsel to verify your information. Just because you or I thinks a legal document says something doesn't mean the courts, lawyers, etc. interpret it that way.

(Y'know, it's almost funny. Many hams today wouldn't dream of trying to repair their own rigs today, let alone design or build them. Too technical and complicated. Yet many if not most of those same hams think they are qualified to act as their own legal counsel and structural engineering experts).

But all this is really beside the point.

We can play the coulda-woulda-shoulda game forever. It's easy to be critical from a long distance away.

But what really matters now is how we can help AA2HA. He's stuck with a $6000 tower lying in his yard and no resources to get a permit to put it up. (How it would get put up if the permit were obtained is another problem).

It seems to me that there are several courses of action possible:

1) Put it up without a permit. This is very risky because the township may go bonkers, and AA2HA cannot claim ignorance now. Since AA2HA probably cannot do the work all by himself, others could get sucked into legal problems if they help out.

2) Try to raise money to pay the required fees. Problem is, there's no guarantee of success. 

3) Try to get pro-bono legal help to convince the township that they are in violation of the state law which codifies PRB-1. Writing and calling one's state and federal representatives (both levels) should be part of this. It would probably help to have local hams also write on his behalf.

4) Put up an antenna system that doesn't need a tower. A simple coax-fed trap inverted V, center-supported by TV masting on the roof of the house, or on a push-up pole alongside the house, is one possibility. It may not be perfect but it's a lot better than nothing.

Seems to me that 4) and 3) are the best way to go. Selling the tower is probably a good idea too.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KF7CG on December 25, 2010, 09:14:42 PM
There are several other things that could and maybe should be done in this area by all the Amateurs of the area. All emergency and third party volunteer work by Amateurs should be curtailed. It is abundantly clear that the dont want any Amateurs if they are unwilling to simply borrow a working tower regualation from any of the other nearby townships and wish to place unreasonable costs on someone who by law can not profit from their hobby.

If Amateur radio support structures are not tolerated, then Amateurs on not welcome and should not force themselves on the community especially when it is to help.

Do they permit silos without "conditional use permits"? A silo is an inherently more dangerous structure than a tower. Not only does a silo have significant height, it contains a significant amount of material the contributes to the loading and so on of the silo. Further if the contents of a silo are not properly loaded and cared for a silo becomes a significant fire and explosion hazard.  Silos containing grain and other similar dry materials must be properly guarded against dust and static electric build up lest large explosions and fires occur.  Silos containing green materials must be properly vented and the contents correctly managed to prevent the buildup of methane and hydrogen sulfide gases. Methane readily causes explosions (ala a coal mine explosion) when allowed to build to too high a concentration. Hydrogen sulfide is highly toxic and has caused several deaths from people entering highly contaminated areas. This tends to put the safety issue in another light.

KF7CG


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: K1CJS on December 26, 2010, 09:38:34 AM
One thing is apparant, those fees are meant to make cell phone companies and cell phone tower installers think twice before putting up too many cell phone towers--and that is what the township is trying to stop from happening.  To them, an amateur radio tower is a radio tower is a cellphone tower.....

Just maybe, if you spoke to the township lawyer, you could get the fees waived if you put an agreement clause into the application that you would not have or even think of having ANY cell phone equipment on that tower--that it was just for amateur radio useage.

I know full well that it's a long shot, but it's meant simply as a suggestion that just may open a door to you.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 26, 2010, 11:54:41 AM
At this point, N2EY's comments about #3 and #4 on his post are the best way to go. You cannot erase what has been done.  :'(

I also like the previous comment about the wind water tower. Much easier to permit and may be just as sturdy, if not more so. He can look for "wind water towers" and price them to see how much he will need to get for the "antenna tower." when he sells it. I would wait a while before trying to permit the water tower, however.  ;)

Sometimes, you have to take another road to get where you want to go.  ;D


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KH6AQ on December 26, 2010, 12:13:26 PM
If I'm interpreting the first several posts correctly a dipole in the trees was performing satisfactorily until it broke. The first one broke due to possible vandalism and the second broke due to a tree falling over.

Could a solution be to install another dipole made of stout material (stranded copper weld #531 from The Wireman fed with #554 ladder line) with proper shock mounting? Could another solution be a "temporary" mast such as a 40-50' wooden A-frame al la the ARRL Handbook? I've built these to 40' using 2 x 3 lumber.

Wire antennas are not forever and a means of restringing them from the ground can be provided for those times when the wire fails.

The tower can be sold to purchase an amp and a high power antenna tuner.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KF7CG on December 26, 2010, 01:11:17 PM
As for the adequacy of wind-water towers for Amateur use, these towers in their smallest capacities are sufficient for all but the largest of Amateurs antennas. Just look at the wind surface area exposed by beams as opposed to the wind surface area of a turbane disk that is design to seek maximum areal exposure to the wind. The surface area for a windmill (water pumping style0 is approximate PI times half the diameter of the turbane disk squared even the smallest windmills tend to have wind areas of 30 square feet or better. The weight loading of the head, gearing, and drivehaft for a water pump also greatly exceed the weight loading of most antenna rotator combinations.

Taken from any angle, the decisions of the zoning board are to disallow radio (any radio) towers in their jurisdiction.

As to the use the trees argument, from the description of the property it is part of a wood lot. This is no place to try to maintain wire antennas; trees or limbs are always falling. A friend near me has a home in part of an old wood lot for his yard, he is always clearing shed limbs and downed trees from the property. Even with strong wire, the falling limbs etc could take out the antennas on a regular basis.

KF7CG


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AA2HA on December 26, 2010, 03:49:50 PM
Wow, what a tough crowd. I posted in hope of finding some guidance, ideas and possible helpful solutions. I hadn't anticipated being judged and belittled by a few, but such is the nature of the world.
 Just to be clear, as my writing skills and ability to coherently translate the chronological chain of events leading up to my current situation, may not be clear. I am, after all a product of the New Jersey school system :)
 I formerly lived in Nutley, NJ. I was a Union electrician for over 30 years and worked two jobs most of my adult life. I was involved in an accident where I was hit by a drunk driver (who didn't survive). Never a person to live beyond my means, I was forced to sell my home in Nutley (the property taxes alone were over 12K/yesr for a 1200 sq. ft. home on a 50' X 100' plot of land.
 I was fortunate enough to have purchased the home as a young man. The house was "trashed" and I spent three years fixing it myself in my spare time. I was also fortunate enough to have sold it at a good price.
 I spent months looking for a modestly price home with reasonable taxes. I found this home (which is at one of the highest points in the county). I am in a "private community" and absolutely tried to do my homework as best as I could before purchasing. I checked for CC&R and secured a letter from the community stating that I able to erect a tower.
 Next I visited the township zoning official that advised me that "no towers are allowed on private property." After presenting PA bill (act 88 and PRB-1) I was advised that "clearly this doesn't apply to me." and that the township "does not have any ordinances restricting amateur antennas or support structures." He added, and I quote "I'm sure we'll be able to accommodate you." NOTE- That zoning official is on sick leave and the decision was left to the township solicitor.
 Couple this with PA Senate Bill (act 88) that forbids any municipality in Pennsylvania from restricting any amateur antenna support structure under 65 feet in height, I though I had done my homework, or had satisfied myself that I would be able to proceed. ONLY after this did I put an offer on my current home. To support a position that It's "my own fault" isn't consistent with the facts. Blame or finger pointing wasn't my goal here, some may well feel that it's my own fault, (and that opinion may indeed be true) but the intention of this post was to seek assistance from my fellow hams, not point fingers. The reality is that this is where I am at, I'm trying to look forward not back.
 I purchase a home that cost much less than my former home, the taxes are 1/4 of the former and car insurance is 1/3. I never expected to have to defend myself or justify my financial situation here. It seems to bother some that now disabled, and on Social Security, I have the nerve to spend money on recreational endeavors. It may comfort you to know that I have had to sell most of my personal belongings, including my vehicles to pay mounting medical bills. And yes, I did sell my 25-year antique radio collection (all of which I restored) to make ends meet.
 I have extremely little left to show for my lifetime of hard work, but my integrity is one which I will never compromise. I'm not looking for a free ride, I pay my bills, taxes, and try to do the best I can with what I have.
 A sincere thanks to the folks that have tried to help. I have a meeting at the township building on Tuesday the 28th where I'll make one final plea. I'll keep everyone posted on the outcome. I try to meet each day with optimism in all areas. If the township decision isn't in my favor, check the forums for a good price on a tower.  73, Tim


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KH6AQ on December 26, 2010, 04:53:17 PM
Tim,

good luck with the meeting. I find amateur radio to be an anchor during tough times and I hope it brings you comfort too. 73.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: K1CJS on December 27, 2010, 06:56:56 AM
Tim,

I'll add my best wishes for a positive outcome.  I hope you can convince those bowbs that you're only trying to put up an amateur radio antenna system for your personal enjoyment and not something that is going to be installed by a national telecommunications company.

Let us know how you made out!

73, Chris, K1CJS


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: W3LK on December 27, 2010, 07:24:20 AM
Hang in there, Tim.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AB4D on December 27, 2010, 08:10:33 AM
Tim,

As I pointed out in my earlier post, now is the time to do your homework. If you can afford to do so, put together a handout package  for the board members, which gives the necessary background information required to make an educated decision.  Your package should included copies of general information about the ARS from the FCC, PRB-1, and you state statue concerning placement of amateur radio towers.

You should make it your responsibility to ensure the board has the information needed to rule in your favor.

Good Luck

Jim/AB4D


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 27, 2010, 08:56:45 AM
Having worked in government for most of my life, I can tell you that if you find a government official that is sympathetic to your cause and sees things your way, if you go back and he is on vacation, you need to wait until he returns and drink where the water is good.  ;)

I am hoping that he is back and will be part of the proceedings in your hearing. If not, I would ask for a postponement and go see him. The hearing may not be necessary.  ;D

Glad to hear that you finally moved out of the socialist State of New Jersey with $12,000 a year in property taxes. Too bad it took a car accident to do it. By the way, if you don't mind telling us, what kind of disabilities do you currently have? Are you in a wheelchair or do you have basically good mobility? 


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AA2HA on December 28, 2010, 11:12:22 PM
UPDATE: I went to the township meeting tonight and at first, they weren't even going to let me speak. My XYL went and would have none of that. She stood up and made her voice heard loud and clear. I'd also like to thank Dr. Jay Joerger (NM2M) for attending and having his voice heard as well. (a fellow ham and all around nice guy)
 After an "executive meeting" the township agreed to add an amateur radio clause to local zoning and as soon as the exception is written, (mid-January) I WILL be issued my permit! This will pave the way and make it easy for any other ham to erect a tower within the township with a simple zoning application!
 Thanks to all the support and encouragement from my radio brothers here, I still can't believe I will actually have the tower up this spring. I haven't had a better Christmas present since I was a child!
 73 and hope to hear you on the air this spring!


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KF7CG on December 29, 2010, 04:10:09 AM
Congratulations! Merry Christmas and a Happy and QSO filled New Year!

Here is hoping that the powers that be can do the impossible and satisfy the Amateurs of the area while also satisfying the other citizens of the area.

KF7CG


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: K1CJS on December 29, 2010, 04:12:47 AM
Very glad to hear of the positive outcome!  Good luck and we'll be looking for you on the bands!


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KB3KWJ on December 29, 2010, 06:27:36 AM
Hi Tim,

I have been following your story and I am very happy that you are going to get your tower up soon!!!  In the future I would like a tower and I am not sure what my township will do in my case but your case gives me hope!

Have a Happy and Joyful New Year for you and your XYL!

John


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 29, 2010, 06:44:31 AM
Well, it just goes to prove that you can fight city hall, if you can embarrass them in to doing the right thing, but it is a long shot.  ;D

Now the question is, how much is the permit and what are the restrictions going to be? Since they were forced into it and they really didn't want any antenna towers in the township, it will be interesting to hear what they come up with.  :-\


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EY on December 30, 2010, 01:43:32 PM
WOO-HOO! Congrats! Great news!

A couple of suggestions:

1) Get together all the documentation you can for the permit. Tower specs, foundation requirements, etc. Pictures of the site, etc. Even if they're not required, they're good to have, in order to show you've considered all the angles.

2) Start figuring out the details of how the tower will be put up once the permit is in hand. I don't know how much of the work you can do yourself (probably not much) but you need to be the organizer, or find one. As an electrician you know what many of the requirements are, but for a tower installation you're more of a general contractor, dealing with all the various issues.

3) Think about what sort of antennas you will put up and how they will be maintained. Also vandalism-, varmint- and weather-proofing. Climbing guards around the base of the tower? Fence? Security lighting?

4) It's important not to lose momentum. You don't want to rush, and the weather will hold off serious work for a couple months, but April will be here before you know it. If raising the tower takes too long, some folks may start re-thinking the whole thing.

73 es GL de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on December 30, 2010, 05:26:11 PM
Don't give them any more information than you have to!  ;)


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AA2HA on February 24, 2011, 11:38:02 AM
Well, I shouldn't have counted my chickens before they were hatched. Today I finally heard from the township. They are NOT issuing me a zoning permit (after assuring me they would).
 They now state the MAY issue ma a conditional use permit) which involves about 25 hoops of fire to jump through, and a few thousand dollars.
 I've decided to just put the tower up anyway. I'm not sure what they can do to me, but as I see it, I have state and federal regulation on my side. Let THEM bring ME to court. How discouraging this has been. After being told (by the township attorney) that he and the board agreed to issue my permit, I sold most of my possessions, including my car to buy all the necessary equipment and antennas, etc. for the tower. Now we're back to square 1.
  :'(


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KC1BUD on February 25, 2011, 12:25:23 PM
Is it possible to turn one of the live trees into the tower? If the only thing above the canopy is the top of the vertical, how they going to know? Just a thought.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KF4BAE on April 15, 2011, 12:21:00 PM
That's pretty hard core to sell your car to buy a tower.  Good luck.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on April 15, 2011, 10:13:44 PM
If you had followed my advice you would not be in this situation now. Things ended up just like I said they would. I know government bureaucracies and how they work. Now I am going to give you some more good advise. Hopefully, you will listen.  :-\

What can they do to you if you put up the tower without a permit? The township will notify you that you are in violation and they will have a hearing. If you attend, and they will give you 48 hours to come into compliance. If you don't attend, they will mail you a notice of their decision. If you don't come into compliance, they will fine you anywhere from $35.00 to 150.00 per day, depending on what they feel like. They will put a lien on your house for the fines and if you sell it, the fines will have to be paid first. In some states (probably yours), they can condemn your house, evict you and sell it for the fines. You will be living on the street, homeless. You don't even have a car to live in now. This is not a good option. Think of your family!  :'(

At this point, you need to wait about year and a half before you put up anything they can see that will irritate them. By that time, they will be tired of checking. Use that period to study different stealth antenna systems that accomplish about same thing as a tower. Sell the tower. Buy or build some good stealth antenna systems and a powerful linear (if you feel like you need it). I don't have a tower or big linear and I talk all over the world QRP. Hone your antenna construction skills and you will make plenty of contacts!  ;D

If you are still determined to put up a tower some day, sell the house and buy a place in the country with more land and fewer restrictions. Check the area regulations before you buy!  ;)



Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: W4TQ on April 17, 2011, 04:01:35 AM
I agree with KI4SDY about considering the possibility of alternative antenna systems.  Back in the 90's I had an 80' tower with a nice Force Tribander--it worked great.  I lost interest in radio for a few years and took the tower down. 

When I returned to radio three years ago, I decided to put up some homebrew verticals.  I now have four verticals that cover 160 through 10 meters, and am just four contacts shy on 10 meters of DXCC on seven bands.  It will take a few years of work on 160 to get all nine bands DXCC.  I use an amplifier about 30% of the time.

One interesting thing.  I painted two of the verticals a light brown color (Adobe Brown Behr Stain from Home Depot), and they are VERY difficult to see against the trees (even though I'm only 60 feet away, and I know exactly where they are, sometimes I can't find them).  These two painted verticals are for 15 and 20 meters, and each have four elevated radials which slope down at 45 degrees.  They are constructed with those fiberglass and aluminum surplus poles that you see at hamfests (very cheap).  I use the fiberglass sections for the lower insulated part, and aluminum sections for the upper part.  I painted the entire antennas when complete, but the purpose was to protect the fiberglass from sun damage.

Good luck & 73,
Dan - W4TQ


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: W3WN on April 20, 2011, 09:00:34 AM
Tim,

Have you contacted Mike Lazaroff K3AIR?  mlazaroff at murrinlaw dot com.

Although he's on the other side of the state, he has had tremendous success with antenna and tower issues -- just ask Chuck W3YNI.

Get the straight scoop from the attorney. 

73


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KB1VCZ on April 27, 2011, 12:16:17 PM
Wow, this thread has more plot twists than a Hitchcock film.

I hope I never have to deal with this kind of BS.


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KI4SDY on April 28, 2011, 07:25:30 PM
Simple. Never ask for a permit! ;)


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KB1NXE on April 29, 2011, 08:45:32 AM
Sometimes, a permit may not be necessary.  The best answer is know the rules, laws and regulations.  The town I have does not require a permit for any construction less than $3500.  Putting up a used 65' tower can certainly be done for less than $3500.  The antennas and other items on the tower are considered no different than the furniture you'd place in a room, so that does not add into the cost factoring.

I'd follow the advise from W3WN.  Once the township hears from a 'lawyer', then they may need to contemplate their position and if they'd like to bring it to court (with the outlay of cash for those costs).  He might make a call or write a letter for nothing to help out in this circumstance.  Also, was the decision of allowing you to have the tower back in the December meeting written into the meeting minutes?  If so, you would certainly have additional leverage as they published those minutes and made them part of the public record. 


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N0LKK on May 11, 2011, 09:09:00 PM
 I couldn't find a post that indicated that issue was resolve, and the last post that I see dated 4/29/11 suggests it hasn't.
 In it hasn't this would be what I'd do. Try to sell the tower at hand. Use the proceeds to construct a monopole of the same height that could be layed down. In the event they try to bust you on construction permit issues. Simply lay it down, if the push further, disassemble it to where it can't be raised back up. Nothing that can be done  within 24 hours, with help.

Those commentators whose comments made this appear to be a tough crowd, probably not so tough face to face, even if they are facing a disable person like you, and I.

 Recently this was an issue in the small town I live near. An amateur set to move here got a hint he may have trouble putting up his tower, and I was aware of that, when I heard through the grapevine the city manger would deffer to the local CATV in making a decision. I made a visit the next day tell him about the FCC PRB-1 ruling, and Kansas legislation that reinforces that ruling. I was told he didn't care about those, and would give issue a construction permit for anything he thought could cause TV interference. His rational being he would rather have 1 or 2 persons angry with him , than an entire neighborhood, town. I requested to be put on the city council agenda so I could give the council an overview of amateur  radio, and it's local history. I decided to attend the council meetings until that time to insure nothing was snuck through.  At the first one I attended I was ask to speak as it was becoming a time critical thing for the new couple moving to town. To my surprise the city clerk had an entirely different attitude. This particular issue was resolved satisfactory, but we will have to go through the same the next time it comes up I'm sure. I do hope your issue has been resolve to your liking.
Doug


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AB4D on October 20, 2012, 06:24:39 PM
In finality, as others were wondering about the conclusion to this saga.  I read the following information on another site posted by the original author in regard to his tower situation.  "To make a long story short, I am installing a 100' Amateur radio tower at my home."  "It took 23 months, several battles, and more money than I wish to think about to finally get the permit for the tower."

So despite posturing by some, that he would never get his tower approved, and he must sell his home and move.  It was pleasing to read that he followed the rules, got his tower approved, and did not resort to "just putting it up."  It appears he even legally raised the height to 100 feet as well.

Congrats to Tim, AA2HA.

73


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: W8JI on November 01, 2012, 09:03:28 AM
WOO-HOO! Congrats! Great news!

A couple of suggestions:

1) Get together all the documentation you can for the permit. Tower specs, foundation requirements, etc. Pictures of the site, etc. Even if they're not required, they're good to have, in order to show you've considered all the angles.

2) Start figuring out the details of how the tower will be put up once the permit is in hand. I don't know how much of the work you can do yourself (probably not much) but you need to be the organizer, or find one. As an electrician you know what many of the requirements are, but for a tower installation you're more of a general contractor, dealing with all the various issues.

3) Think about what sort of antennas you will put up and how they will be maintained. Also vandalism-, varmint- and weather-proofing. Climbing guards around the base of the tower? Fence? Security lighting?

4) It's important not to lose momentum. You don't want to rush, and the weather will hold off serious work for a couple months, but April will be here before you know it. If raising the tower takes too long, some folks may start re-thinking the whole thing.

73 es GL de Jim, N2EY

This is old and stale, but I see someone else reactivated it, so I wanted to comment on the advice above......


NEVER EVER give more than they ask for, and especially NEVER point out things that might be problems. NEVER.

Always supply exactly what they need, and the VERY MINIMUM they ask for. The only thing to ever fight is what they decide is a problem. Offering things not asked for will often create problems they never even thought of.



Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N2EY on November 01, 2012, 12:10:49 PM

This is old and stale, but I see someone else reactivated it, so I wanted to comment on the advice above......


NEVER EVER give more than they ask for, and especially NEVER point out things that might be problems. NEVER.

Always supply exactly what they need, and the VERY MINIMUM they ask for. The only thing to ever fight is what they decide is a problem. Offering things not asked for will often create problems they never even thought of.

I agree 100%.

I should have written something like: "Get all the information you can, but only supply exactly what they ask for".

73 es TNX de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: KF7CG on November 01, 2012, 01:05:54 PM
Both are sound advice. Get all the materials together that were mentioned. Then only provide the minimum asked for. Extra information can cause more questions, but if it is on hand it can quickly be used to impress with thoroughness if needed, but not before.

KF7CG


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: AJ4CU on November 01, 2012, 10:47:34 PM
I was wondering, at the meeting where the township agreed to allow the structure would that not have been either recorded or transcribed? are not all meetings of this nature recorded in some manner? I would request a transcript (through the freedom of information act) of the meeting citing where it was stated they were in fact allowing the structure and then press for legal action on the basis of false statements (lies!), bring this to the attention of the State attorney general, I am sure he/she would love to roast a few petty politicians for bold face lies...The newspaper would also love to put this in print...


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: N4BAA on June 27, 2013, 06:01:26 PM
I just moved to BUCKS COUNTY....Warrington Township in PA and they are terrible too.
The do consider ham radio tower permit applications as telecommunications entities and there is no way around it short of  about $10K out of pocket and much of that is non refundable. Sure there are lawyers willing to help, but they won't work for free obviously.
I would be exempt if I attached the tower to the house..but I am on 4 acres and that won't work for me.

My question revolves around what do they consider as "attached"? I would argue that all my towers have always been "attached" to the my houses.... albeit by cable...but connected and attached nonetheless. Funny, I don't need a permit for a flagpole, but I do need one for an accessory structure. GO figure.

I am looking for a new house somewhere else as this is just crazy and I am not willing to fight it... JUST WHAT THEY WANTED.

Jose
N4BAA


Title: RE: Tower restrictions, any attorneys or experienced hams? Need help
Post by: W3WN on July 24, 2013, 01:03:11 PM
I just moved to BUCKS COUNTY....Warrington Township in PA and they are terrible too.
The do consider ham radio tower permit applications as telecommunications entities and there is no way around it short of  about $10K out of pocket and much of that is non refundable. Sure there are lawyers willing to help, but they won't work for free obviously.
I would be exempt if I attached the tower to the house..but I am on 4 acres and that won't work for me.

My question revolves around what do they consider as "attached"? I would argue that all my towers have always been "attached" to the my houses.... albeit by cable...but connected and attached nonetheless. Funny, I don't need a permit for a flagpole, but I do need one for an accessory structure. GO figure.

I am looking for a new house somewhere else as this is just crazy and I am not willing to fight it... JUST WHAT THEY WANTED.

Jose
N4BAA
Jose,  I wish I knew what to tell you.

I know that after I got the direct email from you, I put you in touch with Mike K3AIR.  Sadly, he is literally over 300 miles away from you, so it is not practical for him to travel to the other side of the state on a regular basis.

I do know that Mike has succesfully fought on behalf of WPA amateurs against other townships with similar ordinances & attitudes.  PA State Law (the aforementioned Act 88) does apply to them, whether they like it or not.

If you were to retain counsel, I'd suggest that your lawyer talk with Mike.  But if you've simply decided to move (and I don't blame you... I lived for 2 years in Bucks County, believe me, I do NOT blame you!!) then there's really no point to it, is there?

73