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Author Topic: Best Way to Approach My Association CC&R Issue  (Read 1725 times)
N9BDF
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Posts: 9




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« on: March 28, 2002, 09:07:52 AM »

  I live in an association with CC&Rs that pertain to external antennas. Specifically, the CC&Rs do not strictly prohibit the installation of antennas external to the house. Rather, they simply state that installation of such antennas must be approved by the association's modifications committee. I purchased the house fully aware of these restrictions.

  I am currently operating HF using a homebrew multiband coaxial trap antenna for 10/15/20/40m installed in the attic. I also operate 2m using an MFJ 5/8-wave groundplane antenna mounted (or should I say "sitting") in the attic. Although I am pretty happy with the performance of these antennas, they are not without their problems and one will still find that a Porsche performs better than a Honda (except perhaps for gas mileage) when the two are compared.

  I'd like to install the following antennas (in order of priority) external to my house:

1) HF multiband (trap or parallel) resonant dipole.

2) High gain 2m vertical on tripod on the roof (maybe something like a Hustler G6).

3) HF multiband vertical in the yard.

  Some people have suggested that if all I want to do for now is to install the dipole, I should just go ahead and do it and see what happens with respect to the association. They suggest that if the association files a complaint, I should plead ignorance, apologize, take the dipole down, and then formally file for approval through the association's modifications committee.

  I always thought it would be best to file for approval first? What are your feelings/experience?

  I have noticed that the association will only act on problems if they have received a signed complaint from someone in the subdivision. I've also noticed that if mutliple instances of the same problem occur, the association will usually put the issue up to a vote by the entire subdivision (hmmm, wonder if there are any other Hams in the neiborhood who would be willing to put up antennas at the same time that I do?)...

  Thanks for your input... 73, Michael N9BDF
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20633




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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2002, 10:36:06 AM »

From the "been there, done that school of advanced human psychology," I have a few recommendations.

1.  If you plan to live there a long time, why not run for election to the very committee that will judge you?  When I lived in a townhouse briefly, I found the Board of Directors of the Homeowners Association were all owners (not hired guns from outside), and the Board elections would be two months later.  I attended the next two meetings, introduced myself to everyone, and campaigned for election.  Two months later, I was elected Chairman of the Board of the Association (it's an unpaid volunteer position that nobody really wants anyway), and then set about making rules changes.

2.  If that seems too drastic or too much work (it really isn't), or the next election is a year away, I'd recommend you clip articles from QST magazine and the internet on all the good Amateur Radio has done recently in disaster situations, including the 9-11 occurrances in NYC and elsewhere, and reproduce these.  Preferably in color, at Kinko's, and make multiple copies.   Next, make copies of the data sheets or graphically presented descriptions of the kinds of antennas you wish to install. Then, ask to speak briefly at the next Association meeting.  Introduce yourself and pass around the propaganda, stating you are an active member of the League which promotes growth in volunteer emergency communications work, and as such you have need to install a couple of small outside antennas...see how it goes.  They may just give you permission and save you a lot of trouble down the road.

3.  To determine if there are other hams within your CC&R restricted community, do a search by your town name on the FCC amateur license database.  This can be done by leaving the callsign and address fields blank, and filling in only the name of your town and state.  The database will come back with a list of all hams in your town.  Look at the list and see if any are in your restricted community, and contact them.  There's surely strength in numbers.

73 & good luck!

Steve, WB2WIK/6

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KC5DFP
Member

Posts: 103




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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2002, 10:13:46 AM »

Michael,

I agree with Steve’s #2. I helped a friend who put up a Hygain AV640 vertical antenna prior to gaining approval. Not the stealthiest antenna, which is 27 feet tall and was placed on a 10-foot mast behind a one-story house!

He received a couple of notices. The first stated “Take It Down! We prepared detailed responses promoting Amateur Radio and the service to the community. In addition we mentioned the 9-11 incident and how Ham Operators served in that incident.

We were quite surprised to find the Association was very understanding once we educated them. In addition to this, he received some complaints of radio interference. Some were true, some were not, but the important item here is he addressed all of them and ensured his neighbors were satisfied. We addressed all issues to date and the antenna stills stands!

In summary, I believe the best way to approach your situation is to let the association know what you are doing and educate them as to what Ham Radio is all about. Be very responsive and willing to address all questions and issues such as TVI. Do a layout with detailed information of the installation so they understand exactly what you will be doing.
Be prepared to speak at an association meeting. If you have to, do not speak in technical terms, but rather in laymen’s terms, as most people will not understand you. Also, bring a few Ham friends with you to help promote you and Amateur radio. Also, rehearse you speech!

My only concern about your situation is you want to put up 3 antennas. I would suggest starting out with one… but that’s just me.

I can send you the actual letters we used if you like. Perhaps you can use them as a template.

Joe
KC5DFP
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N9BDF
Member

Posts: 9




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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2002, 03:14:29 PM »

Joe,

  I appreciate both yours and Steve's detailed responses. Please email a copy of your letters when you get a chance as I'm sure they would serve as good templates.

  Thanks, Michael N9BDF  n9bdf@arrl.net
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NB6Z
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Posts: 550


WWW

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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2002, 01:20:46 PM »

Assuming that your signal will be clean and you do not plan to operate at high power levels; and assuming your antennas will not be an "eye sore" to the community, then I say "no harm, no foul". Unless you have bad relations with your immediate neihgbors the risk of them sending a formal complaint to the committee is very low. At least they would talk to you about it first and you would have an opertunity to state your case or fix any problems. I think most home owners are conserned about hams that put up big towers and arrays; sounds like this is not your plan... This strategy has worked for me for 12 years so far.
GL  Griff.
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W7UIV
Member

Posts: 14




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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2002, 12:46:28 PM »

Michael:

Please see my note (W7UIV) under CC&R issue. Seems you are fortunate to have such a thing as a modifications committee there. In the wording of your restriction does it say anything such as "no antennas attached to the main structure or any other structure of the property"?  Mine did, and that's how I got by with a GAP challenger vertical until our restriction was finally removed. I mounted it to a portable tilt mount driven into the ground. At least I referred to it as "portable", So it was not "attached to the main structure or any other structure of the property".

Not sure how well these Outbacker antennas made by Alpha-Delta work, but they have a tripod mount that would surely be considered as portable.

Now we have no restriction. In fact, after making my comments to the bylaws update committee, amateur radio antennas are specifically named as permitted.

Good luck

Jim, W7UIV
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INITZERO
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Posts: 102


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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2002, 03:39:58 PM »

> Some people have suggested that if all I want to do
> for now is to install the dipole, I should just go
> ahead and do it and see what happens with respect to
> the association.

Get permission first.

I'm on my HOA's board of directors so allow me to
speak from the enemy's point of view.

We'll approve just about anything that won't put us
in hot water with your neighbors or the law. In most
areas of the country, HOAs positions are voluntary
and rarely if ever does the board get payed.
Consequently, we want to do the least amount of work
possible. Toward that goal, we want to keep as many
residents as possible happy.

If we can keep make you happy with an antenna we will
so long as granting your antenna doesn't have eight of
your neighbors ticked off at us.

That said, we're in a pretty thankless job so when
someone does something without our blessing, we tend
to take it personally... Especially if it makes other
residents unhappy. My HOA's policy is to deny all
retro-active requests no matter what. Even if it is
something we otherwise would have approved.

This does two things. First of all, it keeps us from
looking biased. We don't want to play favorites by
letting our friends (or ourselves) get by without the
proper paperwork while making that cranky lady down
the street jump through hoops. Second, it makes people
thing twice before skirting the rules. (Since it costs
the association $175 an hour to have the lawyer write
letters, we want people to obey the rules.)

There was a guy who built a playground for his kids
in his back yard to the tune of $1,400 and a couple
weekends worth of time. The structure could not be
seen from the road, was well built and looked really
nice. The guy had obviously taken great care.

The crotchety lady who lived next door complained (as
she often to does). We made the guy take it down, send
us a request and then we let him build it back. It was
painful for both us and the resident but it was the
only fair thing to do.

Sure, this sounds heavy-handed but we've found that
this gets us in less trouble in the long run than
doing a resident a favor.

So, talk to your neighbors first. Make sure they're
okay with your antennas. If they are comfortable with
them, your board probably will be, too. Fill out all
the paperwork correctly and make sure it's approved
before you start.

Good luck.

Matt (k4mls)

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KF7CG
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Posts: 863




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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2002, 08:38:01 AM »

The approach of ask first makes sense if the Home Owners Association is in charge.  If the developer is still in charge -- GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.  From my experience all developers go by the letter of the restrictions that are in place and will not do variances.

They may tell you to break the restriction and do camoflage and the like, but if they decide they don't like it -- WELL.

This conflicts smartly with the advise from the homeowners' association board members advise. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

The comments about the developers is not just for one developer, but for all the developers in the Greater Columbus, Ohio area.  From the looks of the deed restriction documents, you would think that they copy these things among each other.  They all also have the same canned response.  NO, we won't compromise the NO external antenas (aerials) except for small satellite dishes rule.  If you want an antena break the rule and hope you don't get caught.  By the way, if you do get caught, you will be fined the cost of having a lawyer write you a letter telling you to take it down.  This will be a lien on your lot.

If you want a new house:  A.  Live 30+ miles from town, or B.  Don't have antenas at home.
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INITZERO
Member

Posts: 102


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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2002, 03:00:57 PM »

> If the developer is still in charge -- GO SOMEWHERE
> ELSE. From my experience all developers go by the
> letter of the restrictions that are in place and
> will not do variances.

I've found the exact opposite to be the case. There
is a financial benefit to the developer granting a
variance -- give the guy an antenna and sell a house.
That's a no-brainer (especially in a down market or if
most houses have already been sold).

On the other hand, once the CC&R is in full effect and
governed by a group of residents who have no financial
gain by granting a variance, your chanced of getting an
antenna are much lower.

If you'll read most CC&Rs (at least in Florida), the
developer can supercede any rule prior to turning the
association over to the home owners. During that time,
you need only convince one entity that antennas are a
good thing. Once the residents take over, you must
talk a majority of the board (usually made up of five
to seven people) into allowing the antenna.

Matt (k4mls)
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N9BDF
Member

Posts: 9




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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2002, 10:11:22 PM »

Jim,

  The entry in my association's bylaws simply states that all antennas external to the structure must be approved by the Modifications Committee -- that's it.

  Could you send me a copy of the documents you put together for your association?

  Thanks, Michael N9BDF
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20633




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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2002, 01:52:46 PM »

I certainly feel for those living under CC&Rs prior to becoming hams...how could they know that CC&Rs would restrict their enjoyment of a hobby they didn't have at the time?

However, for already licensed hams who wish to have a home station, if you choose to buy or move into a CC&R property -- why the heck would you do that?

I've lived all over, from coast to coast, and am living in my 14th house (that I have purchased since 1973, when I bought my first one); I correspond regularly on the CC&R subject with hundreds of hams all over the country, and there's little to no evidence that property cannot be purchased _anywhere_, in virtually any county in America, that is not antenna restricted.

Granted, new construction usually is restricted, so that rules out "new construction."  Having the choice of a "new" home, or an "old" home where I can erect antennas of my choice, this is pretty clear-cut.  I like old homes, anyway.

WB2WIK/6
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K3MOV
Member

Posts: 504




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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2002, 01:21:50 AM »

I, like one of the earlier folks who responded, have a a 25 ft. Hy Gain AV 640 on a 15 ft mast.

I simply put a nylon U.S. flag on top, guyed it with fishing line and so far have had no problems. It does upset the SWR in hard, drenching rainstorms but, so far, it has has been nothing the ATU couldn't handle.

I have ordered one of the GAP Quick Tilt systems for $80 to facilitate taking the whole works down temporarily, if need be.
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20633




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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2002, 06:43:14 PM »

Don't forget to fold the flag properly when you lower that vertical, lest you really annoy veterans and others who have been taught to never let Old Glory touch the ground!

Glad to hear about the "flagpole verticals" being successful, this is great.  More people should try experimenting.  I see SGC just introduced their "STEALTH Kit" antenna, maybe that will help, too.

WB2WIK/6
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K6JRY
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2002, 04:10:08 PM »

I have found the the easiest way to get antenna permission where the CC&Rs don't allow it is to buy into a development where the developer has not sold more than 25% of the lots.  This being the case the developer IS the HOA and is willing to make concessions if you are willing to buy a lot and have him build you a house.  I found this true in a new, upscale development on the west side of Cleveland.  I currently am having a house built in a very upscale neighborhood in Rhode Island.  The developer was very cooperative, wrote special CC&Rs for my lot (with some of my input) and filed it with the town.  It helps to have photos of a typical house with a tower in the up and down positions to demonstrate what it will look like on your lot.  I have a signed and stamped set of CC&Rs for my lot from the city and developer.  There is a compromise, however:  I had to agree to place the tower/yagi so it is not "easily seen from the street" (two story house-no problem), and I must lower the tower when I'm not operating (I'm buying a 75 foot self supporting, motor driven crank up and crank down, tubular, telescoping, MA series US Tower).  I also have to cooperate with other homeowners if there are TVI problems.  Finally, the CC&Rs expire when I sell the house or move away.  I can live with these four conditions.

K6JRY
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W6OJ
Member

Posts: 18




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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2002, 10:07:09 PM »

A Homeowners Association (which shall go nameless) recently caused their CC&Rs to be ammended to allow "dish or circular" satellite antennas one meter or less in size with the following language I provided:

"Recent law changes and FCC rules (OTARD: Over-The-Air Reception Devices) adopted in 1996 now make it illegal for homeowners associations to ban satellite antennas as we currently do. OTARD sets forth specific guidelines which essentially state that an association (1) cannot prohibit such antennas of one meter or less in size, (2) cannot establish rules that are inordinately expensive to the member, (3) cannot establish rules that interfere with the reception and operation of such antennas, (4) cannot unreasonably or willfully delay the installation procedure, and several other guidelines that rigorously protect the member’s rights with respect to such antennas."

Notice that the language is very generic and does not mention commercial television or even television.... just "satellite antennas". Now, is/has amateur radio been aboard satellites (OSCAR)? Yes! Can a ham use this language and erect a High Q (MFJ, Isotron, etc.) circular antenna to receive satellite transmissions? Yes! And can it be in the air to improve reception? Yes! Does the language say anything about receive/transmit? No!

My point is that the FCC's OTARD rule provides an opening for hams to carefully and politically argue, and hopefully win, that we can erect small circular antennas to receive satellite signals and are allowed to do so pursuant to OTARD language.

Finally, was OTARD created to apply to hams? No, but by using a little creativity and "country lawyering" one can likely gain a small crack in the CC&Rs to enable hams to put up at least a high Q antenna up in the air.

Not breakthrough stuff, but sometimes one simply does the best one can with the cards delt one!

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