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Author Topic: Fined $50  (Read 34091 times)
AA1BN
Member

Posts: 56




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« on: January 08, 2011, 03:20:44 PM »

Fined $50

My mast is extendable to 30', but only extended to 20'. There is a
BB3 screwdriver antenna at the top of the mast. The mast is mounted
with it's base on the ground, and one support at the edge of the roof.
It's location is directly behind a roof mounted satellite dish.

The covenants suggest that no “exterior modification” is permitted
without the "architectural" approval of the board.

I have been fined $50 without prior warning or notification, and an
additional fine of $50 will be levied each 6th of the month that passes
with the mast/antenna standing. Refusal to pay results in the loss of
use of the subdivision's facilities, and interest charged on the balance
due. If not paid, the home would have a lien placed upon it for the
amount due.

There have been no fines levied for anyone with a satellite dish,
regardless of where it had been installed. There is one aside a home
(but not attached to the home), on a 10' mast. All satellite dishes are
mounted on masts.Many of the satellite dishes are for Internet use.

I can't afford a lawyer to battle this issue, but I can't stand the
thought of having to pay a fine for no valid reason, nor can I
accept the notion that one antenna can be permitted, while
another isn't.

I am about to pay the $50, remount the BB3 to a satellite dish
roof mount and call it a day, but I'm not too sure what to expect next.

Is anyone failure with this type of situation, and how can
it be remedied best?

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W0MT
Member

Posts: 166




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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2011, 06:59:48 PM »

Welcome to a neighborhood run by an HOA with CC&Rs to back them up. I am assuming that the CC&Rs require (rather then “suggest”) that exterior modifications require prior approval. I also assume that the levy of $50 is within the guidelines controlling the HOA. Finally I am assuming that they have the right to continue to levy every month. If all of this is true, the only recourse I can suggest is to meet with the board and apologize and kiss a$$. They MIGHT let you keep the antenna up while you apply for approval but if not you probably will have to take it down to avoid continuing $50 bills flying out of your pocket. If you suck up a lot they might even set aside the first $50.

Satellite dishes are allowed to exist by federal law and regulations. . Here is a link that describes that:

http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

Notice that satellite dishes are allowed for both TV reception AND internet service. You might want to be careful in putting up a satellite dish and then mounting your antenna on top of that. You apparently are on the HOA's radar screen and they might go after you again as they would not look like any other normal satellite installation.
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AA1BN
Member

Posts: 56




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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2011, 09:46:35 PM »



Re:
"I am assuming that the CC&Rs require (rather then “suggest”)
that exterior modifications require prior approval. I also assume
that the levy of $50 is within the guidelines controlling the HOA.
Finally I am assuming that they have the right to continue to levy
every month."


All true. However... how is a mast for an antenna, or an antenna
itself, considered a modification to a structure? They do specify fences
and the like, but not "antennas" or "masts". My neighbor has an
FM type array on his roof. He's not sure what it's for, but believes it
to be for the gas company (?). Since it is not for Satellite TV, where
are the rules limiiting it, and how can an HOA arbitrarily rule legally?


They have levied a fine of $50 without giving me due notice,
and a chance to correct the problem, as required by Florida Statute.
----
720.305  (2)
(a)  A fine or suspension may not be imposed without notice of at
least 14 days to the person sought to be fined or suspended and
an opportunity for a hearing before a committee of at least three
members appointed by the board who are not officers, directors,
or employees of the association, or the spouse, parent, child,
brother, or sister of an officer, director, or employee. If the committee,
by majority vote, does not approve a proposed fine or suspension,
it may not be imposed.
----

I realize that the CC&Rs can legally remove rights, since it is a contractual
agreement; no-one twisted my arm to buy here. But aren't there laws that
prevent arbitrary rule making?
----
Florida Statute:
720.3035 
Architectural control covenants; parcel owner improvements; rights and privileges.
(1)  The authority of an association or any architectural,
construction improvement, or other such similar committee of an
association to review and approve plans and specifications for
the location, size, type, or appearance of any structure or other
improvement on a parcel, or to enforce standards for the external
appearance of any structure or improvement located on a parcel,
shall be permitted only to the extent that the authority is
specifically stated or reasonably inferred as to such location,
size, type, or appearance in the declaration of covenants or
other published guidelines and standards authorized by the
declaration of covenants.
----

I do not feel that the item (an antenna) is specified, or even suggested,
as a prohibited item, or one that requires permission to install.

The letter I received states that a "tower of some type, with a
communication antenna" had been installed without permission.

Does this fall into the guidelines of the Florida statutes, or am I
lost to the CC&Rs?


(If it wasn't for an immediate need due to health problems, I would
have never bought into a restricted deed community. I wish more people
knew the real truth about these hell-holes.)
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W0MT
Member

Posts: 166




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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2011, 10:14:54 PM »

You really need to take the mater up with the HOA. I don’t know how Florida interprets the requirement that you be provided 14 days notice prior to a fine. If you got a letter saying something like you put up an antenna without permission and then 14 days later got hit with a fine, that might be in accordance with the Florida law that you quoted.  I just don’t know. It is entirely possible that they don’t have to inform you that if you do nothing in 14 days we are going to hit you with a fine.
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AA1BN
Member

Posts: 56




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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2011, 10:30:17 PM »

What's your opinion regarding "arbitrary" decisions of the
architectural board ? Can they simply decide that one antenna
(not a dish) is ok, and the next one isn't?

Just how "all encompassing" are the decisions of the HOA board?

(By the way, the Vice President of the HOA is a renter and does
not own a home in the subdivision. The bylaws were never changed
to restrict a non-homeowner from being on the board. In fact, an
individual not owning or living in this subdivision can be on the board,
according to the bylaws)

Thanks for your input.

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WX7G
Member

Posts: 5908




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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2011, 10:48:30 PM »

Here's another fine mess you've gotten us into.

I think you'll have to pay the fine and take down the mast and screwdriver. You might get by with ground mounting the screwdriver if it is hidden and the whip is removed except when on the air.
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AA1BN
Member

Posts: 56




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2011, 11:15:24 PM »

I have a feeling you're right, but I'll probably go after the $50
fine anyway. I need a good interpretation of that statute, tho..

The law allows a flagpole, regardless of CC&Rs, and it's
an option I might look into, but I don't like verticals.

I also have been considering a closed loop antenna around
the parimeter of the house, just above the roof edge. There are
other options of course, but good grief.... a lousy screwdriver
antenna? It takes up so little space, it makes a dish look obtrusive.

I'll probably take the thing down tomorrow, and send a check
next week.

Mount the BB3 on the van, and run the wire in when I want to
use it.... Or stick it on a portable tripod and set it outside to use?

What a pain in the ass.



Thanks for the input.
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WX7G
Member

Posts: 5908




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2011, 03:34:07 AM »

I have the same situation and get by well enough with a screwdriver. I work 80 meter DX nightly running 500 watts on CW.

The screwdriver lives inside a 5' x 4" x 4" vinyl fence post with a bird house on top. It's in the center of a small (25 x 50' back yard) yard with 64 radials covering a 25' x 40' area. During daytime operation a 3' or 6' whip is attached using a quick disconnect. For better performance a 9' whip is sometimes attached and at night a 6' Hustler mast extension with the 9' whip is attached. That makes a 20' vertical having 65% radiation efficiency on 40 meters and 17% on 80 meters. With 500 watts it's a pileup breaker on 40 meters and is good for working Europe from Utah on 80 meters. For contests a helium balloon vertical wire is run. Right now there is a balloon vertical at 65' in the air for the NAQP contest.

CC&R does not mean no DXing, even low band DXing. 
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M6OXO
Member

Posts: 2




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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2011, 04:44:57 AM »

Hi as in the UK a  "lein" exists pay the $50 put to experience.

Then enquire at your local city court house for " COVENANT REMOVAL " As what you are doing is of no (FINANCIAL GAIN) to yourself and makes it totally unfair for me to persue my hobby at home.
 We had over in the UK, if you know a DISSABLED operator and he is going to visit and use his and your equipment, then the covenant becomes discriminated to the disabled and infringes yours & their HUMAN RIGHTS! (Then it's removed on the discrimination card here )
 You may need a lawyers letter but do a search first on covenant's & how to remove unfair ones. They have to be listed via the planning & building control group where building regulations are sought so you can build your houses. Phone and enquire they will know how to get rid of covenants.
  On paper sold 100 sq yards 10x10 yards, as the covenant was on the building only.Then popped up a monster mast with the land then split & the covenant is only on the deed for the building. Now with a separate deed for the 100 sq yards and that's how I beat mine £75 or $125 to land registry too move that bit of land into another person who is not NAMED on the mortgage. Good luck Wink Grin
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WD4HXG
Member

Posts: 182




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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2011, 06:28:27 AM »

Sorry to hear you are having to deal with the
dictators. My personal experience and opinion
is that "The THING" called an HOA is nothing
more than a refuge for tyrants who have been
unable to succeed in the real world of politics.

However since state legislatures have seen fit
to impose these  Draconian Empires on us we
have little choice but to dwell within the confines
of their jurisdiction as the selection of safe
habitable dwellings is in short supply unless you
have very deep pockets.

I recommend you do the following:

1 Take down your current antenna. ASAP. Do not
give them anymore ammo then they already have.

2 Pay them the $50.00. The alternatives are to
fight it in court or allow them to attach a lien to
your dwelling. Given they slammed you with a
fine before a warning letter tells me they intend
to use you as an example. When you achieve SK
status they will still get their cut before your heirs
can close your estate. If you go to trial then you
will likely pay a boatload of barrister fees, court
costs and awards to the HOA if you lose. If you
win there is no guarantee the judge will award
you attorney's fees and costs.

3 Keep an eye out for flagpoles in all the usual
places, e-Bay, classified adds in the paper,
Craigslist, on-the-air radio station swap shops,
etc.

4 Once you have the pole contact the HOA for a
permit to erect it under the statutory flagpole
exemption mention in this thread.

5 With permit in hand erect the flag pole. FOR
SAFETY REASONS YOU WILL NEED TO PLACE
SEVERAL "SAFETY GROUNDS" just below the
surface of the soil. For sound engineering
reasons they should be an 1/8 wavelength at
frequencies of interest.

6 Use a small motor assist for raising and
lowering the flag. This is to address your
"Arthritic Condition" thus making raising
and lowering the flag a manageable task.
In addition to the motor you will need to
place circuitry for monitoring the current
used by the motor. It will also serve as a
remote matching circuit. However they do
not need that info.

--------------------------------------------------

Verticals as maligned as they are actually provide
decent service. Yeah you take a hit losing 1/2 of
your signal in the ground, but when viewed from
the world of the S Unit then it does not seem so
bad. Consider that your losses are between 3 and
6 dB. That would be 50% to 75% of signal lost to
heating the earth. Yet when you look at the effect
on the distant end S Meter the op there will see
from 1/2 to 1 S Unit difference. At 59 yrs I can barely
detect a change in the audio from 0 dB to -3 dB.
6 dB in a noisy band gets lost with me.

I also kind of doubt there would be much difference
between your Hamstick and the Flagpole in terms
of pattern. Yeah the hamstick is convenient but then
it has drawn the ire of the BOD. They might complain
about the flagpole but hey, if it is legal then that is
their problem and not yours.

If you decide to look into fighting back in the legal
domain drop me a line at wcmoore@verizon.net. I
can tell you a few things I stumbled into with the HOA
I dealt with back in thelate 80's and how the pieces
fell into place so I was able to erect an VHF vertical
(IsoPole 2 meter). It was a nasty conflagration. It
is all about finding the dirt in the HOA's  procedural
history and the Board of Directors lives. 
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W0MT
Member

Posts: 166




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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2011, 05:10:03 PM »

A question for AA1BN:

Was the first correspondence you received on this a notice that you were being fined $50? Or is it possible that you got a letter telling you that your antenna was not approved followed two weeks later by a letter fining you $50? It just isn't clear in your postings.
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AA1BN
Member

Posts: 56




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2011, 06:11:28 PM »

Bob - w0mt

The first and only correspondence was the letter telling me I
have been fined $50, and it has been added to my account
for "policy violation". It adds, that the board "requests" that the
"tower" is removed immediately, and if I am not in compliance,
a fine of $50 will be added on the 6th of each month that it
remains up. It also suggests that I "become more aware of
our deed restricted documentation".

I am aware of the documentation, and a simple antenna mast
is not a "structural modification", as far as I understand.

The documentation does list specific items: I.E. Fences, walls,
and does not specify anything that is not usually considered
a structural device, or not having to do with the basic structure
of a dwelling.

For that fact, I had no reason to assume a simple antenna mast,
that has never before been considered a structural device of any
dwelling, should require permission or special consent to install.

A warning letter, or letter of intent would have been acknowledged,
and I could have addressed the problem and avoided a fine.

I suppose that's the intent of the Florida Statute governing the fining
process of HOA's? If so.... I want my fifty bucks back.

Thanks for hanging in....

John - aa1bn

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AA1BN
Member

Posts: 56




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2011, 06:12:58 PM »

Thanks Wes (wd4hxg), and all.

I've decided to take the blasted thing down. I wasn't happy with
it anyway. It transmits fine, but without radials it doesn't receive
as well as it sends (I don't have room for radials). I hate not
hearing a weak station.

The screwdriver also takes time to tune, making band changes time
consuming. It's great on the mobile, and works OK for a home,
but I'd prefer a wire antenna instead.

So, I'll take it down, and pay the fine after speaking with an attorney
(hopefully Monday 12-10-11).

If I'm correct with my interpretation of the fining process, and had
not been given ample notice prior to being fined, I'll pay the fine and
demand return based on the Florida Statute. A trip to small claims
court would be next, and I shouldn't need an attorney for that.
Either I'm right, or they're right.

I would like to get the issue of arbitrary rule-making settled, however.
No legal entity should have the power to rule in an arbitrary manner;
If not outright unconstitutional, it's reeks of impropriety.

There have been some good suggestions to "kiss some arse", and
perhaps they'll allow the BB3 in a different location, and I may
also try that route. I don't see why a BB3 mounted on a standard
small dish antenna mount (without the dish), or on a vent pipe would
be objectionable, but........

This is an HOA that's run amuck for over twenty years. The home
owners have not elected anyone to the board of directors in that
amount of time, and the present president has held that seat for nearly
all that time. He refuses to comply with standard procedures for notifying
home owners regarding voting matters, the nomination process, etc.
Consequently, the home owners feel that the "Board" is something they
can't argue with, or change.

I'm due for some major surgery over the next week or so, and I personally
don't feel up to fighting with these clowns, before or after......

My strong suggestion to anyone reading this, is to stay the hell away
from buying any property that is "deed restricted", or forces you to sign
a contract to follow policies that are exempt from Local Government rule.
Any property governed by a "Home Owner's Association" can (and will)
rob you from basic rights you would enjoy otherwise.

I bought here four years ago, after cancer surgery and little hope for
longevity. I wanted my wife to be safe, in a home with little property
to maintain, and in a surrounding that would be helpful.

I wish I wasn't so hasty; I hope someone else can learn from my mistake.


Thanks Wes, I may drop you a line!

John - aa1bn

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W0MT
Member

Posts: 166




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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2011, 09:00:00 AM »

John,
Were it I, I would go the the HOA and point out the section of the Florida code you posted about requiring 14 days notice prior to assessing a fine. That being said, you should be aware that reading just one paragraph out of the code often leads to the wrong result. Florida wouldn't be the first state to have another paragraph somewhere else in the code that says that paragraph doesn't apply to (fill in the blank here); it might be for HOAs in your particular county, only for HOAs formed after some date, only for HOAs that don't include something in the CC&Rs saying that provision of the code is waived, etc.
In any case, good luck!
Robert
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AA1BN
Member

Posts: 56




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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2011, 03:34:41 PM »

Robert -

The 2010 Florida Statutes:
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0720/0720PARTIContentsIndex.html

720.305Obligations of members; remedies at law or in equity; levy of fines and suspension of use rights.
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0720/Sections/0720.305.html

I'm re-writing my letter to the HOA, and providing more of an
apologetic response. The antenna was more visible after tree- trimming
and was not as "unobtrusive" as it were prior to the trimming. The fact
that it wasn't noticed until after the tree-trimming is moot; they have a
right to challenge, even if it took them a year to notice it.

I am going to apologize for not noticing that the antenna became as
visible as it became. I will also ask if I mount the antenna near the
location of the satellite dish antenna (and not above the roof-line),
would it be permissible. (I have pictures to attach, with the antenna
at that "new" location and height, to provide as an example).
(I tested it at the lower height, and it performs better!)

I will explain the best I can, that the covenants do not specify an
antenna mast or antenna as a "structural modification". Other examples
that are given have little, if anything, to do with the design of an antenna
mast, and/or an antenna.

Since no permits or permissions were asked for or granted for
satellite TV or UHF frequency antennas that presently adorn the
roofs of some homes in the subdivision, I found no reason to
petition for permission.

That dialog, and some groveling, may or may not fare well.

I'll tell them that I want my fifty bucks back, after I get the
antenna blessed, or if it gets denied.

I appreciate your interest and opinion regarding the legality of it all.

I hope this thread may help others that may eventually find themselves
in this situation.

Thanks for the input!

73,

John
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