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Author Topic: $300 for a variance hearing in my back yard.  (Read 4370 times)
WALTERB
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« on: May 20, 2011, 11:21:40 AM »



Ok,  I’ve been planning to put up a hexbeam in the backyard. I wanted it about 40 feet up.  I didn’t think I needed to do anything other than perhaps a building permit since I don’t live in an incorporated area. So I called the county zoning office.  They claim I need to shell out $300 just for a variance hearing since my antenna will be up higher than 20 feet.  They will quiz my neighbors who if they object means I’m out $300.

My question is, is it too late to take up stamp collecting? 
 Grin
Seriously,  is this sort thing normal and is there some sort of Homeland security clause or something to get around it?
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K5LXP
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 01:21:13 PM »

Is this for a tower?  I would find it surprising if you'd need a zoning variance or a building permit for anything other than a tower.    Before you go down the road of getting a variance make sure the ordinance actually applies to an amateur tower in a residential zone.  I wouldn't trust what the clerk who answered the phone is correct for your exact application.  Research the codes yourself.  If a variance is actually required, you can poll the neighbors ahead of time and sell them on the idea first before you apply.  Or find a loophole in the code, like mounting the support structure to your house instead of using a freestanding tower.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 01:45:35 PM »

I agree, I'd certainly want to have a copy of the ordinance myself.  I'd never just take somebody's word for this.

"Most" (not all) municipalities and counties differentiate between a hobby and business, and wrote more restrictive ordinances over the years to help limit the number of cell phone towers they'd have to deal with; and then the clerk interprets that to mean all towers, when it doesn't.

Normally in a variance application, "they" don't contact your neighbors: You do.  I don't think I've ever heard of a place where the zoning board, or the court, or any official agency does that.  They leave it up to the applicant, and you provide signatures from your neighbors saying they don't object to whatever it is you're doing.

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KE7KLY
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2011, 06:16:34 PM »

The problem all citizens encounter these days is local governments using fees of any sort that they are able to think up to generate money.  All city/county employees are instructed to collect fees for anything they can, from $30 dog licences to absurd building permit fees.  Our government at all levels is out of control on spending and gold plated employee benifits.
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N4UFO
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 08:17:08 PM »

I would think PRB-1 applies, but I'm no expert on that...   But if you want to avoid all that in the first place, do what I did... mount it low to the ground. I have a 10 foot tripod (9'4" to be exact) mounted on two pieces of railroad tie that are rebarred to the ground. I go up from there with 1" steel pipe and the base of my antenna is at 12.5 feet. Yes, I know it can't possibly perform as well, but I tried it at 17 feet before the railroad ties were secured with the rebar and a wind storm blew the whole thing over. Now it's very stable just sits there...   Grin   I still work DX all over with 100 watts.

Seriously, it's way cheaper than a tower and no one (can) complain... you are under 20 feet. See pics at my QRZ.com page.
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N2EY
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2011, 05:39:00 AM »

The problem all citizens encounter these days is local governments using fees of any sort that they are able to think up to generate money.  All city/county employees are instructed to collect fees for anything they can, from $30 dog licences to absurd building permit fees.

The alternative is to raise taxes to cover the costs. The fees and amounts are determined by the officials *the people* elected.

Suppose somebody wants to put a $50,000 addition on their house. Somebody has to pay for the plan review, filing of the records, inspections, etc. - those things aren't free.

Should everyone's taxes be raised to pay for it? Or should the person who benefits pay?

  Our government at all levels is out of control on spending and gold plated employee benifits.

What would you have them cut?

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N8CMQ
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2011, 09:30:14 AM »



  Our government at all levels is out of control on spending and gold plated employee benifits.

What would you have them cut?

73 de Jim, N2EY

How about a zoning clerk that works for 5 townships and her yard is the messiest in our township?
Can't seem to vote her out...
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N2EY
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2011, 01:19:58 PM »

How about a zoning clerk that works for 5 townships and her yard is the messiest in our township?
Can't seem to vote her out...

If you can't vote her out, the majority of folks must think she's OK

73 de Jim, N2EY
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2011, 01:45:11 PM »

How about a zoning clerk that works for 5 townships and her yard is the messiest in our township?
Can't seem to vote her out...

If you can't vote her out, the majority of folks must think she's OK

73 de Jim, N2EY

Or she's a political appointment and not elected.  This is the case in many places.  If you're friends with the Mayor or County Administrator (or whoever) you can be appointed to almost anything.
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WALTERB
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2011, 09:02:13 PM »

thanks to all.

I'll try to find out more over the next few weeks.
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KF6A
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Posts: 214




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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2011, 02:06:32 AM »

Don't even get me started on this topic. American politics are corrupt beyond belief all the way down to the city/county level and don't be surprised if your city/county invents law as they go to prevent you from putting up an amateur radio antenna support structure. Ask me how I know about corrupt city governments, the South San Francisco city council are corrupt statist bullies, cough. I fought the law and the law didn't win. They didn't win because they didn't call my bluff about suing them for denying my permit based on invented laws that didn't exist in the city code.

Since you're already seeing resistance before you go down this road I highly suggest purchasing, and absorbing, the ARRL book "Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur" by Fred Hopengarten before doing anything else.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 02:20:25 AM by KF6A » Logged
KF6A
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Posts: 214




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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2011, 02:11:19 AM »

How about a zoning clerk that works for 5 townships and her yard is the messiest in our township?
Can't seem to vote her out...

If you can't vote her out, the majority of folks must think she's OK

73 de Jim, N2EY
That's baloney. She could also be the only one running. In my city the city council and the others in city government cycle themselves through the system. The ones who are elected appoint the ones who weren't elected to various positions in the government. And the cycle goes on and on. Most Americans are ignorant about politics and that's a fact.
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AI8P
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Posts: 118




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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2011, 09:58:30 AM »

A couple points:

In my town,  if you dig a hole a foot deep, you are required to get a building permit.   If the Zoning Inspector makes a snap judgement that your foot deep hole is not in accordance with the Zoning Laws, then you have to file a variance to get permission to dig it.    So damn near anything might require a variance.

Second,  PRB-1 sounds good, but the record in court indicates that it is no guarantee of success (see the recent California (where they also have a State PRB-1 statue) ham who lost his appeal because his VHF/UHF antenna on his roof allows him to "participate in some parts of Ham Radio".  Been as far as the State Supreme Court, who declined to review the case.

Third,  definitely go down to the office and buy a complete set of the zoning regulations for your location.  Do not accept the clerk's word that "only these sections apply".

Fourth, run, don't walk, to your nearest Ham Toystore and get a copy of the ARRL book on Antenna Regulation.

Fifth,  contact the ARRL and see if there is a League volunteer antenna lawyer anywhere near you.

Good luck.

Dennis
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AI8P
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Posts: 118




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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2011, 10:02:57 AM »

BTW,  the government doesn't interview your neighbors for a variance.

However, they will NOTIFY all of your neighbors of the subject and date of the hearing so that the neighbors can come and voice any objections to your project.

It is up to you to contact your neighbors and convince them of the reasonableness of your endeavor prior to the hearing.

More info in the ARRL book - get it!

Dennis
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WALTERB
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Posts: 528




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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2011, 12:03:39 PM »

BTW,  the government doesn't interview your neighbors for a variance.

However, they will NOTIFY all of your neighbors of the subject and date of the hearing so that the neighbors can come and voice any objections to your project.

It is up to you to contact your neighbors and convince them of the reasonableness of your endeavor prior to the hearing.

More info in the ARRL book - get it!

Dennis

Can someone define "all your neighbors".  I assume its more than the people directly to the left, right, and across the street?

thanks
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