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Author Topic: County limit of 35' lawful?  (Read 1824 times)
NEVBEN
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Posts: 110




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« on: December 05, 2017, 12:38:44 PM »

I'm interested in opinions about a county ordinance limiting amateur antennas to 35' on parcels less than one acre.  For parcels larger than one acre, it is 75' and requires a major variance for higher.  I am primarily interested in the 35' limit.  The FCC's declaration (PRB-1) stops short of specifying a restriction on height limitations.  Now of course among hams I am sure I will receive unanimous agreement that 35' is too short, but what I want to know is whether this is restrictive enough to be in conflict with PRB-1.  For example, it would entirely preclude the use of a ZS6BKW antenna and that is a practical reason it is unreasonably restrictive, but practically speaking, is the FCC likely to be helpful?
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KS2G
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Posts: 738




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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2017, 01:22:25 PM »

... is the FCC likely to be helpful?

No, the FCC does not get involved in antenna disputes.

Unfortunately, PRB-1 cases must be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

No opinions you receive here will be much help.

You need to consult an attorney, preferably one skilled in the ways of local zoning and antenna precedents.

Check out the ARRL Volunteer Counsel Program:
http://www.arrl.org/volunteer-counsel-program
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 17192




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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2017, 01:42:59 PM »

Quote from: NEVBEN

...For example, it would entirely preclude the use of a ZS6BKW antenna...



Why?

There is no requirement that the ladder line for the ZS6BKW antenna run exactly vertical.
A simple installation is to let it hang down from the antenna then bend horizontally to run
across the yard to the house.   You can even install it at 5' high along wood fence if you
want, though you'll still want to keep the ladder line up off the ground.  And you can
always run ladder line directly to a tuner without worrying too much about the length.


So if you are going to choose an antenna to argue your case, at least it will help to pick one
that really doesn't fit within the 35' limit.

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K6JH
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Posts: 404




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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 03:05:49 PM »

FYI, this doesn't help after the fact, but...

My town started to pass a 35ft ordnance. It turns out someone on staff knew about the 35ft CB FCC rule, so just put that into the initial draft. We managed to fill the council room with hams, red cross, etc. and got the rule changed to 75ft without a special variance. Still have to comply with building codes, etc.

After the fact, it'll be harder. There are antennas which can stay under 35ft. Certainly they are a compromise, and higher antennas open you up to other more effective types. But since the ordnance doesn't preclude amateur radio, I think it will be difficult and expensive to challenge.
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73
Jim K6JH
NEVBEN
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Posts: 110




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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 05:52:51 PM »

... is the FCC likely to be helpful?

No, the FCC does not get involved in antenna disputes.

Unfortunately, PRB-1 cases must be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.


Which one is it?  They do adjudicate or they don't?

Also, this isn't a dispute, but a question about whether an ordinance is contrary to PRB-1 or not.  Just to clarify, this ordinance is long established.

Based on the responses, my understanding is the 35' limit is likely to stand.  That's a pity because it contributes to making amateur radio something best suited only for the elite, which not only have the kilobuck transreceivers, but also at least an acre for their tower.  Sure, the little guy can use the club's repeater with his HT or play around with QRP, or heck even heat the ground as much as he wants with the full legal limit.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2017, 06:48:56 PM »

Quote from:  link=topic=118063.msg1037808#msg1037808 date=1512506324
I'm interested in opinions about a county ordinance limiting amateur antennas to 35' on parcels less than one acre.

In my experience, ordinances aren't subject to opinion.   :-)

What about the rest of the zoning?  I've seen where the height limit is stated but that's the permissive limit, i.e. no permit required.  But you can go higher with a permit or a variance.  That will be spelled out in the zoning documents. 

Doesn't mean it would be easy or cheap, but not impossible.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KS2G
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Posts: 738




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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2017, 07:49:54 PM »

... is the FCC likely to be helpful?

No, the FCC does not get involved in antenna disputes.

Unfortunately, PRB-1 cases must be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.


Which one is it?  They do adjudicate or they don't?

Also, this isn't a dispute, but a question about whether an ordinance is contrary to PRB-1 or not.  Just to clarify, this ordinance is long established.

Based on the responses, my understanding is the 35' limit is likely to stand.  That's a pity because it contributes to making amateur radio something best suited only for the elite, which not only have the kilobuck transreceivers, but also at least an acre for their tower.  Sure, the little guy can use the club's repeater with his HT or play around with QRP, or heck even heat the ground as much as he wants with the full legal limit.

I guess I wasn't clear: I will try again.

No, you will not get any help from the FCC in determining whether the 35-foot height limit is in compliance with PRB-1.

The FCC does not make such determinations; they're made by courts when individuals file legal challenges to local restrictions.

And those decisions across the country are "all over the map".
There is no "magic number" as to what height-limit (or, for that matter, whether any height limit) complies with PRB-1.

The key language in PRB-1 is its requirement that local authorities provide "reasonable accommodation" for antenna structures, and that's open to considerably different interpretations, as discussed in this article: http://www.antennazoning.com/attachments/PRB1_Article.pdf 

As I said in my earlier post, no opinions you receive here (as to whether the 35-foot height limit in your location complies with PRB-1) will be much help.

You need to consult an attorney, preferably one skilled in the ways of local zoning and antenna precedents.

Check out the ARRL Volunteer Counsel Program:
http://www.arrl.org/volunteer-counsel-program



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AF7ON
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Posts: 55




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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2017, 08:33:26 AM »

One possible way around this is to use a telescoping crank-up tower or mast that is below the 35' limit when stowed.  This could meet the letter of the law!

Mike
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W6QW
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Posts: 53




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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2017, 01:47:21 PM »

AF7ON's suggestion is a pragmatic approach.  You could also survey cell phone towers in your county as a precedent for legal variance.
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NEVBEN
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Posts: 110




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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2017, 02:25:01 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions.  I just wanted to understand the effect of PRB-1 better in this circumstance.  My understanding now is that PRB-1 does not preempt such a restriction.

I am not trying to circumvent or overcome the restriction.  For what it's worth, the restriction does not apply to telecommunications sites (as defined in the county general plan), and the 35' limit is only applicable to sites under 1 acre.  Really, it's a pity for amateur radio but it is what it is.
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KS2G
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Posts: 738




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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2017, 04:48:36 AM »

Thanks for the suggestions.  I just wanted to understand the effect of PRB-1 better in this circumstance.  My understanding now is that PRB-1 does not preempt such a restriction.

Actually, PRB-1 might preempt such a restriction, because having a 35-foot limit on a smaller lot while allowing a 75 foot tower on a larger lot might be considered "arbitrary" rather than "reasonable".

As I've noted in my previous posts, the only way to find out is to challenge it.
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AA4PB
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Posts: 14360




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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2017, 07:30:27 AM »

The first thing you need to do is apply for a variance for whatever antenna/tower you want and have your public hearing. They may approve it if you provide some justification and get the support of neighbors.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
AA2UK
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Posts: 381




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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2017, 07:44:36 AM »

The first thing you need to do is apply for a variance for whatever antenna/tower you want and have your public hearing. They may approve it if you provide some justification and get the support of neighbors.

Bob, I never could get the support of the neighbors. Even when I lived on 8 wooded acres.
That's always the tough one, and trying to prove you aren't going to harm anyone's health.
The latest fallacy created to stop cell towers by NIMBY.
I suggest asking for a private hearing after the public one goes bust to address any issues that are emotionally based in the public hearing.
Bill, AA2UK
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AA4PB
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Posts: 14360




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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2017, 08:14:45 AM »

Bill, I suppose the process varies with different areas. I've never been involved with a tower variance, but I've done a number of variances for other issues as a trustee of a local church. The process here is that after you make the application you have a meeting with county staff people from Planning and Zoning. You make whatever adjustments to your plan that are necessary to get the staff approval. Next you have a public hearing where anyone can speak for or against the variance. The staff gives their recommendation for approval and the board members vote on it. I've had neighbors oppose the variance at the public hearing and still got approval from the board. Usually the board tries to find some compromise that will satisfy both sides.

The downside is that with the application you must pay a non-refundable application fee. I've done it with and without a lawyer. It usually goes much smoother with a local lawyer who deals with this stuff on a daily basis and knows all of the players involved.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
AA2UK
Member

Posts: 381




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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2017, 08:37:36 AM »

I did jump the process a bit. It's similar here with the exception of requesting and being granted a private closed door hearing.
Bill, AA2UK
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