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Author Topic: Ham tower on privately owned 5 acre horse farm  (Read 3101 times)

Posts: 1

« on: April 14, 2019, 11:38:11 PM »

I am contemplating buying a 5-acre horse property and want to put up a tower with several yagis and vertical antennas on stand-offs, up to 1.2 GH so I need both height and short feedline.

Surrounding the place, there is an empty lot behind it, with power lines lower down that I'd like to be above as much as possible.  There a horse exercise area, accessed through my right of way with a couple of ugly trailers I will have to plant screening for my own benefit, a house on either side, one of which is quite low with trees and a fallen in barn blocking the view, and the other side has massive screening from large trees.  There is a large house across the street and several other homes across the street.  Nearly the entire frontage is lined with moderate scrubby type trees that I wanted to remove but will probably leave or plant something bigger and or fill in any gaps. Most homes have trees 50' high between my preferred tower location and them.  Local zoning requires the height to me no more than 20' above the average height of the surrounding trees (a number open to interpretation) for the tower height and it says nothing about masts on top of that.  A 70' tilt over tower would be close to their requirements.  Still the top 20 ' or more would be visible. 

So you can see this is not some tract home development with homes on top of each other. 

The town has excessive requirements for permitting this, including proposing two or more locations, a $2000 fee, posting a $10,000 bond for an independent consultant to review this,  with a possible partial refund, height limitations, an overly complex application process including renderings, photo simulations, sightline views, possibly flying a balloon for two weeks at the height of the proposed tower, elevation drawings from all adjoining properties and numerous other limitations.  They have so many regulations and such a high cost, it makes this unaffordable.  I feel like just putting up what I want to deal with them in court later if necessary. I would guess that most of my neighbors would not care what I did.  Possibly one or two houses 250' away and across the street might find in mildly objectionable.  If I had a 200' tower with lights on it, everyone would freak out, but I think a 70' tower would be ok. 

So given the large size of the lot, and the distances, and the fair amount of screening, I think I'm good.   The danger might be if I wanted to apply for a permit later to rebuild the fallen down barn, they could hassle me.  Additionally, they could jack up my real estate tax and punish me that way.  As a new guy in town, I would expect long time resident would have a lot of sway while I would have little but the CFR's which are not clearly defined from what I can read.

What are my rights?  I would think they could not stop me in this situation.  Reading the CFRs it would seem that I must follow the town zoning proceedure, which by being both time consuming and overly costly violated Federal Regulation.  My inclination is to simply put it up, and take photos from every other property and have them ready in case I get challenged on it.  I'm not payiing a $2000 fee.  Nor am I paying $10,000 for an independent consultant.


Posts: 194


« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 03:09:09 AM »

I'm not trying to be funny, but I think the first right you need to exercise is to buy somewhere else. If they want all that for a ham radio tower, they will control every move you make.

Posts: 3549

« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 04:19:48 AM »

There have been some recent successes in applying PRB-1 to excessive fees and approval hoops for amateur radio towers and antennas. If you are a member of ARRL, you should contact them to get the name of a local attorney that is familiar with this approach. An attorney would attempt to get the requirements changed in advance of your construction.

Proceeding to erect a tower without a building permit is a foolish move. You can then be forced to pay fines, remove the tower, or obtain the permits ex post facto. You could also do damage by creating case law not in favor of future amateur radio tower and antenna installations.

- Glenn W9IQ

- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.

Posts: 568

« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 05:48:09 AM »

There have been some recent successes in applying PRB-1 to excessive fees and approval hoops for amateur radio towers and antennas. If you are a member of ARRL, you should contact them to get the name of a local attorney that is familiar with this approach. An attorney would attempt to get the requirements changed in advance of your construction.

Proceeding to erect a tower without a building permit is a foolish move. You can then be forced to pay fines, remove the tower, or obtain the permits ex post facto. You could also do damage by creating case law not in favor of future amateur radio tower and antenna installations.

- Glenn W9IQ

“cFR’s” is the abbreviation for Code of Federal Regulations. CFRs have nothing to do with local zoning or building codes. Based on the misunderstanding therein, it’s difficult to discern whether you have actually done your due diligence of the relevant and applicable rules.

We usd to have a home similar to what you described in a similar location. After initially being told there were restrictive procedures to follow, I reviewed the town’s building requirements and found I was misinformed. Perhaps you should verify.

Posts: 15066

« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 07:02:21 AM »

You probably meant CC&R (Codes, Conditions and Restrictions) which is related to permitted land use.

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 1081

« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2019, 10:08:28 AM »

What are my rights? 

This information MAY be helpful:
Court Rules Excessive Antenna Application Fees Violated Reasonable Accommodation

HOWEVER ... it would be wise for you to CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY who is knowledgeable in such matters.

You may be able to find one through the ARRL Volunteer Counsel Program:

As others have posted, it would be VERY UNWISE to just construction your "antenna farm" without going through the necessary legal processes.

Best of luck.


Posts: 6167


« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2019, 11:23:58 AM »

Something you don't see proposed very often is the idea that most zoning and codes pertain to permanent structures.  My first stab at it would be to deploy a trailer mounted tower.  This gives you the ability to have something now along with the flexibility to move it about to find an optimum location or to underscore the notion of not being permanent.  So unless there's specific deed restriction or zoning rule regarding parking a duly registered and insured trailer on the property I'd give that a look.  If nothing else it gives you something to use while you navigate the permitting gauntlet.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

Posts: 927

« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2019, 02:16:23 PM »


You might want to look through the archives to see what happened to me, in a similar debacle.

The EX and I bought 5 acres in a NON-HOA subdivision here in FL. Both retired IBM Professionals.
I got permission from the County Building Inspector to erect my 2 towers.
2 neighbors didn't "like" them, and had a 'Lawyer' (kind of) who was related, sue us.

This was after I refused to comply with their 'wishes'.
We had death threats, I had to call the Sheriff on multiple occasions when these 'nice' neighbors would cuss my wife out when she was working in the flower beds around our BRAND NEW $350K home, and my detached dream shop/shack. 40X60, 2 stories, etc. She became afraid to go outside!

We were driven off the road one night and I told the Sheriff as ex-military, I carry and would NOT put up with this. He told me, "I wouldn't either".

We eventually went to court and won. However, this drama was too much for the ex who grew up in Boca Raton. She left and went back to Kentucky.

The financial strain caused us to split. Yeah, we won. But, we really lost. Sold the house/shop for 1/2 it's value.



If you have deep pockets, go for it. We didn't.

What's ironic is that I now live about 2 miles from my 'dream' home. I only have 2 acres, but I have 3 towers and NO neighbors.

BE aware, be safe. Don't let anyone bully you! If you're right, you're right.


If you're not the lead sled dog, the view never changes......

Posts: 369

« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2019, 07:24:31 PM »

Ron, that's a damn shame.  I hope there is karma for the 'neighbors' who made your life hell.

I'm in a CC&R neighborhood with HOA, so I can't do anything with towers.  (I knew this when I moved here). 

But the benefit of the HOA's?  I have a 24-karat asshole on one side...and the husband of Mrs. Kravitz across the street (for you young punks who don't get the reference, look it up...when you were just a speck in your grand-pappy's eye, we were watching wholesome TV like the show she was in). 

So, remind me how HOA's are supposed to help the homeowner?

But then there is our friend who lives on a 10 acre horse farm nearby...I thought about a remote station on her HOA, but she has a textbook-definition-psychopath on the property behind her who does motocross racing at midnight and fires his high-caliber rifle right next to her property line to spook her horses.  Sheriff paid the psycho a visit, he calmed down for a few years, then new sheriff was elected and sided with the psycho.  So much for privacy and no HOA.

Maybe I'll just move to an island. 

Clearly, this problem has nothing to do with the hobby, and everything to do with mental disorders of those who want to control others...or the mental derangement of some (many) human beings.  (And here's another reference for you young punks...): as the late great broadcaster from NYC, Bob Grant, used to say: "It's sick out there, and getting sicker."

Posts: 2525


« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2019, 08:28:12 PM »

Run...  Find another location, that is more friendly to towers, and hams...

Amateur Radio: RFI help, Reviews, Setup information, and more...

Posts: 410

« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2019, 02:54:35 PM »

As others have said the first thing to try and do is to exercise your right to buy someplace else. If however you decide to go ahead , you could hire a lawyer and sue in federal court claiming that the 2000 fee and 10000 bond creates an "excessive burden" , there is precedence for it I beleive in recent court rulings . If you chose to ignore the legal issues I suppose the city could condemn the property/structure and tear it down by force.

If your a member of the ARRL , you may be able to get a volunteer consultant VCE and or a VC Volunteer Counsel

Posts: 136


« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2019, 01:39:35 AM »

I suggest verifying that the restrictive "local zoning" actually applies to the 5 acres you are looking at. If it does, check to see if there is an agreeable zoning change that is less restrictive and otherwise agreeable to you. You can then make the purchase offer contingent on obtaining the zoning change.

Posts: 349


« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2019, 10:11:30 PM »

Get an Attorney.

For Nutty Neighbours?
You get an Attorney.
And a Restraining Order.

When they are found in Contempt?
A Judge Ordered few days, or maybe ninety in the Whoscow
for Nutty Neighbour will help things greatly.
And the visit to the flower bed will be more
pleasant, with the Manure spread around the
flowers, minus the OTHER Manure shouting at
you from the adjacent property.

These types don't like Authority Figures.

Refreshingly, Authority figures don't like them, either.

The Rule of Law is a Good Thing.
The Rule of Law is what differentiates us from the Creatures
that crawled out of the Slime. That and Opposable Thumbs, Of Course...



Posts: 1347

« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2019, 06:53:46 PM »

I am contemplating buying a 5-acre horse property and want to put up a tower

Which area of CT is trying to levy these barriers?

Posts: 320

« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2019, 10:24:57 PM »

In regards to the OP. 
As everyone has said before, get a lawyer.
Most of these little towns and bergs that get it in their minds to create crazy regulations that are actually meant to
keep cellular towers out of their town have no clue about PRB-1.  I just had to have that discussion with a zoning inspector.
I have access to a very large tower that I am going to be putting a microwave link up between now in town house and the tower.
He said that was good because I couldn't put up a tower.  I explained to him about PRB-1 and he knew about it and immediately relented and said I could have a small tower if needed.

90% of the time these folks know nothing of PRB-1.
Take a copy of it with you and have it in your hand when you go into discuss the paperwork.
Hand it to them.  The minute they see it's a federal document, they will probably just relent and grand your permit as they know that it's a court battle they will loose.
You may take the Supreme Court Ruling with you as well,  so they see that it can bet expensive as local lawyers don't typically go to the Supreme court, and the cost is nutty.
Hope you are a ARRL member as they may assist with legal fees. 
If they still balk, remind them that since you are part of their jursdiction, you hvae to be welcome at their meetings and you will be giving reports on the ongoing cost of litigation to the media and the board or whatever

As far as the other silly mentioned here, like the guy with the rifle.  Move the horses temporarily and buy a propane cannon for bird control or if you want to get crazy get a barrel loading mortar (cannon)
that shoots black powder.  Be keenly aware of all laws for storing and firing the mortar, but in most places they are legal.  ANd just crank it off several times a day as you see fit.

This works well for ALL nutty neighbors.
When the cops show up and question you, and you are legal they can't do shit.
When the neighbors get tired of the outragious bills for Depends diapers and start screaming about it, tell them it's your new hobby because you couldn't do ham radio, and get use to it.
See if their tune changes

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