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Thread: Amateur Radio Question

  1. #1
    RobGuru's avatar
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    Amateur Radio Question

    Hey Folks...

    Anyone have any experience with dealing with amateur radio operators. I would be particularly interested in anyone who has dealt with amateur radio towers in older town centers. I work with a town with a new resident who wants to install large, retractable tower in his back yard, which is located like 2 or 3 buildings away from the town square. I am particularly interested in way to address the requirements of FCC Order PRB-1, which evidently requires that municipalities provide "reasonable accommodation" to amateur radio operators.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian MD Planner's avatar
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    I prepared a Wireless Communciation section for the Zoning Ordinance where I used to work about 6 years ago. I don't have a copy of it right now, but I believe that federally licensed amateur radio operators are exempt from local zoning restrictions.

  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Originally posted by MD Planner
    I prepared a Wireless Communciation section for the Zoning Ordinance where I used to work about 6 years ago. I don't have a copy of it right now, but I believe that federally licensed amateur radio operators are exempt from local zoning restrictions.
    Correct. PRB-1 is the ruling authority on the subject. You can't deny it, but you can work with the applicant to minimize impacts.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Again, from the code I wrote.

    (It's getting a lot of use today.)


    310.4 Antenna – radio hobbyist

    310.4.2 Definition

    Radio hobbyist antenna -- exterior transmitting or receiving device (and supporting structure) used in telecommunications that radiates and captures radio signals on frequencies allotted by the Federal Communications Commission for amateur radio, Citizens Band (CB) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) use; or captures radio signals on any frequency as part of a hobby. The term does not apply to roof mounted whip antennas or simple wire antennas not supported by a dedicated antenna tower.

    310.4.3 Permitted locations

    Radio hobbyist antenna towers ≤50’ (15 m) tall are permitted by right in all zoning districts.

    Radio hobbyist antenna towers >50’ (15 m) to 100’ (30 m) tall are considered subject to special review in the C-G and I-G districts.

    Retractable radio hobbyist antenna towers >50’ (15 m) tall are considered subject to special review in all zoning districts.

    310.4.4 Conditions

    Towers must be placed outside the front yard, outside of required setback areas.

    Towers must be set back a distance of ≥50% of its height from all property lines, and set back from other on- and off-site towers and supporting structures far enough so one tower does not strike another tower, support structure or overhead utilities if a tower or support structure fails.

    Antenna elements must not overhang into any required setbacks.

    Only one amateur radio antenna tower is allowed on a property. Where the main use is an amateur radio club, more than one tower is allowed if space and setbacks permit.

    Anyone building a radio hobbyist antenna must sign a hold harmless agreement, acknowledging that the Town is not responsible for enforcing any covenants that restrict or prohibit amateur radio towers, and is not responsible for any conflicts with covenants or property owner associations.

    All hobby radio operations must conform to FCC rules. Externalities resulting from illegal radio operation (such as using a “dirty” linear amplifier for CB) that affect neighboring properties are considered a zoning violation, and will also be reported to appropriate lawn enforcement and federal government agencies.


    My interpretation of "reasonable accomodation" does not extend to residential antenna farms, and esoteric operations involving physically overwhelming facilities, such as huge EME arrays.

    If there was a hamfest or short-term contest, I'd look the other way.

    73,

    N2UGY
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I forgot to post our (brief) mention of ham towers from our ordinances:

    H. Non-Commercial Wireless Facility (Amateur Radio) Standards: Towers that solely support amateur radio equipment (“Ham Radio Towers”) and conform to all applicable performance criteria as set forth in Section D, shall be permitted in the rear yard of residentially-zoned parcels. Ham Radio Towers shall be limited to the minimum height that is technically necessary to engage successfully in amateur radio communications.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    No.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    On a practical note...I am divorced from a ham-radio operator. No matter what they say, they will disrupt all t.v. and radio communications for blocks around (even cable). Their yards will look like they are covered with silver spaghetti. It's an obsession. Then they will buy new radios every few months and try to run their spouses into bankruptcy. Their world revolves around sun spots. Did I mention that they tend to be especially dorky? Whoops! Personal opinion leaking thru...

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    On a practical note...I am divorced from a ham-radio operator.
    --- .-..
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  9. #9
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    Originally posted by Dan


    No.
    Is it an antenna or modern art sculpture??? a tribute to the wireless age??
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
    http://metzendorf.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    RobGuru's avatar
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    Thanks, Dan, for the suggested text... I think I'll use something similar to that... maybe go with special exception or conditional use review in the denser residential districts. I guess we should not interpret "reasonable accommodation" to mean anything goes, eh?

    Any other suggested text out there?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    On a practical note...I am divorced from a ham-radio operator. No matter what they say, they will disrupt all t.v. and radio communications for blocks around (even cable). Their yards will look like they are covered with silver spaghetti. It's an obsession. Then they will buy new radios every few months and try to run their spouses into bankruptcy. Their world revolves around sun spots. Did I mention that they tend to be especially dorky? Whoops! Personal opinion leaking thru...

    Oh how true that is....you see alot of this in the fire department...antennas, radios, scanners everywhere.

  12. #12
    RobGuru's avatar
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    Originally posted by Dan
    All hobby radio operations must conform to FCC rules. Externalities resulting from illegal radio operation (such as using a “dirty” linear amplifier for CB) that affect neighboring properties are considered a zoning violation, and will also be reported to appropriate lawn enforcement and federal government agencies.[/i]
    [/B]
    What's "lawn enforcement"?


  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by RobGuru
    What's "lawn enforcement"?

    That would be your neighbors in the HOA who walk around with measuring sticks to ensure that your grass being mowed.

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