First of all, thanks to all that responded to my original posting a few weeks
Much sound advice and good information.
I've managed to convince my XYL that a 3'x3'x4' hole won't be so bad if I
build a small patio around the base and none of the concrete pad shows at
grade level. I plan to dig the hole about a foot deeper than spec., and fill
it to about 6" below grade level. Then I'll build a nice flagstone patio
around the base fixture.
I'll go ahead and buy the MARB rotator base for the tubular tower as well as
the mast raising fixture to make this thing a one-man installation.
OK, so now I'm dealing with the city planning commission. What a joke! They
have no procedure to accommodate my needs. I find this strange. Concord, CA
where I live has a population of well over 100,000 and was incorporated into a
city back around the turn of the century. This has never come up before?
My contact at the city planning commission has been doing some research for my
project and reports that they have issued "land use" permits to commercial
users for antenna towers, but never for a private individual in a residential
I think I know why: The closest permit she could find that would accommodate
my needs was a level "C". This starts at $2,640. Its the same fee, and
requires the same documentation and reports, as if I wanted to build an entire
It's frustrating because I wanted to do this the right way. Part of the
process requires notifying all the neighbors within 300' of the planned
installation. I'm thinking of taking matters into my own hands and dealing
with my neighbors directly.
My current thinking is: If I can educate and get the blessing of all my
neighbors, then there should be no need for city involvement. On that note, I
sent a letter out to all my neighbors (14) yesterday that described what I
want to do. I enclosed photocopies of the US Tower marketing material for the
tubular tower (Neighbor Friendly Design!) as well as a photocopy of a
traditional triangular Rohn type tower for comparison.
I told the city planning commission that this whole thing is crazy. I also
pointed out that there are dozens of amateur towers in the city. It's a shame
that we have no process to do this legally. I did say that one day a ham with
$10,000+ will challenge this whole thing and get it changed, but it won't be
Any lawyers interested in a pro-bono case against city hall? Didn't think so.
I really feel that I've been forced to do it this way. One problem I see is
that besides being illegal per-say, no official will be involved in checking
my engineering specs. I guess most hams do things right for their own
investment, and I certainly will be included in that sentiment.
The neighborhood I live in is new. We all bought our homes new in 1993 and we
all know each other. I was even printing a neighborhood newsletter for the
first year or so. I'm the guy on the block who worked with the police to
establish a "Neighborhood Watch" program. A detective put on a presentation
that I hosted at my house for all the neighbors. Countless parties have been
held, and now, a few years later, I'm not aware of any hostilities on the
I wonder if my plans could change all that?:-)
"Gee, we had a nice thing going here until JOE decided to put up those
dreadful antennas in his back yard!"
Approaching the problem directly has some advantages. Philosophically, it
harks back to the good old days when neighbors worked things out without the
benefit of lawyers and city planning commissions. Unfortunately, times have
changed, and if I do this without city approval, it will always be subject to
come down. In short, it will be illegal.
What say Tower Talkers? Should I even bother contacting the County government
to see if they have a process? More important for my own peace of mind: Will
I have to learn to live with the self imposed stigma of being a social
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