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Concord Tower Saga Update

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Subject: Concord Tower Saga Update
From: (Joe Spinosa)
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 97 18:20:38 UT
This is a continuation of a thread I started way back in September of 1996.

I haven't posted anything since mid-November, so I thought I'd give all of you 
aquatinted with the thread an update.

I've decided to play by all the rules.

In December, I told the person on the city planning commission that I have 
been working with that I was ready to file a land use permit application.  
This was after a person-to-person meeting on December 4.  At that meeting I 
presented the tower marketing material and an overview of what I want to do.

After much negotiation, the city informed me a week before Christmas that they 
would charge me their cheapest rate:  Instead of the usual $2,640, it would 
only cost me $635 to file.  Merry Christmas.

The application materials were prepared at great expense to me.  Professional 
drawings of the lot, street center lines, etc. were prepared.  All the tower 
marketing material along with uniform building code calculations were 

Incidentally, the model of tower I finally decided on is US Tower model 
TMM433HD.  This is a heavy duty 33' crank-up made with 10' sections.  The two 
primary reasons for this choice were the low height to which it can nest 
(about 11'6") and it's loading capacity (my original choice, the tubular MA40, 
just couldn't meet my load demands).

I had to go to the tax assessor's office to find all the addresses and parcel 
numbers of everyone within a 300' radius of my lot.  This was educational.  It 
turns out that list includes a LOT of people.  Many were not in my residential 
tract.  I have never met some of these folks.  Further investigation (driving 
around) revealed that some would not even be able to see my puny 33' tower.  
Many were two cross streets away.  Heck, a few were even in another zip-code.  
Along with the application, I supplied a total of 33 stamped and addressed 
(including parcel number) envelopes for the city to use to mail out a 
notification (this is all required).

A real sticking point arose about antennas.  The city wanted drawings of the 
antennas I intended to put on the tower.  I explained (to no avail) that the 
nature of amateur radio is experimentation, and that my antennas would 
certainly change.  I explained that I wanted a permit for the TOWER, and if 
they wanted to put some sort of limit on the antennas, they should use the 
capacity rating provided in the uniform building code calculations.

No dice.

So, I prepared 6 different scale drawings showing different antenna 
combinations.  I made sure each drawing loaded the tower to near maximum 
capacity.  I labeled the first drawing my "preferred installation".  It 
includes what I actually want to erect:  Mode B satellite antennas with 
elevation over azimuth rotation, and a 17' vertical on top for good measure.  
It is also the cleanest and least cumbersome looking of all the drawings (some 
of the other drawings had "H" frames with many small VHF/UHF antennas.  Big 
and ugly).

Naturally, I prepared a 14 page report that summarized the whole installation 
and provided explanations of all the drawings etc.

As a supplement to the report I included the full text and order of PRB-1.  If 
anyone on the planning commission reads it, they ought to start thinking if 
all this BS was really necessary.

After spending Christmas Eve at the tax assessor's office, I bundled the whole 
package up (six copies of everything except the envelopes) and mailed it to 
the planning commission.

I do my banking online, and just noticed the check for $635 went through.  
This, you may have guessed, is non-refundable.

I keep watching the mailbox to see what the city will send out (yes, one of 
those envelopes was addressed to me!).  My understanding is that I will have 
to appear before the city planning commission in a public hearing format.  
Anyone who cares to attend can do so.  Although I present myself well (we are 
amateur operators after all) I have some anxiety over this proceeding.  I 
can't help but wonder if I'll be wandering into a lion's den.

So there you have it.  The ball is in the city's court.  I will just wait and 
see.  Win, lose, or draw, I will follow through.  I've learned much from this 
experience, and it ain't over yet!  I estimate that my costs to date have 
easily exceeded the cost of the tower itself.  Of course, this could all be 
wasted time,  money and effort.  The hearing will probably be mid-January or 
early February, depending on how slow the wheels turn down at town hall.

Meanwhile, ever optimistic, we have contracted to have some pretty substantial 
landscaping done here.  The workers are on the premises.  Tacked on to that 
project is a 3'x3'x5' hole in a certain spot...  That should be done in about 
a week or so.

Lastly, in case you have any doubt, I feel abused, bullied, pushed around and 
humiliated (and I haven't even attended the public hearing yet!).  I will 
NEVER do this again.

Next stop will be retirement.  Get me as far away form planning commissions as 
possible!  Once the kids are in college, the XYL and I will be in the market 
for a place in some un-incorporated, non-populated, preferably on top of a 
hill, remote area.

I'm permanently soured with urban life/politics.

Best Regards,
Joe Spinosa
Concord, CA

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