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.
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
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.
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