Man, whoever wrote this stuff (see below) must be a glutton for punishment. In
any case, Terry's original question seemed to be about documents to check
BEFORE buying the house, not what he will need for a permit. Terry, I suspect
this will vary depending on where you live, but I would suggest you check with
the appropriate building authority to see what the antenna regulations are.
They should be able to give you a reasonable answer to that simple question.
Assuming you already know that your new location isn't an antenna nightmare
then all you should need to check is the deed which you should be able to do at
the courthouse or hall of records. It should tell you of any easements or
other restrictions and it should tell you if there are CC&Rs that apply to the
property. If there are any then you need to get a copy of them too (they may
be attached). I'm not sure, but you should be able to get a copy of them at
the courthouse too. As an aditional precaution, I would tell my realtor that I
plan to put up antennas, and that I intend to have a clause in the sale
contract that stipulates that if I am not allowed to do so the contract becomes
null & void. Most realtors will do their homework if you ask them to. If they
won't, find another realtor. They get paid very well when they make a sale,
and most are hungry for clients.
Once you get ready to apply for the permit, forget all this stuff below (for
now anyway) and start very simple. You will probably need a plot plan that
shows your property and the nearest public street. On there you should show
your house and the proposed location of the tower (ok, call it an antenna
support structure, but the engineering calcs. are probably going to call it a
tower anyway) and the guy anchors (if any). This usually doesn't have to
include much detail, and doesn't even have to be to scale. Make it neat and
show the distances from your house and the tower to the property lines. Attach
a copy of the engineering calcs. supplied by the tower manufacturer. If you
buy a new tower they should come with it, or you should be able to buy the
calcs in advance of the tower with the price being applied to the price of the
tower when you do buy it. If you are putting up a used tower you will probably
need to have calcs that were done to the 1994 UBC standard, but if yours are
older you might at least give it a try. Our county was allowing old calcs up
until just a few months ago.
That's all I would take in to apply for the permit, the plot plan and the
calcs. You'll need a footing plan, but that is included in most if not all
calcs. I would include a cover sheet with a very simple description of the
project (two or three lines including your address). Then, if they want any
more information, or if they need something clarified, or the footing plan
signed and sealed by the engineer, or whatever, have them indicate in writing
on the cover sheet what else is required. Now you know exactly what else you
will need and can address each item in your reply. If they have any questions
about the calcs, the engineer will probably want to see them in writing exactly
as asked. That's it. I would avoid giving them anything that is not
specifically required. You may just confuse them or raise some question that
is better (from your point of view) left unasked.
Now, about all this stuff below. Somebody (K1VR, Fred) went to a great deal of
effort to put his together, and I don't mean to belittle that. It's just that
if you are going to have to go to this much trouble, you would be better off
just buying your house in another jurisdiction where putting up a tower is not
as much hassle. If you already own your house in one of these "ham radio
hells" (not Terry's problem) and can't convince the xyl (or the om) to move,
then go find K1VR (who did all this work), buy him a beer and thank him
73 & GL with your new house & tower(s),
Dayton HamVentiontm Legal Forum
April 30, 1995
May 26, 1996
Documents You May Need
Fred Hopengarten, J.D., K1VR
Experience has shown that it is useful collect the
following documents before applying for a permit for your
"antenna support structure and appurtenant antennas."
Please don't call it a tower, as Federal (and some state)
law protects antenna structures (the words found in the
law). There is no need to muddy the waters by using a
different description of the project.
* An original, recent, copy of your town's zoning by-law,
and any amendments not included in the printed,
compiled text. DO NOT -- repeat, do not rely on
statements of the Zoning Enforcement Officer, or
his/her secretary, as to what it says. This is where
you will find height and setback rules.
* An original, recent, copy of your town's wetlands
protection bylaw, and any regulations issued by the
Conservation Commission. This is where you will find
information on jurisdiction and application procedures.
* Two copies of any form used by the town to apply for a
building permit or Conservation Commission proceeding.
(Two copies allow for the possibility of an error
requiring you to start again.)
* If a 110 VAC line will be run out to the base of the
tower, whether for a winch (for a crank-up tower) or
just a place to plug in a soldering iron or light, two
copies of any form used by the town to apply for an
electrical permit. (Two copies allow for the
possibility of an error requiring you to start again.)
Source: The town building inspector's department.
* The requirement of your state or local building code
with respect to windload. In other words, will the
building inspector require your proposed structure to
withstand 50 mph winds with 1 inch of radial ice? Or
30 pounds per square foot of windload (which translates
as 83 mph)? You need to know the requirement so that
your application will match the requirement. Source:
State or local building code, found at either the
building department, or town library.
* A plan showing the lots and streets in your
neighborhood. This will orient the Board. It is best
if this plan also shows where homes are located on the
lots. It may also be helpful to add distances to those
homes. Source: Your town's planning and zoning
* A plot plan, showing the outline of your house and the
site of the proposed antenna support structure. Add
distances from the antenna support structure to the lot
lines. Normally, this would be the distance to each
side lot line, and the distance to the rear lot line
(three measurements). Be sure that the two distances,
from side lot line to structure and from structure to
side lot line, add to equal the actual distance from
side lot line to side lot line! Consider including the
"tree line" to show that views are blocked. Source:
Mortgage papers normally include a plot plan, which
should be adequate, unless you've added on to your
* A copy of your FCC amateur radio license.
* A specification sheet from the manufacturer of your
antenna support structure for your brand and model. If
possible, it should specify: model number, height,
load it will bear (weight expressed in lbs. and maximum
windload in sq. ft. at a certain windspeed, or p.s.f.
of air pressure).
* Construction plans for the base and erection of your
antenna support structure (including guying, if
appropriate). The more it looks like a draftsman's or
architect's rendering, the better. Try to get a
version with a "dry" seal of the manufacturer's
professional engineer printed on it.
* A specification sheet for any proposed antenna(s),
showing weight (expressed in lbs.) and windload
(expressed in sq. ft.).
* A specification sheet for the rotator, showing weight
(expressed in lbs. or kg.).
* If you are moving the antenna system from a prior site,
a photograph or slide, suitable for color photocopying
and including in the application. Suitable means a
photo which demonstrates that an amateur radio antenna
system doesn't create aesthetic blight. One frequently
used view is taken from the street in front of the
house, at high noon (less reflection off the aluminum).
* A letter of permission from the landlord (if the
applicant is not the homeowner).
* A copy of your homeowner's general liability policy, or
at least a "cover sheet" from your insurance agent,
stating your coverage (which may include an "umbrella"
* Letters of support, or at least letters which express
"no opposition to the grant of a permit," which you
have drafted and neighbors have signed.
If you have any thoughts about this list, please send them
to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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