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[TowerTalk] Easton, MA Tower By-law Disapproved

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Easton, MA Tower By-law Disapproved
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Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 15:53:48 -0400
Hello All:

I apologize for the bandwidth; but felt everyone would be interested!  My
"Kudo's" to KA1T, K1KI, ARRL and all others involved in this case!

I am proud I am a member of the ARRL!

73, Ralph K1IV -- "X" N1FJL, KA1IVL
>Subject: Easton, MA Tower By-law Disapproved
>  Mass. Attorney General Office Disapproves Restrictive Easton Tower By-Law
>Thanks to the Massachusetts amateurs who worked to get the Ham Radio Tower
>enacted into law a few years ago and to Joseph Goveia, W1LQB, of North
>MA who recently made good use of the Bill!!
>The Mass. Attorney General's Office recently disapproved a very restrictive
>zoning by-law which had been passed at the Easton annual town meeting.
>Excerpts from a recent letter from W1LQB and from the Attorney General's
>Office are attached below.  As you will see from reading the letters, the
>Tower Bill gives Massachusetts amateur radio operators a very viable tool to
>use in ensuring that amateur radio communications are effectively accomodated
>by zoning by-laws.
>Excerpts from letter from W1LQB .....
>"On April 14, 1997 the town of Easton passed an extremely restrictive zoning 
>by-law known as article 43.  Restrictions on towers, antennas, and satellite 
>dishes.  I called [KA1T] on May 10th to see if ARRL could provide some 
>"A short time later [KA1T] sent a copy of the Mass. Ham Radio Tower bill.
>"I sent a copy of this Act along with much information from the FCC to the 
>Municipal Branch of the Mass. Attorney General Office. ... the AG has to 
>approve all zoning by-law amendments, something most people don't realize.
>Once these restrictive laws are in effect, it costs from $30,000 to
$50,000 to
>fight them in court.
>"I am enclosing a copy of letter sent by the AG to the town clerk of Easton 
>indicating disapproval of article 43.  A battle won!"
>And excerpts from the Attorney General's letter to the Easton Town Clerk ...
>"I regret that we must return the amendments to the zoning by-laws adopted 
>under article 43 of the warrant for the Easton annual town meeting ...
>"Article 43 has as its purpose 'to establish appropriate siting criteria and 
>standards for communications towers and facilities.'  Article 43 defines 
>Communications Tower and Wireless Communications Facility as: '[a] tower, 
>including antennas and accessory structures, if any, built for wireless 
>communications, including, but not limited to, radio, television, cellular, 
>and digital communications ... '"
>"The article sets forth restrictions to be imposed on the defined 
>communcation towers and wireless communications facilities:  Any tower shall 
>be at least five hundred feet (500') from any existing building.  No tower 
>be erected on a residential lot.  Antennas or dishes located on a structure 
>shall not exceed ten feet (10') in height above the level of its attachment 
>to the structure.
>"These requirements have the effect of greatly restricting, if not 
>prohibiting entirely, the construction of such structures for personal 
>amateur radio (as well as television) communcication devices.  As an aside, 
>it is not at all clear that home satellite dishes for television reception 
>would be permitted under this article.
>"These restrictions, as applied to amateur radio antennas, violate state 
>law: 'No zoning ordinance or by-law shall prohibit the construction or use 
>of an antenna structure by a federally licensed amateur radio operator.
>Zoning ... by-laws may reasonably regulate the location and height of such
>antenna structures for the purposes of health, safety, or aesthetics;
>provided, however, that such ... by-laws reasonably allow for sufficient
>height of such antenna structures so as to effectively accommodate amateur
>radio communciations by federally licensed amateur radio operators ...'
>St. 1995, c.225, amending G.L. c. 40A, paragraph 3.
>"Because this critical portion of article 43 is inconsistent with state law, 
>we are required ... to disapprove that article."
>New England Division Director        New England Division Vice Director
>Tom Frenaye, K1KI                    Don Haney, KA1T

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