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[TowerTalk] Tower Restrictions

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Tower Restrictions
From: (Fred Hopengarten)
Date: Sun, 09 Nov 1997 23:59:12 EST
Fred Hopengarten  K1VR               617/259-0088
Six Willarch Road
Lincoln, MA 01773-5105
permanent e-mail address:

On Wed, 5 Nov 1997 11:00:23 -0500 "Robert D. Edmondson"
<> writes:

>       What the Commission is recommending is a "one-to-one" set-back
>requirement, meaning for example, that a 250-foot tower would have to 
>located 250 feet from the property line.

>       If anyone on the Reflector has any experience in this type of 
>ordinance, I
>would appreciate your input or comments. 


        The argument against such an ordinance which I have found most
successful goes like this:

        Be careful of unintended consequences!  Let us suppose that our
ham has a lot 200 feet wide and 200 feet deep, and wants to put up a 100
foot antenna support structure.  Under such an ordinance he must put the
structure right smack in the middle of the yard, where it will be most
obvious to the entire neighborhood.  Those who oppose such structures
will be apoplectic that the structure is so obvious and unscreened.

        Now let us suppose that the same ham backs up to a 2000 acre
state forest of 100 foot tall trees.  If aesthetics is the concern of the
planning board, then the best place to put the structure is in the deep
back yard, only the setback distance from the rear property boundary. 
Ten feet would be best (assume a self-supporting structure), as the
antennas and structure now blend in with the woodsy backdrop and the
structure is as far as possible from the street and the neighbors.

        Let's face it, the reason you are proposing a one for one setback
is an attempt to limit height.  You are attempting to limit height for
aesthetic reasons, not safety reasons.  After all, we know how to put up
structures that won't fall down -- just check out the set back for  the
empire statebuilding.  So if it is aesthetics you want, what you really
want is the greatest flexibility to "hide" the tower, not the least
flexibility -- or -- indeed the worst of all possible worlds, an
ordinance which requires the ham to put the structure in the most obvious
place possible:  the middle of the property!

        This argument has worked for me. -- Fred K1VR


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