Recently, there was a notice in my local paper that my municipality was going
to enact an ordinance restricting towers and antennas. I called one of the
three supervisors to see what the ordinance was about and was informed that
"oh, we don't want to regulate your towers, we want to control commercial
towers." I told him that I had seen instances in the past where intent and
what is written do not always agree. I got a copy of the proposed ordinance
and found that it, if enacted, would restrict all antennas and towers from
being erected in all but commercial districts, due to the way the definitions
were written. This in a township where the current (at the time)ordinance
specifically excluded communications towers from height as well as location
As luck would have it, there was a hearing on a cell carrier's request to
erect a tower in a commercial district prior to ordinance enactment. I
attended to (1) get a "feel" for the supervisors' opinions and (2) see if
there were any public objections. I got in a conversation with a second
supervisor after the meeting and told him of my concerns; he told me about a
workshop to be held the next night and suggested I attend. I did and
expressed my concerns to all three at that meeting. I knew one of the
supervisors had both a cb antenna and a satellite dish and that, while I
empathised with them re cell towers, did they really want to restrict these
other antennas?. As it turned out, a second supervisor also has a dish. I
also played-up the fact that we are in a rural area and no one objected to the
cell tower at the hearing. They all agreed that they did not want over-
regulation-what did I propose? I proposed that they add a line to the
ordinance that "specifically excluded from this ordinance are amateur radio
antennas, citizens' band antennas, television receiving antennas, and their
supporting structures." The chairman told the secretary to copy this language
in the meeting minutes.
The night of the vote on the enactment of the ordinance, I arrived about 5
minutes before the call to order; when I walked in I heard the solicitor say "
I know we didn't want to regulate them" ( he was not present at the workshop)
I felt good.
The meeting was called to order, the proposed ordinance was read, public
comment was asked for- I was the only non-official to attend the hearing -I
reiterated my points for the record, quoting PRB-1 as necessary. After I
spoke, the solicitor asked the zoning officer what he had been doing if
someone asked for a building permit for a tower; his reply "I tell them to put
them up-no permit is required." After that, the solicitor asked me to repeat
my proposed language; I handed him a typed copy I had prepared, he copied it
to the ordinance, passed the copy to the supervisors for review, and it passed
Things that I believe helped:
I reviewed all my moves with an ARRL volunteer counsel, but we jointly decided
to keep him in the background to keep things on a "neighborly " basis.
I had previously served on a board in the township, so all 3 supervisors knew
I brought in the cb and tv antenna issue because I am the only ham in my
township, and I knew of the one supervisor's dish and cb antenna.
There were no objections to the cell tower at its public hearing-I attended
that hearing to see what, if any, citizen objections would be raised so I
would be prepared to counter them.
I attended the workshop and we discussed the issues "off the record" as
I got the PRB-1 packet from the League and excerpted it as necessary,
highlighting the minimal regulation aspects.
I read the proposed ordinance and its definitions, instead of relying on
verbal comments re intent. If I hadn't, when this board is gone, a whole
different interpretation/enforcement issue may have arisen.
I had a copy of the proposed language (which had been reviewed by N3FMC, the
v.c.) typed and ready to be handed-over to the board and their solicitor.
I live in an area where people believe in "live and let live"; at the workshop
meeting, the chairman of the board commented " why do we always try to
regulate something and end up over-regulating it?"
A long post, I know; hope it helps someone.
FAQ on WWW: http://www.contesting.com/towertalkfaq.html
Administrative requests: towertalk-REQUEST@contesting.com