Tuesday afternoon, I arrived home, picked up the mail from the
mail box and sorted through it (ad solicitations, credit card
solicitations, etc. vs. real mail) as I walked to the garage.
One envelope caused my stomach to tighten. It was from the
Scarsdale Civic Association (Houston, TX).
Geez! Now what? A few years ago, I got a letter for my St.
Augustine grass hanging over the curb at the street and another
for temporarily keeping a broken tree branch along the side of
the house waiting for heavy trash pickup day. What'd I do this
As I approached the garage, I opened and read the letter and
stopped dead in my tracks. "On a recent survey, we noted the
following at your address: 06/21/99 - SATELLITE DISH/ANTENNA;
ANTENNA IN BACKYARD"...(Their caps)...yada-yada-yada. "..If the
matter will not be corrected within ten (10) days, please inform
us of your intentions...."
I reread the deed restrictions I was given when I bought the
house. "No radio or television aerials or antennas shall be
erected or maintained on any lot forward of the front building
line or encroaching upon another lot."
Yup..the 70' tower is STILL at the middle of the back edge of the
house. The two forward guys are still a good fifteen feet back
from the front building line and at least six feet from the
I called the number in the letter and left a message asking them
to call me.
I also sent a note to Tom, K5RC. I bought the house from Tom in
1986--actually, I always like to think I bought a tower and beam
that happened to have a house and pool attached. He said he
installed the tower in 1977.
The next afternoon, I called again and left another message
asking them to call me.
This afternoon, they called. The conversation pretty much went
"Mr. Martin, this is Patty Smith (not her real name), how can I
help you?"--Uh-oh...this can't be good. I had left the messages
clearly and distinctly referencing the account number, my
address, and the deed restriction violation I was being cited
"Hello. I'd like to talk about the letter I received from SCA
citing me for violation of the deed restrictions: Satellite
"What's your address, Mr. Martin?"
"12610 Barbizon Drive"
"I'm calling it up on the computer. Okay. Here it is. Yes.
What kind of antenna is that, Mr. Martin?"
"It's an amateur radio antenna and tower".
"Did you erect it recently?"
"No. I bought the house in 1986 and it came with the house. The
previous owner erected it in 1977."
"Mr. Martin, I'm sorry. Someone's made a mistake here. Please
accept my apology and disregard the letter. Rather than noting
the information on the copy of the letter here, I'll simply
destroy the letter. We have a new inspector and apparently he did
not know the tower and antenna had been there that long."
"Thank you, Ms. Smith. I must say that the letter scared the
hell out of me, but I understand how these things can happen. Do
you need anything more from me?"
"No, Mr. Martin. Thank you and have a good day"
"Thank you and I will."
Absolutely true story.
Some stories do have happy endings.
Dale Martin, KG5U
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