Here's what I would do, based on what I've done in the past and what has
(and also has not) worked:
-It's probably a CUP, actually (conditional use, not temporary use). Check
to be sure. If they're pushing you for a "temporary use" permit, clarify
what that really means. If a temporary permit has an expiration date, you
may be looking at real trouble down the road.
-Speak (verbally) with each neighbor, instead of writing them. Be positive.
Speak as though your tower installation is a forgone conclusion, but you're
consulting with them in advance to see what is most appropriate, and to
assure you're making every effort to shield each neighbor from anything
they're going to hate.
-Ask each neighbor if they've ever had any interest in ham radio, and would
they like to see a real, working station in operation? (I converted one
neighbor, several years ago, this way, and he became the biggest advocate in
town for loosening tower restrictions. By the way, he was also a police
officer -- although, unfortunately, not in the town where we both lived.
Still, it's always good to have somebody with a large gun collection on your
-I'd carry a paper with the following preprinted on it, and ask each
neighbor to sign it:
"My neighbor, Nathaniel Gates, has met with me to discuss his proposed ham
radio tower installation. I have no immediate objection to it, but would
like to see how it will look, conceptually, to assure myself and my family
that the proposed tower will not be objectionable in appearance."
Usually, how it looks is the only thing neighbors care about.
To that end:
-Discuss installing a telescoping tower (crank-up, crank-down) which would
normally be "nested" at its lowest height, which usually is no taller than
homes and trees nearby, except when in use. And show them some photographs
of what crank-up towers look like, both "up" and "down," once installed
behind homes similar to yours. Don't guarantee that's what you're going to
install, but imply that's what you'd be willing to do if necessary to
satisfy the neighbor's misgivings.
-Also mention that there is a special provision in Federal law (PRB-1)
providing that ham radio operators are allowed to have substantial antennas
and supporting structures even though there may be local zoning prohibiting
such structures usually. Show them a copy of PRB-1 (obtainable from the
ARRL kit), maybe even copies of a few favorable rulings. Obviously, do not
include any copies of unfavorable rulings, and there have been those, too!
-Be nice, be friendly. Invite the neighbors over for a visit.
-When I went through this routine several years ago, I brought my two very
young daughters along with me, because they added a great "cuteness" factor
that made most people melt. If you have a cat-loving neighbor, maybe carry
a cat. Whatever it takes.
This is a political campaign, usually, and it's not difficult to win, since
most only have to win over 3-4-5 neighbors, not the whole town or county.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough." -
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nathaniel Gates [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Saturday, January 04, 2003 1:01 PM
> To: towertalk
> Subject: [Towertalk] Temporary Use Permits
> Hello All,
> In the city where I live, I was made aware that to
> erect a tower I would have to apply for a temporary
> use permit and appear before the city in their monthly
> meeting where my neighbors would have the opportunity
> to comment on my request. I am to notify my neighbors
> that are within 300/500 feet of where the tower is to
> be erected. My question is, what information should
> or should not be included in the letter to the
> Thanks in advance for your help,
> Nathan Gates
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