I resisted the urge to wade in on this, yesterday;
my brain must be weaker today. However, FWIW:
There is a movement afoot in the US, propelled by
professional city planners and the National League of
Municipalities, to incorporate tower control language
in their zoning. The intent is to limit the proliferation
of micro-cells, and overzealous construction of cellsites
by competing carriers. Amateur Radio can become part of the
collateral damage, if we're not vigilant.
In Essex, VT, last year, the town's professional planning
staff embarked on just such a venture. I became aware of it
purely by chance, as I sought permission for a 100' tower.
I have to say that they were very sensitive to the amateur
community, and not hostile. And they WANTED our input, because
it would make the law more defensible against attack. At the
same time, they were willing to reach reasonable accomodation
We had opportunity to draft language, which they incorporated.
We avoided having to 'co-locate' with any similar service within
2 miles of the proposed site..which is a requirement for a cell
tower. (Think about the implications of that, for a minute...
think long term...club stations?) We got 70' as an acceptable
height for a tower, and we specifically had amateur radio called
by name, and prb-1 language incorporated in the law.
We made two concessions, at my suggestion: No commercial use
of amateur towers was permitted in any zone, and the tower
permit remained valid only so long as the licensed amateur
owned the property. Simultaneously, W1CX and I formed an
ad-hoc RFI/EMI consulting committee and, in writing, offered our
services to the town.
ARRL volunteer counsel was extremely helpful in guiding this
venture. The KEY to its success, however, was working with the
PLANNING BOARD, and PROFESSIONAL STAFF, not with the Zoning
Board of Adjustment.
In Metuchen, NJ, ten years ago, I went to war with the town.
It was the talk of all the neighborhood coctail parties, to
my wife's great embarassment. While the zoning board completely
rejected my variance application, leaving court as my next step....
The planning board drafted a change in the ordinance permitting
70' amateur towers, which the town council adopted four months
So here I am, in a suburban MD community near the Chesepeake.
We have covenants. And we have a neighbor who has both
airstream trailers and cars on blocks...and we're taking action,
albeit slowly. Are covenants bad? Not per-se. Fortunately,
none of these mention antennas.
Patience, planning and perseverance pay off. So do good, solid
relationships with friends and neighbors. I figure I'll be ready
to talk tower about the time we start implementing the landscape
plan, next Spring.
Jim Jarvis, n2ea