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Re: [TowerTalk] 90mph windloading

To: "Jim Lux" <>, <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] 90mph windloading
From: "Jim Jarvis" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 13:40:37 -0400
List-post: <>

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Lux []
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2006 1:02 PM
To: Jim Jarvis;
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] 90mph windloading

Jim's thoughts are interesting...responding...

The tendency to want to limit the profusion of Cell towers, and
micro-cells, should they evolve, is clearly on the radar screen
of the National Association of Municipalities.  And it MAY be that
the 90mph wind rating is an honest effort at reacting to issues of
municipal liability, if something falls and causes injury.  "Hey,
we went above the UBC requirement, don't blame us!"  

In applying for my variance for a 100' tower, in Essex Junction, VT,
I worked with professional staff on proposed ordinance wording,
on the topic of towers.  This gave them the ability to say they
had been advised by the amateur community, on 'reasonable accomodation',
were they ever challenged.  It gave us the opportunity to draft workable 
language, and it gave me their support at the zoning board.

There, hams may have a tower without variance, up to 70', subject to
70mph safety/50% setback requirements.   The constraint is, they may
not have commercial services on their towers, and if they move, sell,
or no longer are licensed amateurs, must take the towers down.
All perfectly reasonable, it seems to me.

However, their draft language for celltowers required co-location of
competing firms, use of silos, barns and similar structures as locations, 
rather than towers, and camoflaged antennas wherever possible.  
It IS Vermont, after all, where they outlaw billboards.


At 09:15 AM 9/13/2006, Jim Jarvis wrote:

>Does anyone have a feel for the regulatory implications of
>going with a building code which requires 90 mph windload ratings?
>Is this simply a strategy by the league of municipalities to
>price amateurs out, since they can't regulate them out?  It's
>hard to argue with safety.

I don't know if it's specifically aimed at amateurs (I can't imagine 
that there's a concerted effort for this).  I suspect it's more a 
general trend towards more regulation, and, as you say, it's hard to 
argue with (a potentially specious) safety claim.

There IS definitely a trend towards regulation of antennas and tall 
structures in general, and ham towers just get caught in the 
flow.  There IS an active anti-cellular tower movement, and since the 
anti tower folks can't use aesthetics (the real reason) or RFI as 
arguments, they're hammering on safety. The FCC has been quite clear 
that local agencies can't formulate antenna rules for satellite 
dishes, communications towers, etc., except for historical 
preservation and structural safety. They've preempted things like RFI 
and aesthetics.There's a case going on in La Canada-Flintridge about 
whether the tower consitutes a visual encroachement on a public 
right-of-way, creating a safety hazard.

In my city, one has to have a building permit to build a children's 
play house, or, at least, conform to a whole set of rules (setbacks, 
maximum floor space, maximum height).  In that case, it's not that 
they're down on playhouses, but they're trying to prevent the 
building of "garden sheds" that become de defacto "granny flats" with 
someone living in them.

Jim, W6RMK


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