[CQ-Contest] Plano TX Towers - long

Robert Naumann n5nj at worldnet.att.net
Wed Nov 11 13:24:20 EST 1998

The following article appeared in the "Plano Star Courier" on November 5
written by Eric Sipos.

I have received permission from the Editor to publish this here.  Perhaps,
with equal effort and reasonable debate, other communities could reach such
a compromise.  Please note that the tower heights indicated are
automatically permitted and require no special work to poll your neighbors
etc.  Also, free standing ground mounted verticals are excluded from this.
The wording of the agreement has carefully been chosen as "antenna support
structure" heights.  Despite this, the article erroneously refers to "size
of amateur radio antennas".  What this means is that the tower itself if
free standing or guyed at a fixed height may be up to 50'.  Crankup towers
may go to 75'.  In both cases, there is no mention of limit on the mast or
antennas that are attached to the tower.

The Plano Amateur Radio Klub (PARK) has been instrumental in negotiating
this agreement.  Some of the non-hams wanted things like 6 foot element
length limits.

This entire process was begun when a Plano ham received a permit to install
a 90' free-standing tower in his back yard.  His neighbor found this
offensive and had other residents sign a petition that stated that those
that signed wanted the town to regulate towers for safety and aesthetic
reasons.  The resident then tacked on a letter of his own that demanded that
all towers be taken down and represented to the town council that the
petition signers all agreed with his cover letter.  The council apparently
recognized this as what it was and invalidated the petition.  The resident
that initially opposed the tower has recently put his home up for sale.
What this means - ??

Again, the following article appeared in the "Plano Star Courier" on
November 5 written by Eric Sipos.

Thursday, Nov. 5  _Plano Star Courier_  Plano, TX

Ham radio guidelines aired

Board OKs compromise between operators, neighbors.
Staff writer

Neighborliness and noise may have reached a compromise this week at the
Plano Planning and Zoning Commission, as proposed restrictions on the city's
amateur radio operators were aired.

The commission approved and sent to the City Council a set of
recommendations regarding the size of amateur radio antennas.

In response to homeowners' concerns, the City Council last June placed a
six-month moratorium on the issuance of permits for amateur radio antennas.

The council also asked city staff to work with a group representing both
homeowner and amateur radio operator interests. Over the last several
months, the group has discussed issues related to height, safety and other
concerns, and has developed recommended amendments to an existing ordinance.

"It seems to be a very reasonable agreement," Commissioner Loretta Ellerbee
said. "Initially, this was a very contentious issue, and since the group
members all came together with some sort of agreement, then that will
certainly improve the situation."

In June, the concern was over aesthetics and the possibility of lower
property values caused by the high towers.

But Monday night, most of the talk had to do with noise from the ham radios
bleeding over into nearby phones and other audio equipment.

Members of the Plano Amateur Radio Operators Club (Klub  - N5NJ) have agreed
to work with homeowners to address the issue of noise interference,
according to Bill Swan, president of the club.

"What we agreed to do is serve as a resource that the city can direct
residents to for information on what's causing the interference and how to
eliminate it," Swan said.

The recommendations the commission passed on to the City Council focus on
height and placement of the ham radio antennas.

The recommended amendments include a 50-foot height limit. However, the
height may be extended up to 75 feet with a telescoping structure when the
antenna is in use. Unless a telescoping antenna is used, any support
structure above 50 feet in height would require a specific-use permit (SUP).

Other amendments addressed safety considerations. Any antenna support
structure above 20 feet in height (including television antennas and poles
supporting satellite dishes) requires a building permit.

Additionally, the group is recommending that safety devices such as a
climbing guard, fence or other barrier be required for all antenna support
structures. This would apply to wireless, cellular and other types of
support structures as well as the amateur radio antennas.

In other group recommendations, property owners would be limited to one
support structure per lot; however, additional support structures could be
allowed with an SUP. Narrow (four inches in diameter or less) pole-type
supports for wire antennas would be exempt from SUP requirements.

The group also came up with exemptions from permitting. Building permits
would not be required for amateur radio antennas concealed behind, on or
within attics, eaves, gutters or roofing. Permits also would not be required
for ground-mounted wire antennas (small, flexible wires) and whip antennas
(a single, slender rod antenna).

Commissioner Gerald Brooks cast the lone dissenting vote against the
recommendation package. Brooks said he believed there should have been more
input from homeowners.

"I have no problem with what the committee did, I just felt we should have
forwarded the document to the Plano Homeowners Council ... because we've
done that with the developers' council many times," Brooks said.

Teakwood Drive resident Rosaly Bullard has had ham radio broadcasts bleed
into her family's phones and intercom. Bullard said she hopes the
commission's recommendations will help eliminate the noise interference and
keep tall towers from lowering her family's property value.

"I think it's a beginning...it can't hurt," Bullard said.

Contact staff writer Eric Sipos at 972-424-4585, Ext. 275.

Robert E. Naumann
N5NJ at worldnet.att.net
also V26RN, ex KR2J, W6V, WA2OVE
Plano, TX  USA

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