[TowerTalk] Chicago Tribune: Antenna Stirs Static Among Neigh bors

Steve Katz stevek at jmr.com
Wed Aug 13 15:00:17 EDT 2003

I'm dismayed when the zoning boards and those who support them create
arbitrary rules, make arbitrary interpretations in the absence of any
conventional wisdom and do these things primarily to raise money for the
local coffers at the expense of private citizens who seek to do nothing
wrong...there cannot be any other possibly explanation.

In the particular case I discussed earlier, a local ham and friend of many
local hams because he allows hams to place repeaters on his properties at no
cost (he has a hilltop property that's been in his family for generations --
more than 100 years, I believe) simply wanted to re-build his home exactly
as it was before it burned down due to a wildfire sparked by lightning.  His
was a modest house considering his family wealth, and set back four to five
miles from anything, including the local roads.

The County zoning board denied his building permit, demanding he file for
conditional use of his own property, property that had been in his family
since the nineteenth century and continuously occupied by family members
decended of the original settlers -- and the property is huge, dozens of
acres.  He was denied permission to simply rebuild his house after it burned
down by acts of nature.  The County wanted to charge him $50 per cubic yard
of soil to move soil from one location on his property to another location
on his property during excavation for new construction.  And they wouldn't
permit more than 50 yards to be so moved.  And they wouldn't permit his
installation of an indoor swimming pool, although his previous house had one
exactly like the one planned for the new house on the same lot.  And so
forth, and so forth, ad nauseum.

All the regulation for a rural property that was settled by the owner's
ancestors,  and was set back miles from anywhere.  The only way to view the
old house, or the new proposed one, would be to fly over it.

The board hearing, which I attended, was a joke.  Nobody on the board had
any background in construction, engineering, or law.  Eventually this was
taken to the courts where the property owner prevailed several months later,
at great expense.   Stupid.


"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss of
enthusiasm." -Winston Churchill

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Bob Gates [SMTP:regates at kingwoodcable.com]
> Sent:	Wednesday, August 13, 2003 1:40 PM
> To:	Tower Talk
> Subject:	Re: [TowerTalk] Chicago Tribune: Antenna Stirs Static Among
> Neighbors
> In a former life, I had to appear before planning/zoning boards to
> requests
> variances for gasoline service stations.  Being an employee of a major oil
> company, I had two strikes against me when I went through the door.  But I
> have
> to tell you, I usually got everything I asked for.
> Did a study once to determine the backgrounds of board members.  They
> ranged
> from a Coca Cola truck driver, to housewives ( no insult intended ladies),
> to
> car salesmen, real estate brokers, ad infinitum.  Not of them had any
> formal
> training on land use, or on the legal issues involved in their decisions.
> The
> city attorney was always present at meetings, however, and kept them on an
> even
> keel.  The meetings themselves usually started around 7pm and last until
> every
> item on the agenda was acted upon, even if it meant maintaing the quorum
> until
> one in the morning.
> Why did these people volunteer for a job that pays nothing, required them
> to be
> away from their families 1-4 nights a week until after midnight?  Never
> make a
> decision that was supported by 100% of the people all the time, and have
> to sit
> there taking verbal abuse from all sides.  I would have to say it was a
> concern
> to serve their community, and to do what was right for land owners.
> Treat them with respect and courtesy.  Have all your facts at hand, and
> help
> them make the right decision by presenting these facts in a polite and
> non-belligerent way.  "It's my d....ed land and I can do whatever I want
> with
> it!"  is the surest way to get thrown out the door.  Same for the
> protestors,
> especially the after-the-fact protesters.  Where were they at the original
> meeting?  All such hearings are, by law, posted in the local paper.
> As I recall the original post on this subject, the board granted the
> applicant
> everything he asked for.  Subsequent meetings with belligerent neighbors
> did not
> result in revocation of this approval.  So don't blame the board in this
> case,
> or run around wrapped in the flag and babbling about your "rights".  It
> gets you
> nowhere.  Kudos to the board for sticking by their guns.
> Bob  KG7KW
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