[TowerTalk] RE: Bang for the buck?

David J Rodman MD rodman at buffalo.edu
Mon Mar 29 06:29:35 EST 2004

I went through this before but without the variance situation.


First, by charging or "collecting" an administrative permit for $883, 
the town is telling you in official language they do not want you or 
your tower.  This matter has been brought up by ARRL in the past and is 
one of the reasons states need to address the issues of tower ordinances 
individually or collectively on a national basis.  Expect an uphill 
battle.  I suggest you take up this with ARRL and get advice who in your 
state is politically active or a politician who is sympathetic.

Secondly, the UBC applies to all structures in my state.  When I put a 
crank up tower, I had to pay a local engineering firm a few thousand 
dollars to recalculate the loads and restamp the plans for my house and 
tower separately.  I was lucky I found someone capable of doing this.  
The local building office even tried to stop the construction by raising 
the question of "ice" on the structure.  This is also a useful tool to 
discourage you from trying to put this up.

I used a US Tower, put up a 90' model, told the office I had modified it 
to stay below the minimum allowed and avoided a "variance".  I suggest 
you do the same thing, i.e. get a larger size tower that can meet the 
UBC calculations, including loads at the higher wind speed and anything 
else they throw at you but certify the tower will not go above 45'.  
Then I would put your antennas up and be happy.  If your tower goes up 
over 45' accidentally, tell the building inspector to climb it and put a 
tape measure there himself. 

Believe me, the aggravation is not worth the cost in the long run.  You 
will grow tired of the fight.  Ultimately, you might grow tired of radio 
too.  You are better investing your time in lobbying state legislature 
on a state wide tower ruling that limits costs towns can inflict on hams 
wanting to go 10-15' above height limits.  PRB-1 is useless, because the 
town will probably be seen as "reasonably accommodating" your request 
with the fee and variance permit if you sue them in Federal or State 

Good luck.

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