[TowerTalk] tower restrictions

Kelly Johnson n6kj.kelly at gmail.com
Fri Jul 18 18:42:37 EDT 2008

And what if you put up a tower without a permit and a bunch of
neighbors complain until the city comes and tells you that your tower
is not permitted because it is an accessory structure and must conform
with the regulations that cover other accessory structures OR they say
that your amateur radio tower is a "telecommunication tower" (just
like a cell phone tower) and you need a special use permit.  If the
zoning ordinance does not explicitly allow for ham towers, then it is
easy for the city to "creatively interpret" their zoning ordinance to
say that your ham tower is covered by some other more general
regulation like the regulations for "accessory structures".

I know people put up towers without permits all the time and most of
them get away with it.  I had a small one up even in the People's
Republic of San Jose, Ca. for a couple of years, but it's a risk.  I
was willing to take the risk when my tower only cost me $1000, but I
wasn't willing to take the risk when I moved to a new city and put up
a 55' crankup that cost me closer to $10,000 (including installation).
 My tower wasn't up for 24 hours before the neighbor across the street
called the city to complain and then the neighbor next door called my
home and left a voice message saying "take that thing down".  Without
a permit, my goose would have been cooked.  In the end, the city told
the neighbors that I had followed the zoning ordinance to a tee and it
was completely legal.  There was no room for interpretation.  The
zoning ordinance was very clear and I followed every last bit of it.
In fact, the building inspector told a friend of mine that my permit
application was one of the most professional and well done he had ever

On 7/18/08, Roger (K8RI) <K8RI-on-TowerTalk at tm.net> wrote:
> David Gilbert wrote:
> > That's convenient, but possibly not wise.  I wonder what your insurance
> > company's position will be if your tower falls down and causes a lot of
> > damage (or injures someone), and you can't show that installing it had
> > been approved or inspected for compliance to code.  My guess is that
> > they don't much care how well established you are in the community.
> >
> Pictures and in my case the ROHN catelog/book.  It depends on  your carrier.
> Many, if not most areas that exempt ham towers or exempt them up to a
> specific height before requiring engineering data will not issue a
> permit even if requested.  It's that way here. Mine was tall enough to
> require a permit and inspection. The engineering data from the ROHN
> catalog was sufficient to make them happy.
> A building permit may or may not make your insurance company happy. Mine
> could care less, but when it comes to neighbors it makes no difference
> whether you have a permit or not in most areas, nor does it usually make
> any difference if the tower is specifically permitted in the zoning.
> Rural areas are often treated differently than urban whether zoned or
> not. Surprisingly,  farm land has a lot of limitations as to what you
> can put on it. Just make the area where the buildings are located large
> enough to contain the number of towers you want to put up. Unfortunately
> a lot of rural areas with few hams have prohibitions against towers due
> to the cell towers and make no provision for ham towers.  Yes that could
> most likely be overturned, but it depends on your social/politickin'
> skills and financial ability to go to court if those fail.  After all
> depending on location you can get a pretty good income from a piece of
> land 100' on a side for a cell tower.  Here, cell towers are now
> prohibited. Of course that is after they stuck up two within a city
> block of each other.
> > Or what happens if a new neighbor moves in two houses down from you and
> > turns you in to the local planning and zoning commission (which is
> > usually obligated to act).  In most places, the township would have the
> > right to force you to take it down even if you had met the local code
> > when installing it, although they would be more likely to just levy a
> > fine against you.
> >
> Not if they don't issue permits. However I think it'd more likely be a
> civil issue between you and the new neighbors whether you have a permit
> or not.  If they issue permits or require them, then by all means get
> one, but if not required I doubt getting one would give much advantage.
> I'd bet if mine is not the only ham tower constructed with a permit in
> the county, it is one of a very few.
> > I always viewed building permits as cheap insurance against such issues
> > even though they aren't a guarantee.
> >
> >
> Roger (K8RI - ARRL Life Member)
> www.rogerhalstead.com
> N833R (World's oldest Debonair)
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