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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB002 (2005)

ARLB002 ARRL Volunteers, PRB-1 Help Amateurs Get Tower Permits

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 2  ARLB002
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  January 19, 2005
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB002 ARRL Volunteers, PRB-1 Help Amateurs Get Tower Permits

Two Midwestern radio amateurs have succeeded in their efforts to be
allowed to erect antenna support structures on their residential
properties. Both cases hinged largely on the requirement of the
limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 that localities
''reasonably accommodate'' Amateur Radio communication with ''minimum
practicable regulation.''

As a result, city officials in Wheaton, Illinois, have granted John
Siepmann, N9NA, a permit to build a 42-foot tower in his back yard.
In Ohio, Brian ''Tim'' McGraw, W8BTM, got the okay from the Colerain
Township Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to erect a 48-foot tower on
his property.

In the W8BTM case, Ohio Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE,
credited ARRL Volunteer Consulting Engineer Hank Greeb, N8XX, with
organizing the ham radio community, researching applicable law and
utilizing other League resources.

More than two dozen neighbors had signed a petition and presented
their opposition at the hearing in early December. Thirty radio
amateurs showed up for the session, and many spoke in support of
McGraw's application. In addition, ARRL Great Lakes Division
Director Jim Weaver, K8JE, supplied applicable case law for the
hearing, while Ohio Assistant SM Bob Winston, W2THU, offered legal
advice. Professional engineer Herb Nichols, W8HRN, twice testified
to the technical aspects of McGraw's plans, Phillips said. The BZA's
December 15 decision was unanimous.

In Illinois, Siepmann's application for a 65-foot free-standing
structure faced opposition from his neighbors, who apparently feared
that the presence of the antenna support structure would lower
property values and lead to TV and telephone interference. He said
the city issued him a permit for a 42-foot structure despite
opposition from more than 100 neighbors and the posting of ''No Radio
Tower'' signs in front yards. Representing Siepmann was ARRL
Volunteer Counsel and well-known Amateur Radio antenna advocate Jim
O'Connell, W9WU.

According to news reports, Wheaton's attorney told city council
members December 6 that because of PRB-1, the city would lose any
court case and had no choice but to issue Siepmann a permit for his
tower. The city did compromise on its height, however. O'Connell
says it came up with 42 feet by adding Wheaton's present 12-foot
''Over the Air Television Receiving Dish'' (OTARD) antenna height
limit to its 30-foot height limit for a single-family dwelling.


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