As Radio Amateurs, there are reasons we need to “defend” our right to install ‘reasonable’ antennas. In particular, we need to support programs like the Amateur Radio Parity Act. See: http://www.arrl.org/amateur-radio-parity-act
See the article below from the Marblehead Reporter Layne AE1N
Proposed 40-foot ham radio antenna tower causing static in Marblehead
A group of neighbors banded together over concerns regarding a 40-foot aluminum ham radio operator tower going up in their neighborhood got some good news when the Zoning Board of Appeals voted to revoke the permit.
Swindlehurst, a Casino Road resident representing the abutters, told ZBA members she believed vague zoning bylaws and a certain amount of protection under the federal government resulted in the Michael Crestohl receiving a building permit for the tower. She is alarmed however that “the building permit was issued without any restrictions attached.”
Swindlehurst said the neighbors recognize that state and federal government view amateur radio operation as a public good. In the face of a disaster that knocks out electricity and other forms of communications, ham radio still operates.
Marblehead’s bylaws appear to make only one mention of ham operator antenna’s, Swindlehurst said. Under auxiliary uses, wireless communications antennas it states that antennas used solely and exclusively for ham operation and television are allowed as a matter of right and are excluded from this section.
Crestohl also noted that town’s by-laws “specifically and clearly state that antennas used ‘solely and exclusively for ham radio are considered a matter of right’ and are excluded from the section of the by-laws dealing with zoning. I operate my station by authority of the F.C.C. and there is federal legislation, PRB1, that requires local authorities to make ‘reasonable accommodations’ for antennas used exclusively for amateur radio.”
Crestohl wrote, “I do not fault them for opposing radio antennas that are aesthetically displeasing to them.
Swindlehurst said abutters have four major concerns with the proposed antenna, safety, aesthetics, radio frequency emissions and interference with their own stereos, televisions and electronic equipment.
The Crestohl property is 70 feet wide at its widest point so if a 40-foot tower topples in a storm it will likely land on an abutter’s property, Swindlehurst said. While there is no site plan for the tower Swindlehurst speculated where the antenna might go and provided mock ups, photos of Crestohl’s yard with the tower superimposed.
Michael Raisbeck represented Crestohl at the ZBA hearing.
Because the Crestohl property sits below several of the Casino Road homes, Swindlehurst is also concerned with the radio transmissions and how they could affect the resident’s health.
Jonah Hulbert echoed Swindlehurst’s concerns. “Does it need to be 40 feet high?
Casino Road resident Linda McLaughlin said she felt the antenna would “certainly depreciate my property value.”
Raisbeck said the FCC requires all amateur radio operators to conduct a safety analysis and Crestohl would certainly do that, but at 100 watts, he didn’t believe there would a safety issue. He also noted that the actual height of the tower plus the antenna would be closer to 42 feet and while there are retractable antennas they are prohibitively expensive.
Shuman Road resident David Koh also supported Crestohl.
Board member Alan Lipkind said he doesn’t doubt the value of ham radio operators but sided with the neighbors and made a motion to grant the neighbor’s appeal. That essentially revoked Crestohl’s permit but it doesn’t deny him one in the future.
ZBA member Bill Barlow agreed that the board should do its due diligence, investigate if the tower would exceed the town’s height restrictions or if it falls under different guidelines.
The board voted unanimously, with William Moriarty absent, to allow the neighbor’s appeal of the permit and to invite Crestohl in for a special permit hearing.
Swindlehurst and the neighbors were elated but said that ultimately the town needs to establish a policy to regulate Ham operator towers. Lipkind reminded Swindlehurst that would be up to Town Meeting members, not the ZBA.