Antenna Zoning Push

Ham Pushes Village Zoning to Allow Front-Yard Antenna

I am amazed at just how ‘picky’ some officials are when it comes to support of Amateur Radio. We need to constantly educate the public about the Amateur Radio Public Services we provide. — Layne, AE1N

Northbrook ham pushes village to allow zoning exception for front-yard antenna

Gregg Salomone, N9NY, wants to put up a 26-foot ham radio antenna in his Northbrook [Illinois] front yard, if all his neighbors say they are OK with it, which he thinks they are. Some Northbrook officials say they’d like to accommodate him, in that case, as long as everybody in the village didn’t therefore get the right, along with him, to do it.

While it would be perfectly legal in Salomone’s backyard, should the front yard have another set of rules entirely? He has too tiny of a backyard for the spider-like underground cable supporting the antenna to fit.

Antenna Zoning Push

His case is part of the impetus behind a Northbrook Village Board discussion about what Northbrook’s building and development director Tom Poupard calls legislation to allow “major variations” without making text amendments to the village’s zoning code. Northbrook’s Village Board members could decide, case by case, to make the exceptions, on their own, with or without public hearings either at the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals or Plan Commission to generate recommendations.

The idea has been percolating in Northbrook at least since 2015, when a resident who had just bought a house needed to enclose a balcony to stop a leak. But that enclosure would make his house’s floor space 64 square feet too big to comply with Northbrook’s floor-area-ratio limit of 40 percent under roof, compared to the size of the land the house sat on. The village board was not quite on board yet for the “major variation” system that Poupard had suggested, and then had been recommended by the Plan Commission.

“In my mind, it’s something you have to use very cautiously,” Village President Sandy Frum said Monday. In many cases, if some version of the “major variations” code change were passed, the results might not be obvious, as illustrated by an example Poupard used at a July 18 Plan Commission meeting.

“For instance, the zoning code has a 25 percent maximum parking variation for most of the downtown. If somebody wanted a 26 percent variation, we’d have to amend the code to change that,” he explained. “Under this new approach, if it’s over that 25 percent threshold, the board could say … “OK, we can handle this ourselves, it’s pretty straightforward, or we’re going to refer it to the Zoning Board of Appeals or we’re going to refer it to the Plan Commission, and then go back to the board.”

Poupard said Salomone is likely to be the first applicant if the new process becomes Northbrook law. Salomone, of the 4000 block of Yorkshire Lane, had last fall applied for an antenna over twice as high, and wider, and decided to apply again recently with a more modest, though less effective, antenna plan, he said.

[email protected]. Twitter @Irv

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