Re: Private land-Use Restrictions

Mike Polom

I received this email in late March from my ARRL Division Director:
"The exact verbiage is still embargoed, pending fine tuning, but here is a synopsis.
1. Legislation which would pass a PRB-1 type exclusion for amateur antennas in HOAs.
2. Legislation which would allow limited amateur antennas in HOAs as an amendment to the OTARD (over the air reception devices) law.
        3. State driven legislation modeled after the flagpole laws and (in Florida) the garden and clothesline laws."

Subsequently, there was a report out by the Legislative Advocacy Committee at the July ARRL BoD Meeting.  The summary of that report out is as follows.
Mr. Tiemstra shared highlights of the report, calling attention to the appendix submitted that morning which included outcomes of their meeting with Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. He also provided a summary of their work on addressing private land use restrictions, noting the need to address this matter has only grown since it was introduced, adding that they have been meeting at least once a month, have had numerous exchanges with legislators on Capitol Hill, noting that the pandemic has prevented in-person meetings and has slowed their agenda. He added that their messaging is more successful when they define amateur radio as critical infrastructure of emergency service, which is front of mind right now. There was a discussion of the support that our efforts currently have in Washington and moving as quickly as possible on finding co-sponsors; at this time we cannot guarantee the success of anything, but we must continue to maintain a presence and cultivate friendly relationships in order to meet our goals.
There was a also discussion about providing talking points for Board members to use in talking to members about the HOA issue, as well as an ARRL guide for members to use in negotiating tactics on antenna use restrictions with their HOA’s, as our members expect the League to be actively working on these issues, which the Board concurred would be beneficial for all.

The actual report has not been posted to the ARRL Committee Reports website.  On September 11, 2020 I emailed N6JAT, N4MB and KG4JSZ requesting a copy of the whole report and, to date, I have received no reply from any of them.

As far as I can tell, no substantive progress has been made on this issue in the ~10 years it's been a priority at the ARRL.

Mike, NE8P

Re: Private land-Use Restrictions


Is there any update on this?

Steve, AI3KS

Re: Private land-Use Restrictions


I have been trying to find out what the three approaches are and which one the committee has selected 

On Mar 24, 2020, at 18:56, Steve via Groups.Arrl.Org <> wrote:

On page 63 of the newest (April) QST, there is a brief paragraph entitled "Relief from Private Land-Use Restrictions". There is mention of "three legislative approaches" to helping us who have to live under HOA restrictions. I would like to know what the three approaches are, as it seems that previous attempts have died in legislature.
TKS, Steve N2QLQ

Private land-Use Restrictions


On page 63 of the newest (April) QST, there is a brief paragraph entitled "Relief from Private Land-Use Restrictions". There is mention of "three legislative approaches" to helping us who have to live under HOA restrictions. I would like to know what the three approaches are, as it seems that previous attempts have died in legislature.
TKS, Steve N2QLQ

Void for vagueness

Dennis Niles

As a matter of contract law, will poor wording bar enforcement of a restrictive covenant?   Recorded in 1994, the restriction referenced in my deed reads:

"5.  No exterior antennas, except normal TV antennas will be allowed. Particularly excluded are satellite dishes &
Ham radio and CB radio antennas."

Clearly, the phrases "normal" and "Ham radio" are ambiguous.  Assuming the underlying concern is aesthetic impact, is it not arbitrary to bar antennas no larger than whatever was understood to be "normal" in 1994 based solely on how the antenna is used?  If so, does this invalidate the restriction and obligate the HOA to reasonably accommodate my communication needs?

Re: Restricted? Get involved.

John K7KB

I guess I get to be second :) One of the biggest problems I found when applying for a permit was that most local Building & Planning departments have no clue as to the construction, erection, or engineering in regards to Amateur Radio towers. The first thing they think of when you go in and tell them you want to get a permit for a "tower" is that you are putting up a Wireless Communications tower, aka, Cell Tower. Then it's a long process to try and prove that your tower doesn't need to meet the icing or earthquake requirements that a WCF would need, that it meets all current engineering standards, etc. And with most cast strapped counties, they will do everything in their power to drag out the permit process so they can add whatever charges they can dream up to add to the bill. Let's just say, I can totally understand why some hams just put up the tower and say to hell with the permit process. If you try to do the right thing, that's when you get screwed. At least that is my experience, YMMV :)

John K7KB

Restricted? Get involved.


I'll go first!

PRB-1 somewhat protects our rights to property, but only so far as our interaction with other public governments; and that interaction varies more than the solar indices.

The most common impediment to antenna support structures in the Home/Property Owner Association industry. Those extra documents signed when purchasing that home were a private contract saying you, the purchaser, agreed to abide and comply with the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions; the Deed Restrictions; & the By-Laws of the HOA – the “documents” as they are often called.

A developer created that initial set of documents when they subdivided the land, filed the plat, and then started construction. That developer filed all those with the county and state. The HOA became a not for profit corporation run by a boards of directors; initially under developer control, but eventually the “board” will be elected by the home owners.

The United States Constitution states in Article I, section 10, clause 1: “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.” The part we need to look at is; “No State shall …. pass any … Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts”. And when you purchased that house in that HOA/POA, you signed an obligation to contract.

While PRB-1 extends to state and local governmental restrictions, it does not extend to private contracts. So, what can we do about that ironclad Constitutional stipulation?

First, how ironclad is that stipulation? Has it been abridged before? Actually – yes it has in the case of HOAs. The United States Congress passed a bill which was signed into law stipulating that any HOA rule or by-law prohibiting flying the flag of the United States was unenforceable and to be null and void. Much like PRB-1, HOAs can only impose reasonable restrictions on the size, height, or placement of a flag and pole. With the evolution of television reception moving toward cable connections, the satellite industry lobbied to get their slice of the pie, and managed to get an exemption to have a receive-only antenna less than 1 meter in size, installed somehow for a homeowner. And there was a case regarding who could actually provide cable and telephone service to any homeowner within the HOA.

The precedents have been set. The real need is to get PRB-1 extended to that private government created by that HOA.

What can be done until then?

First, when looking for a new QTH, tell your Realtor, in writing, your stipulations of needing unrestricted ability to erect antenna support structures.

Do your own homework and look at city and/or county restrictions. Talk to the building inspector and codes enforcement departments. Find out what forms, permits, plans, and fees will be required. Typically, the farther you are from a metropolitan area, the fewer hoops you need to jump.

Lastly, get politically involved. Promote the Amateur Radio Service as a benefit to your community. Larger HOAs have some of their own emergency services. What better communications could you have for a CERT team than amateur radio? Get on the board of your current HOA. Get the rules and by-laws changed. Lobby your elected officials, or run for office yourself. Start a CERT group in your HOA or neighborhood.

Get involved.

Change the world.

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