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Cliff
 

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.


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