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Village of Kenmore adds $1000 permit fee for amateur radio antennas

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KD2BHP, Dec 11, 2013.

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  1. KD2BHP

    KD2BHP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I email our mayor and town clerk :

    the Clerk responded :

    The bolded part is my favorite.

    I asked for clarification

    and the clerk responded

    my last question has gone unanswered thus far

  2. W1YW

    W1YW Subscriber QRZ Page

    The (application)fee gives you the exclusive right to then be turned down for your antenna. It is not a permit fee...IOW its even worse than you think.

    Chip W1YW
  3. WW7F

    WW7F Guest

    By the definition of thier town's name, kenmore, maybe they should change it to Kenless since it seems this is the general attitude in thier village govt.
    I wish you luck with them, they sound truly fubared by what you have posted here. 73,Michelle
  4. W1ERP

    W1ERP Ham Member QRZ Page

    So let me think about this a moment....a 1000 dollar fee will ensure safety and the well being of the community....hmmmmm..sounds really bogus to me....sounds like discrimination situation......I served on a planning board for many years, and my town never issued anything like this. The fee for the application was based on the dollar value of the project.......minimun 10 dollars for the first thousand of project value, and believe it was 5 dollars for every thousand in value after that...........
  5. KD4MOJ

    KD4MOJ Database Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm glad I live in a ham friendly county. The local ordinances concerning "towers" (mainly aimed at cell cites) have exclusions for "FCC licensed amateur radio operators". You still have to get a permit for the construction but it's a minimal cost.


  6. CU3AK

    CU3AK Ham Member QRZ Page

    On this part of the world, the goverment is always looking away to get (STILL) more money from everybody's pocket. But so far we hams are lost in the desk door. Everywere the politicians have only one thing in mind... STILL the people, shame.
  7. K5FO

    K5FO Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Please note that the Village, prior to passing this law, had no regulations pertaining to HAM operators, and such antenna structures were prohibited by local law. This local law represents the Village’s efforts to expand the rights of HAM radio operators."
    As you indicated, this wording suggests that if an activity is not specifically allowed by law, it is prohibited. Perhaps the Village will require all citizens to purchase licenses to breathe? To me, this is the complete antithesis of liberty.
    Welcome to 21st century America - land of the un-free.
    Suppose I were a citizen/subject of Kenmore and I wanted to put a 40 - 50 foot tower in my yard for a windmill - do my
    bit for green energy and combat global warming etc. Would I have to pay the same $1K use fee?
  8. AC8QJ

    AC8QJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    how much is the fine for non-compliance? It might be cheaper than the permit.
  9. W7KHZ

    W7KHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The easy answer on this regulation/fee is that it will fail if properly challenged. The Village does not have the ability to regulate antennas. They can only regulate certain structure types that antennas are mounted on. I doubt that they would ever attempt to regulate or charge a fee for you to mount a weather vane on top of your house, put a hammock between two trees, or even put up a basketball hoop on a pole. A tower or a mast is not an antenna. The Village would also have to prove that a vertical antenna could be a potential safety hazard when mounted on the ground and requires permitting/safety inspections based on existing industrial safety standards. The Village "idiots" blew it on this one. They really should have just targeted tower or monopole structures that, in some cases, do require a building permit and inspection. This sure looks like a learning opportunity for several. Good Luck Kenwood!
  10. K8NGW

    K8NGW Subscriber QRZ Page

    What about the existing amateur radio stations? A license search for Kenmore NY results in 65 callsigns!
  11. NH7L

    NH7L Ham Member QRZ Page

    So everything that is not permitted is forbidden. "Take a day and look around, and see the nazis run your town ... " -- Mothers of Invention
  12. WN9ZWC

    WN9ZWC Ham Member QRZ Page


    FULL CONTEXT; Ordinances

    [h=3]Supporting Comments[/h]10. The Department of Defense (DOD) supported the ARRL and emphasized in its comments that continued success of existing national security and emergency preparedness telecommunications plans involving amateur stations would be severely diminished if state and local ordinances were allowed to prohibit the construction and usage of effective amateur transmission facilities. DOD utilizes volunteers in the Military Affiliate Radio Service (MARS)[SUP]4[/SUP], Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES). It points out that these volunteer communicators are operating radio equipment installed in their homes and that undue restrictions on antennas by local authorities adversely affected their efforts. DOD states that the responsiveness of these volunteer systems would be impaired if local ordinances interfere with the effectiveness of these important national telecommunication resources. DOD favors the issuance of a ruling that would set limits for local and state regulatory bodies when they are dealing with amateur stations.
    11. Various chapters of the American Red Cross also came forward to support the ARRL's request for a preemptive ruling. The Red Cross works closely with amateur radio volunteers. It believes that without amateurs' dedicated support, disaster relief operations would significantly suffer and that its ability to serve disaster victims would be hampered. It feels that antenna height limitations that might be imposed by local bodies will negatively affect the service now rendered by the volunteers.
    12. Cities and counties from various parts of the United States filed comments in support of the ARRL's request for a Federal preemption ruling. The comments from the Director of Civil Defense, Port Arthur, Texas are representative:
    The Amateur Radio Service plays a vital role with our Civil Defense program here in Port Arthur and the design of these antennas and towers lends greatly to our ability to communicate during times of disaster.
    We do not believe that there should be any restrictions on the antennas and towers except for reasonable safety precautions. Tropical storms, hurricanes and tornadoes are a way of life here on the Texas Gulf Coast and good communications are absolutely essential when preparing for a hurricane and even more so during recovery operations after the hurricane has past.
    13. The Quarter Century Wireless Association took a strong stand in favor of the issuance of a declaratory ruling. It believes that Federal preemption is necessary so that there will be uniformity for all Amateur radio installations on private property throughout the United States.
    14. In its comments, the ARRL argued that the Commission has the jurisdiction to preempt certain local land use regulations which frustrate or prohibit amateur communications. It said that the appropriate standard in preemption cases is not the extent of state and local interest in a given regulation, but rather the impact of that regulation on Federal goals. Its position is that Federal preemption is warranted whenever local governmental regulations relate adversely to the operational aspects of amateur communication. The ARRL maintains that localities routinely employ a variety of land use devices to preclude the installation of effective amateur antennas, including height restrictions, conditional use permits, building setbacks and dimensional limitations on antennas. It sees a declaratory ruling of Federal preemption as necessary to cause municipalities to accommodate amateur operator needs in land use planning efforts.
    15. James C. O'Connell, an attorney who has represented several amateurs before local zoning authorities, said that requiring amateurs to seek variances or special use approval to erect reasonable antennas unduly restricts the operation of amateur stations. He suggested that the Commission preempt zoning ordinances which impose antenna height limits of less than 65 feet. He said that this height would represent a reasonable accommodation of the communication needs of most amateurs and the legitimate concerns of local zoning authorities.
  13. WN9ZWC

    WN9ZWC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Also in ref to my above post, this needs to be brought to the attention of the ARRL who lends assistance is such matters and a call or email to the FCC field office should also be pursued.
  14. WV3E

    WV3E XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I get the feeling someone who's either on the town council or has the council's ear doesn't like those "ugly" antennas. I'll mention one new piece of advice -- vote Libertarian!

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  15. W7WBB

    W7WBB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am retired now but my work for the last 20 years involved obtaining various use and other permits from agencies in California. I was involved for years in the permitting of cell towers but never ham radio antennas.

    I'm not familiar with New York law, but planning laws are generally consistent State to State, differing only in the details. It is the responsibility of the governing body to have a Planning Code, which has been approved by the appropriate elected legislative body (village counsel) after a series of mandatory public hearings. This code is written by the governing body's council (attorney) and its conformance with all applicable superior laws (county, state and federal) is vetted by him prior to initial submittal to the legislative body for consideration. In other words a appointed or hired official, irrespective of status and rank, can't just make regulations up. So, if you have no evidence of past hearings there is no law or regulation. Its called due process. It was ignored by NY state in passing the so-called "SAFE" act last year but that's another ax to grind.

    What is your recourse? If there have been hearings and a law was passed (as is suggested by the clerk's letter) or if your local standards of legislating don't include due process (hard to believe) then you need to get a knowledgeable attorney and attack the law based on its non-conformance with superior laws. Also, they may only charge what it costs them to review your application and ascertain its conformance with the published standards written into the law. (E.g. setbacks, heights, etc.) must all be stated in advance by them. This usually consists of the applicant furnishing a plot plan or statement showing the location of the antenna relative setbacks and its height. I've never personally seen an antenna law that mentions anything but height.

    If the local standards of due process have been ignored, and the Village is running a bluff, then call them on it. Don't do it yourself, use an attorney. Avoid telling them how important you are in the community. In 2013 America, they don't care. Sorry to say.

    Should you just give them the middle finger and put up an antenna anyway? Bad idea. Play by the rules even if they won't. Get over being righteously pissed off it will cloud your judgement.

    I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.

    Some other thoughts:

    KD4MOJ's post of his local regulations is very typical.

    Troubling quotes from the clerk's letter:

    "communications needs and goals of the applicant, and appropriate and reasonable alternatives"


    "The Village also must make sure that the antenna structure is the minimum necessary for the operator to achieve his/her goals."

    I don't see that what you do with your permitted antenna is any of their business and your attempts to justify anything when applying would be impossible. They'd pick your application apart, based on their "feelings" of inappropriateness, and send you a bill based on their hourly rate for your trouble. I have seen it happen.

    "The Village also must make sure that the antenna structure is the minimum necessary for the operator to achieve his/her goals."

    Again, how do you attempt to support your claims. You can't. The deck is stacked in their favor.

    "In our research, several courts have reviewed a municipality’s use of such consulting help and have evaluated the municipality’s resulting thorough analysis."

    This is probably outright lie to justify their existence and salarys. Their burden is to form regulations conformant to law and to publish clear standards. Your burden is to comply with these clear standards. Their work then consists of following a checklist. Did the applicant comply to the height limit of 100 feet? Yes or no. No thorough analysis required. If a consultant is required, such as a Surveyor to determine height or setback, you hire him, not them. Them citing "courts" meaning case law is ridiculous. Nobody can decide what case law means except for a judge.

    "We consulted with our attorneys on this matter and the fee represents the anticipated costs of obtaining needed consultant advice, which the courts have referenced when reviewing cases on this matter. New York law provides that the costs of administering permits are appropriately born by those seeking the approvals."

    Indeed. You hire the necessary consultants, if at all necessary, and pay them for their expert opinion. You hire and pay them. The reverse is insane and corrupt. The permitting agency disagrees with your experts at their peril. I was very proud of my engineering license and got very testy when an unlicensed clerk called me wrong. It would result in a strongly worded letter to the City Attorney, citing the relevant statutes and reminding them of the laws regarding practicing Engineering without a license.

    I hope I haven't rambled on too long. 73 and good luck.


    The first two statements are true. The last two are a sad joke. America follows the English model, number one.

    There are four Government Models in Europe:

    The English Model - All is permitted, except that which is forbidden.

    The German Model - All is forbidden, except that which is permitted.

    The Russian Model - All is forbidden, including that which is permitted.

    The French Model - All is permitted, including that which is forbidden.
  16. NK4K

    NK4K Ham Member QRZ Page

    YANK out all the stops!

    I don't know the particulars, but Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) antennae installations cannot be regulated by local municipalities. The dishes have to be where they work the best.
    As an example, to get DirecTV or DishNetwork, I'd have to have a tower nearly 140' tall to clear the pine trees on surrounding hills. There is no "shoot through."
    I don't know the Kenmore terrain, but in my case, I'd love to put up the DBS antenna at 140' and then plop a 10 element, 20 meter beam on top of that. Tower would probably wiggle in the wind enough to drop the picture, but I don't watch TV enough anyway.
    Anybody know where to find those rules?
  17. WN9ZWC

    WN9ZWC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree.. you make some very good points in your post.
  18. N7EF

    N7EF Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    If ARRL, or some wealthy ham, wanted to spend the bux, a First Amendment issue might be pursued.
    Ham radio is a form of free speech (communication).
    You don't need a permit for a telephone, cellphone, TV set, TV cable, computer/internet access (other communication forms requiring equipment).
    As long as you have the FCC license you should be good to go with whatever you (PRB-1) reasonably choose equipment-wise....
    Sue the fascist pigs for messin' with yer Civil Rights.....
  19. KB3X

    KB3X XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    That town is a bit harsh in other things too:

    Plumbers wishing to do work in the Village are required to file an application with the Clerk/Treasurer’s Office and pass an examination.The Board of Trustees must approve each designation of Master Plumber.The license is valid for one (1) calendar year. The Master Plumber’s license must be renewed annually.The Board of Trustees may revoke or suspend any license for a violation of any state of local laws relating to plumbing or for work which constitutes a violation of the zoning ordinance.The license may also be revoked or suspended if the plumber does work without first procuring any necessary permits.

    [FONT=Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif]Since when do plumbers need to pass a TOWN SPECIFIC exam and have a separate TOWN SPECIFIC license?[/FONT]

    [FONT=Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif]If you read more of their web site you get the feeling the whole town is more of gigantic HOA:

    The American Planning Association recently named the Village of Kenmore as “One of the Top 10 Great Neighborhoods” in the United States for 2009, as part of its Great Places in America Program. The program recognizes 10 communities throughout the country for exceptional character and planning.
  20. VA3PUX

    VA3PUX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Another example that government is out of touch. Here in Ottawa Canada we can go to 56 feet with no permit.
    If you live on one acre or more you can go to 80 feet with no permit.

    Good Luck
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