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

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Western, New York
    Posts
    17

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

    http://www.buffalonews.com/city-regi...nmore-20131203

    The board passed a separate law Tuesday regulating the placement of amateur, or ham, radio antennas. The law includes a $1,000 application fee for a special-use permit.
    “We had somebody put in an application and we advised him – similarly to the other issue – that we didn’t have any legislation pertaining to ham radios and that we would be looking into it,” Johnson said.
    I email our mayor and town clerk :

    http://www.buffalonews.com/city-regi...nmore-20131203

    I read in the Buffalo News about the new $1000 application fee for Ham radio antenna's. I would like the text of the law so I can forward it to the FCC as I believe you are in violation of federal law.

    http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/ind...teur&page=1#25

    Nevertheless, local regulations which involve placement, screening, or height of anatennas based on health, safety, or aesthetic considerations must be crafted to accommodate reasonably amateur communications, and to represent the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the local authority's legitimate purpose.

    When I compare the $1000 cost to the other permit costs listed for Kenmore ( http://www.villageofkenmore.org/inde...d=69&Itemid=77) there is no way this can be seen as the "minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the local authority's legitimate purpose" and I doubt the FCC will see it that way either.

    I have contacted the ARRL (http://www.arrl.org) and am getting them involved. I plan to contact the FCC once I here back from you.

    I am an active member of our community and volunteer at the Kenmore Fire Department. I have lived in Kenmore for 13 years and love the community and its people, but a thousand dolars to install a $30 antenna, how can this be seen as reasonable.
    the Clerk responded :

    The local law will be posted on the website once we receive confirmation of filing from the Secretary of State. The fee noted in the Buffalo News is for those operators who require land use and building permit approvals to construct an antenna structure on their property. Generally speaking, this will pertain to HAM operators seeking to install a free-standing antenna on their property, or an antenna structure on an existing building. Some of the issues that must be evaluated include setbacks, tower height, tower construction, tower location, communications needs and goals of the applicant, and appropriate and reasonable alternatives. In conducting this evaluation, the Village will be required to obtain both engineering and communication consultant support in order for it to appropriately balance the interests of the HAM operator with the health, safety and general welfare of the community. 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 assistance is especially important in a municipality like Kenmore; obviously we are not dealing with a rural community with large lots and low density. I’m sure you appreciate that Kenmore lots are very small. Any type of antenna structure is likely to cause unique concerns. The Village needs to be sure that any proposed antenna structure will not present any safety issues, and will not have any other adverse impacts. The Village also must make sure that the antenna structure is the minimum necessary for the operator to achieve his/her goals. 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.

    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. The law acknowledges the HAM operators’ rights but also notes that a balancing of those rights with the needs of the community is proper, pursuant to Federal law. Like all of our fees, they are established to reimburse the costs to the municipality for its costs associated with the permit application.
    The bolded part is my favorite.

    I asked for clarification

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I wanted a little clarification on a couple of things :

    1) would a simple wire antenna hung from a home require this permit? something like this : http://www.chrisc.co.uk/2e1hje/ANT.jpg
    2) would a vertical antenna without a tower require this permit? something like this : http://files.qrz.com/d/e51and/Mangai...3_10_small.JPG
    3) would a 2 meter antenna attached to a home require this permit? something like this : http://www.qsl.net/ab8mo/2meter.gif

    I have been in contact with the ARRL and their general counsel requested a copy of the law that was passed. I will check the website.

    One further clarification. In your last paragraph it sounds like you are saying that if there is not a law that permits something that it is illegal. I'm not a lawyer but I always thought something was legal unless it prohibited by law not the other way around.
    and the clerk responded

    I cannot evaluate specific antenna options. This is not my area. Please feel free to submit an application to the building department.
    my last question has gone unanswered thus far

    One last question. The second part of my last email

    One further clarification. In your last paragraph it sounds like you are saying that if there is not a law that permits something that it is illegal. I'm not a lawyer but I always thought something was legal unless it prohibited by law not the other way around.

    You said :

    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.
    So your / the village's contention is that were no law permits an action / activity it is thus illegal… That seems a little broad and overstepping what I understand our laws to be. Again not being a lawyer could you please clarify this for me.

    thank you again for taking time to respond.
    *********
    KD2BHP
    [url]http://youtube.com/buffcleb[/url]
    [url]http://www.bethnchris.com[/url]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Near Boston
    Posts
    3,583

    Default

    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.

    73,
    Chip W1YW

  3. #3

    Default

    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. #4

    Default

    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. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Estancia San Pedro y San Pablo - EM70tk
    Posts
    1,638

    Default

    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.

    Communication antenna means an antenna, appurtenant to a structure, designed to transmit and/or receive communications authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The term, "communication antenna," shall not include antennas utilized by amateur radio operators licensed by the FCC.Communication tower means a principal structure which is principally intended to support communication equipment for telephone,,radio and similar communication purposes. The term, "communication tower" shall not include towers utilized by amateur radio operators licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or towers not exceeding 75 feet in height utilized by essential service providers on a site containing an essential service facility, such as but not limited to fire stations, law enforcement facilities including jails, electrical substations, wastewater treatment plants, sewer lift stations, overhead water storage tanks, water wells and utility operation or service centers, for the provision of telemetry data only. Communication towers are generally described as either monopole (freestanding), lattice (self-supporting), or guyed (anchored with guy wires or cables).


    ...DOUG
    KD4MOJ

    Surfing the net with my Radio Shack TRS Model III
    I'm a Prisoner (FH#1125), Locked up in Hellschreiber.
    30 Meter Digital Group #1076 - JT65-HF Addict (currently in treatment)

  6. #6

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    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.
    73
    CU3AK
    Eloy

  7. #7

    Default

    "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. #8

    Default

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

  9. #9

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    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. #10

    Default

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

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