WW8N tower court case could set a precedent for all US amateurs

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W0BTU, Feb 22, 2014.

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  1. W0BTU

    W0BTU Ham Member QRZ Page

    This court case about a tower before a Federal court could affect the ability of amateurs everywhere to erect towers. READ THIS!
    February Edition of the Ohio Section Journal
    FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT LIAISON..
    ---------------------------------

    Village of Swanton Antenna Decision Appealed..

    On February 4 the Village of Swanton filed a notice of appeal, appealing the decision of the Fulton County Common Pleas Court in the case of Wodtke v. Village of Swanton. The case is the first court case that we are aware of involving application of Ohio’s new antenna legislation, H.B. 158 (129th General Assembly). The Trial Court ordered the approval of an application to the village by Gary Wodtke, WW8N, for approval of an antenna variance. The Village denied the application and Mr. Wodtke appealed that decision to the Fulton County Common Pleas Court. The Court ruled in Mr. Wodtke’s favor and the Village is now appealing that order. In the docketing statement filed with the Court of Appeals the Village asserts four potential issues to be argued in the appeal, including whether Revised Code Section 5502.031, enacted by H.B. 158, is constitutional and whether it was constitutionally applied in this case.

    Ohio law grants a right of appeal from final decisions of a common pleas court. The decision here is appealed to the Sixth District Court of Appeals, headquartered in Toledo. The appellate process involves first, filing the record of proceedings in the common pleas court, then briefs of each of the parties and, finally, a brief oral argument to the court. Appellate decisions are heard by a three judge panel that is usually designated near the time for oral argument. Decisions normally take a number of months after oral argument. Appellate decisions are generally final, unless further review is granted by the Ohio Supreme Court. While a court of appeals decision represents the law only in that appellate district, it carries significant precedential value in other Ohio courts and may also be cited in similar cases in other states.

    Mr. Wodtke is represented by Toledo attorney Carey Cooper and by Fred Hopengarten, K1VR a noted authority on zoning and amateur radio antenna issues. ARRL leadership at the national level is also aware of the appeal. Scott Yonally, Ohio Section Manager and Jim Weaver, Great Lakes Division Director have enlisted support from the ARRL. In my discussion with League General Counsel, Chris Imlay, W3KD, it appears that the leadership of the League views this appeal as being one of precedential significance, not only for Ohio amateurs, but also for amateurs in other states that have passed state versions of FCC regulation PRB-1.

    Discussions are ongoing regarding various ways to help bring this appeal to a successful conclusion. We will keep you informed as further developments occur.

    73, Nick, K8NAP

    State Government Liaison
    goodsonrd@netwalk.com

    ****************************************************​
     
  2. K4RT

    K4RT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I hope the ham wins (again) on appeal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  3. N4GKS

    N4GKS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, but say he wins again. Would this have any meaning in a restricted subdivision where the covenant, deed or HOA clearly states no antennas? I doubt it.
     
  4. AC4RX

    AC4RX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Antennas and HOA, and deed restrictions

    Why would anyone that enjoys the hobby of Amateur Radio move to one of these HOA or deed restricted subdivisions?
     
  5. KC8YHW

    KC8YHW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Lets say a resident of a HOA or CC&R area decides that Ham radio is neat, Does that person have to rent property or tower space off site?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  6. K3ILC

    K3ILC Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are many ways we (ARRL and amateur groups) can try to overcome covenants, deeds, and HOAs stating no antennas. Clearly ordinances governing these matters are difficult to pass and not the way to go.
     
  7. K8WHB

    K8WHB Ham Member QRZ Page

    This appeal in the Swanton case is NOT to a Federal Court - it is to the OHIO STATE Court of Appeals. If Swanton loses (which I hope they will) they can then appeal the case to the Ohio Supreme Court. The Village is questioning the constitutionality of this law under the OHIO Constitution, primarily on the grounds that it intrudes on the authority of local officials in land use.

    Having lived in that area at one time, I'm betting that the Village is appealing (BTW, using TAXPAYER's MONEY to fund the appeal) hoping that Mr. Wodtke will run out of funds to fight them. This is a "wizzing contest" - the Village wants to prove they are more powerful than some mere citizen and will squander taxpayer money to prove the point. Their goal is not just to prevent Mr. Wodtke from putting up his antenna - they want the entire statute to be invalidated.

    I worked with my State Representative to get this law enacted (which the Ohio League of Cities fought tooth and tong), and I intend to take to him about filing an amicus brief on Mr. Wodtke's behalf.

    73,
    Bill Bowen
    K8WHB
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  8. WA8ZYT

    WA8ZYT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I understand there are some HOA's that are so strict that they don't even allow things like raising the hood on your car, to do something simple like check the oil or add windshield washer fluid. Or jacking up a car, to say change a flat tire.

    Worse than than that, many do not allow home chicken coupes, or bee hives. A real bummer if you like fresh eggs, honey and your garden crops pollinated.
     
  9. KH6CT

    KH6CT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I can agree with the homeowner to a point. I have lived in HOA (or whatever you call them before), but never again.
    One should read the rules before moving in.... It's sort of like buying a retirement property at the beginning of an airport runway and then complaining about the noise !!! ???

    Respectfully,
    Steve.... KH6CT
     
  10. SA6CKE

    SA6CKE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Seems to be worse than Communism!
    :eek:
     
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