Residential antennas and ordinances

boondockdad

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Jan 4, 2014
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Wayne County, Michigan
I've been told this is a very contentious topic with a lot of federal precedent in the ham's favor, but I searched and wasn't able to find any relevant threads so...

My city's ordinance states:

(a) Antennas with a wind-resistance surface of seven (7) square feet or less shall be located in the rear yard or on a rooftop, provided that freestanding antenna towers shall be set back from all property lines a distance equal to the height of the tower. Such antennas shall comply with the height standards for the district in which they are located, except as hereinafter provided.
(b) Antennas with a wind-resistance surface of over seven (7) square feet shall be located in the rear yard only, and shall be subject to the setback and height standards for the district in which they are located. Any such antenna shall be located to obscure its view from adjacent properties and roads, to the maximum extent possible.
(c) Notwithstanding the above requirements, open element and monopole antennas shall be permitted in residential districts, provided they do not exceed forty- five (45) feet in height.

My interpretation is: I can put up a vertical antenna up to 45' high on my roof, but it has to be 45' vertically from any of my setbacks.
Clearing my setbacks by 45' is going to be a problem. Actually, 8' would be a problem.

I understand the reasoning, but it seems unreasonable since the actual structures on lots themselves aren't constrained to 'fall over' setback requirements. ie. chimney's or even the building itself. How about trees? My neighbors dead maple tree would demolish half my house if it decides to fall my way.

As an architect, I've dealt with variances in this municipality before and let's just say getting one's highly unlikely (unless you were willing to grease the right palms).

Any advice or links to good overriding precedent?
 

W9BU

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(a) refers to setbacks from the property line equal to the height of the tower. A ground-mounted or roof-mounted vertical would probably not have a tower.
 

boondockdad

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Jan 4, 2014
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Location
Wayne County, Michigan
Tnx W9BU
That makes sense.
I'm looking to put up a Diamond X510HDM, but at 17' I wouldn't be able to do either gable end, and I really don't want to have to anchor thru the roof (midway along ridge).
 

prcguy

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Jun 30, 2006
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So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
Yes. A tower and antenna are two different things. A 43ft monopole vertical on the ground with ground radials would not be a tower and according to your ordinance would be legal in the rear yard with no setback. A vertical would be ok on your roof if it doesn't exceed 45ft above ground.

(a) refers to setbacks from the property line equal to the height of the tower. A ground-mounted or roof-mounted vertical would probably not have a tower.
 

Golay

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Apr 28, 2016
Messages
360
Location
Nankin Township, Michigan
Here's the thought crossing my mind:
Sounds like you would like a zoning ordinance variance. Like extending your front porch past where the zoning ordinance says it can be.
In the town I live in, I would ask the township to send letters to everyone within a certain distance, basically seeing if anyone has a problem with it. And if they do, come to the next zoning board meeting. If no one shows up, the variance is granted.

First I would go to City Hall. Your city council can issue you a variance without you going to the zoning board. Find out how to appeal to the council. And if they deny you, then you will need to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals. There's an application you can find online ahead of time if you need to go in front of the board. I would imagine that entails the same thing I have to do, contacting neighbors, etc.

Like I said, that was the thought I had when I read the original post. Why not give it a go?
 
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