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California Government Code Section 65850.3
65850.3. Any ordinance adopted by the legislative body of a city orcounty that regulates amateur radio station antenna structures shallallow those structures to be erected at heights and dimensionssufficient to accommodate amateur radio service communications, shallnot preclude amateur radio service communications, shall reasonablyaccommodate amateur radio service communications, and shallconstitute the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the city's or county's legitimate purpose. It is the intent of the Legislature in adding this section to theGovernment Code, to codify in state law the provisions of Section97.15 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which expressesthe Federal Communications Commission's limited preemption of localregulations governing amateur radio station facilities.
Federal Law says that municipalities must make reasonable accommodation regarding Amateur Radio antenna height. Generally that has been 40-60 feet, but that is for the radio operator and the city to settle.
However, regarding the city prohibiting the operator from using his transmitter, well that can be completely ignored. Only the FCC has the authority to impose "quiet hours" and then only in the case of infractions by the operator.
As far as interference is concerned, the residents must report that to the FCC. The FCC will then inform them that unlicensed devices must accept any interference from licensed devices that are properly operated. In fact the radio operator has every right to require anyone with any household device that interferes with his radio to correct that interference.
It may be only a hobby, but it's a federally licensed hobby. That carries with it both responsibilities and protections.
I support him not the people complaining. I am a new tech man sitting in front of 4 42 inch screens with the fast internet available in Napa but my tech is reliant on a company to provide service witch can go down at anytime because of natural disaster, weather or a million other reasons like a nuclear blast that would wipe out all our new tech in the blink of the eye while tub ham system would be our only form of communication some day soon. people are to caught up on looks when other things are more important.
As a 34 year licensed ham radio operator, I have seen many conflicts such as this one. In no cases did local laws, rules or opinions over rule FCC regulations. New local laws cannot be invented to suit the opinions of a few. The radio tower meets the technical needs of the owner and transmitting/receiving requirements of modern equipment. NO amateur radio frequencies can interfere with cell phones, AM/FM radio, TV or electric power chairs. All hams are required to build or buy FCC certified equipment and proper grounding prevents harmonic emissions to other frequencies. Bottom line? The imagined Interference's are in the minds of neighbors. Re: visual complaints, the tower and antennas may take up 2% of the view. Far less than a tree. If one does not like it. Don't look at it!
Not exactly true. Strong RF fields can and do interfere with other electrical devices once in a while, regardless of proper grounding or filters on the transmitter.
Agreed..."Spurious" emissions even from the consumers electronic devices can cause it's own failure...With WiFi number of devices can cause a "Lost Signal" with what is called "Proximity" errors...Home electronics now in over abundance in use, that there are cases of "Harmonics" (Specially with cheap devices) that it will lock up "Birdie" effect..The consumer should read and adhere to the owners manual of any device and it will state that "FCC Regulation Compliant, can cause interference and shall be suspected to receiving interference as well"...WD8NJE
Let this guy move his tower to the country and further degrade the vistas. Apparently Napa County zoning could care less. It really has no place downtown. Further, ham radio is dead. What, if any, contribution did it make after the earthquake? If he "hasn't talked on the radio for five or six months" all the more reason is should be dismantled. Amazing that he is willing to be hated by all his neighbors and apparently does not care. Says more about him and his arrogance than anything else I've read.
...........or he is exercising his federal rights..........
"Further, ham radio is dead."
Actually, it is still very much alive and is used for a hobby and for emergency communications. During the Joplin Missouri tornado event, ham radio was used because the phone/city radio system was wiped out.
Be glad you do not reside outside of city limits and in county jurisdiction. My new neighbor built what he refers to as a 'garage' which other neighbors refer to as the 'airplane hangar' (20 foot roof) just feet from my house, yard and fence line. He stores vintage automobiles and old muscle cars obviously exempt from emissions which he warms up just feet from my home; they spew noxious fumes and the roar from his gunning their engines is ear splitting. I chalk it up to his arrogant, self entitled attitude to do whatever he wants and screw anyone elses right to privacy and enjoyment of their property. The guy is basically a selfish jerk, similar to the one in this story, without regard for others. Sadly, classy behavior and regard for others is sorely lacking in our society. This story is another fine example.
.......also, what our community needs to understand is that a City Attorney, giving an "opinion" is nothing more than that, an opinion. It doesn't make it factual or correct, that is what judges decide......
Thank you MM Napa. I find it very ironic that some of the commenters rail about land use rights being the law of the land but quickly dismiss this issue as an argument being invalid....
Local law may require the tower owner to do something that federal law prohibits. Local laws sometimes specify the maximum height of towers. A few years ago, a tower owner obtained an FCC license for an AM radio tower in Lebanon, NH. The license required a tower more than 200 feet tall. The city's zoning ordinance restricted new towers to 42 feet. Because the local law limited construction to a height that the FCC prohibited, the court found that the local law was preempted by operation of the Supremacy Clause. (See Koor Communications, Inc. v. City of Lebanon, 813 A.2d 418 [N.H. 2002].)
"After Deputy City Attorney Peter Spoerl tried to assure commissioners of their right to regulate the height and visual impact of structures"............maybe the C.A. missed this decision.........
Preemption law - Preemption is a legal doctrine rooted in the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It provides that federal law "shall be the supreme Law of the Land." Thus, certain state and local laws that are inconsistent with federal law are void and unenforceable. Preemption is a useful legal tool for those who face burdensome local regulations. If federal law preempts a local tower ordinance, then the tower owner may not have to comply with the local requirement.
No body cares about ugly telephone poles and wires strung up and down roads. We have it so good in this country and all these people who whine are ridiculous.
FCC regulation controls amateur radio use, including the errection of antennas. Various local agencies have tried to affect restrictions but have not had any real success. If the city council goes along with the planning commission restrictions there will doubtlessly be a lawsuit and the city will lose and pay all legal court costs. Sorry to throw cold water on the complainers, but that is reality.This is like complaining about the weather..
And...it's hardly blocking the you can see right through it, these Hams have saves hundreds of lives alerting local of a pending or present danger, picking up distress pings and or calls...around the world.When the next disaster comes and the cell towers become useless like they did recently...these Hams will come in handy.
Rules are needed in neighborhoods to protect quality of life and to protect everyone's collective investment in the neighborhood. I am surprised the city hasn't cracked down more with respect to old non-working vehicles in yards/driveways when they should be out of site, or on garbage bins that seem to be the primary focal point of so many yards because they are never put away.
The neighbors will be crying once it's removed and the city has another disaster which may disable government communication devices.
This argument for hams has been invalid for many years now because of the sea changes in communication technology and systems. Seems Napa's emergency services have functioned just fine through floods and earthquakes without ham radio operators. In any first world country, ham radio operation is now a hobby, hardly a necessity. Federal regs reflect a bygone era. The problems of this tower far outweigh any benefits to the community. Eric Vaughan
It's the FEDERAL LAW.............and it's still there!!!!
Wrong. There are dozens of cases on record in the last few years where amateur operators have been the only means of communication for emergency services after earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes have totally wiped out city and county emergency communication towers and complicated radio systems. Do a little research before you make erroneous statements about something you know nothing about.
Please list a few documented examples. Oh yeh, have the courtesy and courage to include your name since you're convictions are so strong. Not only do I like to know what I'm talking about, I like to know with whom I'm communicating. Over.Eric Vaughan
Ham radio was used after Hurricane Katrina and after the Joplin Missouri tornado event.
And Do Not Forget 9-11...NY was a complete failure with communications and"HAMS" were there to serve...Also Prior USNavy DAV Veteran, M.A.R.S. also does a "Superb" job for our troops over seas to talk to family's at home...We also have Astronauts, Senators, Congressmen,Dr's,Lawyers,Police,Fire Dept,Teachers,and of course "Blind" and Physically disabled all walks of life that are "HAMS"...The list can gone for ever, I recv'd my license in 1974 and still active today..Hams have done so much for the community more than people are aware of..We don't get paid, just only caring for our community..”HAM” radio by far is “NOT” dead as some may think so otherwise..Just look at the A.R.R.L. membership and also look at the F.C.C. web site which will indicate how many “HAMS” are getting there licenses weekly, and F.Y.I. young children are also getting more involved now days which is a plus for all..No Video games, and being active with science,and Electronics in which this country needs more of educated children not video game players sitting around all day... WD8NJE
"Sea changes" - sorry to say, but when the electricity goes out, like what happened in Mississippi during Katrina, the only communication that worked were Yaesu VHF/UHF radios and a few HF radios connected to car batteries. The only thing a cell phone was useful for was a flashlight.
This comment is spot on "I wouldn’t want to encroach into someone’s legal hobby, but a hobby ends where it encroaches into someone else’s life."
And here lies the complexity of the problem, not only with hobbies but with other quality of life issues which encroach on a neighborhood.
I'm continuously reminded of how many homeowners (including their tenants) have complete disregard for the quality of life of their neighbors. For example, running a part time truck repair business out of your front yard where engines are revved up into all hours of the evening, emitting exhaust from gross polluting vehicles. Or the 'at home' business down the street which has car alarm system being tested into the evening hours.
The point is that there are various forms of rude including auditory and visual ones.
This is why we have regulations people. If you think you can do whatever you want, when you want, think again.
People should file complaints and not feel bad about it.
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