FCC Denies New York Ham's Request for PRB-1 Ruling
On March 27, the FCC notified Thomas Morrison, AB2PP, of Yonkers, New York, that it was denying his petition concerning an Amateur Radio antenna support structure Morrison had installed at his home. In his December 2008, petition, Morrison requested the Commission rule that the City of Yonkers did not provide "reasonable accommodation" in its building permit requirements per PRB-1 in regards to the installation of the support structure.
This is the second time Morrison has sought assistance from the FCC in this matter. In 2006, he filed a request with the Commission, asking for a declaratory ruling regarding the tower; the FCC denied his request in January 2007. "In that letter [denying your request]," the FCC reminded Morrison in its 2009 letter, "we explained that the Commission's PRB-1 decision requires that local regulation of Amateur Radio facilities must be the minimum practicable to accomplish the local authority's legitimate purpose, but permits the local authority to determine in the first instance what constitutes a 'reasonable accommodation' based on the its legitimate purposes, policies and concerns."
The Commission's 2007 letter also noted that the FCC does not have the resources to review all state and local laws that affect Amateur Radio operations and that local tribunals have authority to review local zoning decisions.
In his 2008 letter, Morrison told the Commission that since the FCC failed to act in his favor in his earlier petition, the Yonkers City Planning Board denied his request for a special use permit for his antenna support structure. The City of Yonkers has also indicted him for installing a tower without a building permit, a misdemeanor. Morrison also told the FCC that he has filed litigation in US District Court, requesting that it delay his criminal trial.
"We conclude that these intervening events do not affect our conclusion that, under the Commission's PRB-1 decision, you have not presented an appropriate matter for Commission involvement," the FCC told Morrison. "Because your dispute with the City fundamentally involves whether its building code complies with PRB-1, and PRB-1 recognizes that local tribunals have the authority to handle appeals of local decisions regarding antenna structures, we believe that the matter you inquire about is in the appropriate forum. We therefore decline to act upon your petition."