ARRL General Bulletin ARLB009 (1996)

ARLB009 PRB-1 change sought

ARRL Bulletin 9  ARLB009
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  February 15, 1996
To all radio amateurs

ARLB009 PRB-1 change sought

The ARRL wants the FCC to take additional steps to compel state and
local governments to make reasonable accommodation for Amateur Radio
under PRB-1 and apply the least restrictive means to regulate
amateur antennas and activity. In a Petition for Rulemaking filed
February 7, the League calls on the FCC to amend Section 97.15(e) to
say that any state or local ordinances restricting ham radio
antennas to heights below 70 feet would be presumed unreasonable,
unless the state or local authority could show its restrictions
support a clearly defined health, safety or aesthetic objective.
State and local governments also could not impose substantial
application costs on amateur service licensees.

The League also wants the FCC to acknowledge that it has an interest
in the effective performance of Amateur Radio stations in areas
regulated by deed restrictions or restrictive covenants rather than
by local zoning ordinances.

The League says clarifying the preemption policy (PRB-1) would help
guide municipalities to enact provisions that make fair
accommodation for amateurs and avoid highly divisive litigation
between hams and localities.

Under the suggested changes, state and local governments could apply
to the Commission for a full or partial waiver of the amended rules
in unusual circumstances.

The FCC has not assigned a rulemaking petition (RM) number.

Here is the suggested wording of Section 97.15(e) the petition

(1) State and local regulation of a station antenna structure must
not preclude amateur service communications. Rather, it must
reasonably accommodate such communications; it must constitute the
minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the state or local
authority's legitimate purpose; and it must not impose substantial
costs on amateur service licensees.

(2) Any state or local antenna restriction or regulation which, on
its face or as applied, would limit amateur station antennas to
heights below 70 feet is presumed unreasonable unless the
promulgating authority can demonstrate that such regulation is
necessary to accomplish a clearly defined, and expressly stated
health, safety or aesthetic objective; that there is no less
burdensome alternative to the regulation; and that the Federal
interest in efficient amateur radio communications from the amateur
station at issue is otherwise reasonably accommodated.

(3) Any state or local authority, or other entity that wishes to
maintain and enforce zoning, land use or other regulations or
restrictions inconsistent with this section may apply to the
Commission for a full or partial waiver of this section. Such
waivers may be granted by the Commission in its sole discretion,
upon a showing by the applicant that local concerns of a highly
specialized or unusual nature create an overwhelming necessity for
regulation inconsistent with this section. No application for waiver
shall be considered unless it includes the particular regulation for
which waiver is sought. Waivers granted according to this rule shall
not apply to later-enacted or amended regulations by the local
authority unless the Commission expressly orders otherwise.