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Opponents’ Representations of Parity Act’s Purpose “Just Not True,” ARRL President Says


ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has taken strong exception to certain claims being made by community association organizations about the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — H.R. 1301 and S. 1685. In an interview with Ham Radio Now host Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, during the ARRL Roanoke Division Convention in Shelby, North Carolina over Labor Day weekend, President Craigie stressed that passage of the legislation is critical to ensuring the future of Amateur Radio. And she described as “false” recent assertions that the bills’ passage would prevent community associations from requiring prior approval for 70-foot ham radio towers and from creating reasonable processes and aesthetic guidelines.

“As bills go, it’s pretty short, and it’s in plain English,” President Craigie said. “The legislation does not say that, it does not mean that. It’s just not true!” She pointed to the League’s recent “Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity” posting, which attempts to separate fact from fiction regarding the legislation. The “Clarity” document explains the bill and “addresses some of these statements that have no resemblance to anything that is factual in this or any other solar system,” she said.

“The only authority that [homeowners associations] would lose is the ability to say, ‘No, go away,’” said President Craigie. HOAs, she explained, would at least have to negotiate “reasonable accommodation,” which would depend on the circumstances existing in a given neighborhood.

She also said that the Parity Act does not represent any sort of federal government or FCC takeover or preemption of HOAs. “It does not take their authority to regulate away,” she said. “It only takes away their authority to say ‘no.’ There’s a big difference.”

“The legislation does not even come close to what they are saying,” agreed ARRL Roanoke Division Director Dr Jim Boehner, N2ZZ, who was interviewed with President Craigie at the Shelby Hamfest.

President Craigie said the proliferation of antenna-restricted communities could dramatically affect the ability of young newcomers to engage in and enjoy Amateur Radio. “A lot of people who are hams today got started as young folks, and it led them into careers; it led them into all kinds of interesting opportunities in their lives,” she told Pearce. If a young person’s parents buy into a deed-restricted neighborhood, however, any ham radio aspirations could be shut down, she said.

“We need to make sure that whatever community their parents decide to buy a house in, that [prospective newcomers] will be able to have some kind of a functioning antenna,” President Craigie said. “Otherwise, our future has got a major crimp in it.”

“The world will not come to an end if the HOAs actually have to sit down and communicate with the radio amateurs who live there,” President Craigie concluded.




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