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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB094 (1999)

ARLB094 ARRL to Seek Partial FCC Reconsideration Of PRB-1 Petition Denial

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 94  ARLB094
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  December 10, 1999
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB094 ARRL to Seek Partial FCC Reconsideration Of PRB-1 Petition Denial

The ARRL will ask the FCC to partially reconsider its dismissal of
RM-8763, the League's 1996 petition that sought to strengthen and
clarify the limited federal preemption policy governing Amateur
Radio antennas known as PRB-1. The League also will fund a Florida
antenna case with PRB-1 implications.

In its petition, the ARRL wanted the FCC to prevent states and
localities from enacting provisions that frustrate the intent of
PRB-1 or make it costly to apply for permission to erect an amateur
antenna. The FCC dismissed the petition in its entirety November 19
and indicated it was unwilling to go beyond what is already spelled
out in PRB-1. ''We continue to believe that the standards the
Commission set, that is 'reasonable accommodation' and 'minimum
practicable regulation', have worked relatively well,'' the FCC

The League will ask the FCC to reconsider two important aspects of
the original petition. Meeting December 4 in Texas, the ARRL
Executive Committee voted to seek reconsideration of the FCC Order
regarding the application of PRB-1 to restrictive covenants and to
excessive costs that localities might levy or require in order to
install an antenna structure.

In its dismissal, the FCC pointed out that PRB-1 excludes
restrictive covenants in private contracts as ''outside the reach of
our limited preemption.'' The Commission added, however, that it
''strongly encourages associations of homeowners and private
contracting parties to follow the principle of reasonable
accommodation'' with respect to Amateur Radio.

In addressing zoning laws and application costs, the FCC dismissal
Order asserted that the PRB-1 principles of ''reasonable
accommodation'' and ''minimum practicable regulation'' already
provide sufficient guidance to communities. Local zoning ordinances
should be written so as to ''not impinge on the needs of amateur
operators to engage in amateur communications,'' the FCC said.

In a related action, the Executive Committee agreed to have the
League fund an appeal in a Florida Amateur Radio tower case. Lenard
Persin, WB4HZQ, had applied to Seminole County for a special
exception to a 35-foot tower height limit to build an 80-foot tower
on his nearly one-acre lot. Denied by the County, Persin appealed in
federal court, and the ARRL filed a ''friend of the court'' brief in
the case. On November 2, a US District Court in Florida ruled for
the County, saying it had ''properly balanced Mr. Persin's interests
with the needs of the community.''

In its Order two weeks later dismissing RM-8763, however, the FCC
had declared that, given the express language of PRB-1, ''it is
clear that a 'balancing of interests' approach is not appropriate.''

ARRL President Rod Stafford, W6ROD, has appointed a committee to
study how the ARRL provides support for antenna cases.  


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