Michigan’s Proposed Tower Law

This is from Len Todd, N8AGS, MTL Project Manager, N8AGS@arrl.net. If you’re in Michigan, please contact your state legislators……..Dan

Status Report – March 10, 2010

We have changed the name of the PRB-1 Project to a name that fits the proposed law better and more accurately describes its intent. We now call it the Michigan Tower Law because it will standardize acceptable tower heights across Michigan. Currently, there is no Michigan tower law. Each local government makes up its own tower ordinance. Unfortunately, lack of a standardized Michigan law has resulted in a patchwork of “acceptable” tower heights. The resulting range of acceptable tower height is from ZERO feet to 200 feet.

That’s right, you read it. ZERO feet is considered an acceptable tower height in some Michigan communities. We also currently have one Michigan community in which there is no ordinance against a ham tower. However, the government apparently interprets that to mean that ham towers are prohibited. They are currently refusing a ham a building permit for a proposed 30’ tower.

The proposed Michigan Tower Law basically reads that with ham towers up to 90’, the local governments leave us alone. Over 90’, you may be directed to the Board of Appeals and may have to use the Federal PRB-1 protection that we currently have to “educate” the Board. If that fails, with towers over 90’, then we are right back where we are now. But… with our bill passed, under 90’ we are left alone. What ham would refuse such protection?

Well to fairly answer the question, I would have to say about 99% of the Michigan hams apparently are refusing such protection, even if it is to help themselves. Apparently, 99% of our 22,000+ hams are not taking the time to support themselves and their own hobby. Personally, I am appalled at the relatively total lack of hams that will NOT take the time to contact their Legislators to get this Bill passed. Everyone must figure that saving our hobby is up to the next guy! This is a slippery slope we are on here! Well, anyway… so much for the rant!

Current Status of HB # 5556
The Michigan Proposed Tower Law is currently in Michigan’s House of Representatives Committee on Intergovernmental and Regional Affairs. Representative Lindberg, the Bill’s original Sponsor, is asking the Committee Chairperson to move on the Bill. This is the normal practice to get the Committee to function on the Bill. Once the bill is accepted or modified by the Committee. It moves to the House Floor for discussion and/or vote. If there are enough interested Representatives, the Bill passes the vote.

Now is the time to write, call and personally contact your Michigan Representative. If you have already written a letter, it is time to call. If you have already called, it is time to seek out your Rep out for a face-to-face discussion. This Bill will only move if you move it!

So… please take a moment to contact your Representative to ask to him/her co-sponsor the amendment to the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, HB #5556.

How to Contact a Michigan House Representative
First off, I personally thank all of you who have already contacted your legislative Reps!

A copy of the Draft Bill can be found at: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2009-HB-5556

A Legislative District map is available at: http://www.prb1michigan.org/id36.html

A list of Representatives for each district is available below. It includes district numbers, names, phone numbers and email addresses: http://house.michigan.gov/replist.asp

A Contact Letter Template is available at: http://www.prb1michigan.org/id18.html

Here Are the Steps to Follow

  1. Review the above linked draft Bill.
  2. Go to the above linked Legislative District Map. Identify, by the county that you live in, your House District Number.
  3. Go to the above linked List of House Reps, identify, by district number, your Rep’s name and e-mail address/phone number.
  4. Go to the above linked Legislative Contact Letter Template and get the Template in the format that you need for your word processor. Prepare your letter by addressing it to your Rep and adding you signature, address. Tailor the letter to your words as you see fit.
  5. Print and mail hardcopy letter or cut and paste the text of your letter into an email. Avoid attachments to e-mails.
  6. Send that letter/e-mail or make a call and express the content of your letter to the Rep’s staff.

It is critical that you now take the time to contact you Michigan House Rep and ask the Rep to support House Bill # 5556!

Senate Bill – Status
We have not been able to get a firm commitment of support from a Michigan Senator. Unfortunately, there is no Senator that is a ham. We are seeking support from several potential Sponsors, but thus far the response has been somewhat cold. It could be that Michigan’s budget issues are also precluding this body of government from considering our Bill. However, we continue to press our contacts.

If you have a solid connection with your Senator, we ask you to consider working directly with us to contact that Senator and solicit the Senator’s support for our Bill. If you would like to tackle this approach, please contact me for some sample letters and other supporting documents.

Funding
We are currently about $400 overspent. Individual monetary donations can be sent to Dale, WA8EFK at the following address:

Michigan ARRL PRB-1 Committee
291 Outer Drive
Dundee, MI 48131

If you are a leader of an Emergency Services organization, donations toward our effort can also be sent to the same address.

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