Tower Time – Part 5 – Zoning variance application

Cass County Commission Zoning Review Board agenda
Excerpt from Cass County Commission Zoning Review Board agenda

When I embarked on this journey many months ago, the research performed by the staff at the zoning office found that the current codes permitted just a 35ft communications tower. Anything higher would require some sort of special request.

Resolution 14-57

This seemed a bit unreasonable so the zoning board approved Resolution 14-57 on Sept 11, 2014 which permits installation of Amateur Radio communication towers of up to 75ft with just a building permit. As I was unable to find the actual wording of the resolution online, I would check with the Zoning office for additional details.

If you have followed the tower saga to date you are already aware that 75ft will not get it done at my site. So I began to explore with the zoning department how to increase the limit to 110ft for my specific use case. Which as I explained in an email to the zoning department, was due to the topography surrounding my property and that under more nominal conditions the existing 75ft allowance would have met the need.

Variance process

The zoning department recommended the use of the variance process to request based on my site specific topographic issues, an extension to 110ft. In support of my filling I created a physical design model document (link below) to accompany my request. The intent of this document was to establish a sound engineering argument for approval.

Tower project (29.Sept.2014)

Zoning board meeting

The filing took me just a day or two to complete, getting it on the zoning review board schedule and the required public notice added a month to the schedule. In the mean time however I had a building permit with authorization to 75ft which allowed me to get the foundation underway.

The zoning review board meet on Nov 6th and with support from the zoning department the zoning variance application was approved.

Lessons learned

Do your due diligence and document the engineering which justifies the need. As without supporting documentation your request is just a want. Tie the request to a means which will ensure the effectiveness of the installation.

Next steps

  • Assemble the tower and schedule the crane!
  • Finish up the feedline system
  • Finish up the ground system

Until next time 73’s, Jay

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