Antennae and community associations revisited


The story about a couple who installed an antenna on their townhouse roof despite the refusal of the local homeowner’s association to grant permission generated a surprising amount of interest among our readers. Here’s a bit more on the story.

One RBR-TVBR correspondent thought that the FCC rules regarding the placement of a private broadcast or satellite antenna should be made readily available so television operators are in a position to assist viewers when conflicts arise.

The rule in question is Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule, 47 C.F.R. § 1.4000. The FCC says it is designed “to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States . . . a rapid, efficient, nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.”
Here is the FCC summary of how the rule works:

“The Rule applies to antennas that are one meter or less in diameter, or any size in Alaska, and designed to receive or transmit direct broadcast satellite services; antennas that are one meter or less in diagonal measurement and designed to receive or transmit video programming services through multipoint distribution services, including multichannel multipoint distribution services, instructional television fixed services, and local multipoint distribution services; and antennas designed to receive television broadcast signals.  For the Rule to apply, the antenna must be installed ‘on property within the exclusive use or control of an antenna user where the user has a direct or indirect ownership or leasehold interest in the property.’ The Rule does not apply to restrictions on installations in common areas. The Rule provides that a restriction impairs installation, maintenance, or use of a protected antenna if it: (1) unreasonably delays or prevents installation, maintenance, or use; (2) unreasonably increases the cost of installation, maintenance, or use; or (3) precludes reception of an acceptable quality signal. There are exceptions to the Rule for restrictions necessary to address valid and clearly articulated safety or historic preservation issues, provided such restrictions are as narrowly tailored as possible, impose as little burden as possible, and apply in a nondiscriminatory manner throughout the regulated area.”

Finally, the FCC puts the burden of proof on the would-be denier: “The Rule provides that parties who are affected by antenna restrictions may petition the Commission to determine if the restrictions are permissible or prohibited by the Rule. The Rule places the burden of demonstrating that a challenged restriction complies with the Rule on the party seeking to impose the restriction.”