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SOUTH AFRICAN AMATEUR RADIO LEAGUE. April 2013. A basic explanation of antennas used by amateur radio operators. 1. Introduction. The following applies to antennas: Building regulations; Zoning scheme regulations;

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south african amateur radio league

SOUTH AFRICAN AMATEUR RADIO LEAGUE

April 2013

A basic explanation of antennas used by amateur radio operators

1 introduction
1. Introduction

The following applies to antennas:

  • Building regulations;
  • Zoning scheme regulations;
  • Other relevant legislation, pertaining to the obtaining of planning approval from local authorities for antennas used by amateur radio operators.
2 we have a problem why
2. We have a PROBLEMWhy?
  • New zoning scheme regulations being implemented by various municipalities throughout South Africa.
  • Restrict the erection of amateur radio operator’s antennas in residential areas zoned as such.
short legislative history
Short Legislative History
  • The Constitution of the RSA, allows that municipal planning may be done in terms of by-laws promulgated by local authorities.
  • The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 1977 (Act No. 103 of 1977) and the Regulations in terms of the Act provide for local authorities to determine when planning authority is needed or not.
ct v jhb
CT v JHB
  • A study of the Cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg’s Zoning Scheme regulations gives an overview of how local authorities approach the obtaining by amateur radio operators of planning approval for the erection of a Freestanding Base Telecommunication Station and RoofAntennas.
different regulations apply to
Different Regulations apply to:
  • Rooftop Antennas
  • Freestanding Base Antennas

The regulations distinguish between primary and consent use.

rooftop base
ROOFTOP BASE
  • Rooftop base telecommunication station may not extend more than 3m in height above the part of the building that it is attached to.
  • Should it extend more than the permitted 3m, prior approval of the City of Cape Town is required.
freestanding base
FREESTANDING BASE
  • If a freestanding base telecommunication station is authorized as a primary use on a property, the freestanding base telecommunication station may be as high as 25m. (City of Cape Town)
  • Environmental affairs however kicks in for antennas higher than 15m.
definition of antenna ito zoning scheme regulations
Definition of antenna ito Zoning Scheme Regulations

‘Antenna’ is defined as ‘any system of wires, poles, rods, reflective surfaces or similar devices, used to transmit or receive electronic communication signals or electro – magnetic waves’.

definition of rooftop telecommunication station ito zoning scheme regulations
Definition of ‘rooftop telecommunication station’ ito Zoning Scheme Regulations
  • Rooftop telecommunication station is defined as ‘ a support structure attached to the roof, side or any other part of a building and used to accommodate telecommunication infrastructure for the transmitting or receiving of electronic communication signals’.
telecommunication infrastructure ito zoning scheme regulations
‘Telecommunication infrastructure’ ito Zoning Scheme Regulations
  • telecommunication infrastructure is defined as ‘part of the infrastructure of a telecommunication network for radio wireless communication, including voice, data and video telecommunication, which may include antennas; and any support structure, equipment room, radio equipment or optical communications equipment (laser or infra-red)provided by cellular network operators and any other telecommunication provider; as well as ancillary structures needed for the operation of telecommunication infrastructure.’
telecommunication stations primary use
TELECOMMUNICATION STATIONS - PRIMARY USE

Zoning

  • In terms of the Zoning scheme Regulations , telecommunication stations may only be erected in certain zones – RESIDENTIAL ZONES ARE NOT LISTED UNDER THESE ZONES.
consent use rooftop base
CONSENT USE – ROOFTOP BASE
  • Rooftop base telecommunication stations may only be erected as a CONSENT USE in the following residential zones:
  • Single Residential: Zone 1 and Zone 2
  • General Residential: Zone 1 (Group Housing)
  • General Residential Subzones: (GR2 to GR6)
freestanding base telecommunication station
FREESTANDING BASETELECOMMUNICATION STATION
  • Freestanding base telecommunication station may only be erected as a primary use in certain zones:
  • RESIDENTIAL ZONES are not listed under these zones.
consent use freestanding base
CONSENT USE – FREESTANDING BASE
  • Freestanding base telecommunication station may only be erected as a CONSENT use in certain zones:
  • RESIDENTIAL ZONES are also not one of these zones.
freestanding base restrictions
FREESTANDING BASE - restrictions
  • FREESTANDING BASE Telecommunication stations may therefore NOT BE ERECTED in the following zones:
  • Single Residential Zone 1: Conventional Housing.
  • Single Residential Zone 2: Incremental Housing.
  • General Residential Subzones 1: Group Housing.
  • General Residential Subzones: Gr2 to Gr6.
effect on amateur radio operators
EFFECT ON AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS
  • An amateur radio operator will not be able to erect a freestanding base telecommunication station on any property zoned for residential purposes.
  • Unless you rezone to an appropriate zone
effect on amateur radio operators1
EFFECT ON AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS
  • An owner of a property zoned as residential, will not be able to apply for a departure to erect a freestanding amateur radio antenna, as the land use of the property does not permit such a use.
  • Departures from the restriction to 3m of the height of the rooftop base communication station can however be applied for, should the land use allow the erection of such a communication station.
heritage protection
HERITAGE PROTECTION
  • The erection of a rooftop base communication station and a Freestanding Base Telecommunication Station will necessitate a permit application should the property be older than 60 years or formally protected in terms of section 27 of the National Heritage Resources Act.
johannesburg zoning scheme regulations
JOHANNESBURG ZONING SCHEME REGULATIONS
  • A Freestanding Base Telecommunication Station is presently viewed as a ‘building’ for the purposes of the Act.
johannesburg zoning scheme regulations1
JOHANNESBURG ZONING SCHEME REGULATIONS
  • Plans of ‘buildings’ should be submitted to and approved prior to the erection of a ‘building’.
  • This process includes the applicable Building Control Officer making recommendation to the local authority.
johannesburg zoning scheme regulations2
JOHANNESBURG ZONING SCHEME REGULATIONS

The local authority:

  • Must take into account: nature or appearance
  • Whether the area will be disfigured;
  • Is it unsightly or objectionable;
  • could it derogate from the value of adjoining or neighboring properties;

then the local authority shall refuse to grant approval.

national building regulations
National Building Regulations
  • allow for the exemption of ‘minor building works’
  • exemption of authorisation for erection thereof.
scheme regulations
SCHEME REGULATIONS
  • The building control officer can exempt an owner of any building.

Suggestion: maybe a Freestanding Base Telecommunication Station could be a minor building work.

  • Section 18 of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 1977 stipulates when a local authority may allow deviation and allow exemption from national building regulations.
policies in place
POLICIES IN PLACE
  • Both the City of Cape Town and the City of Johannesburg have Cellular Mast Policies in place.
  • Cape Town in its draft dated January 2011 sets out a cumbersome process for applicants to follow.
  • The main objective being to have the cellular masts at least 50m away from any habitable building.
policies in place1
POLICIES IN PLACE
  • Johannesburg however, sees Cellular Masts as part of infrastructure and as such tries to be accommodating towards the Cellular industry.
  • Both policies however: does not cater for the amateur radio operator, and is therefore not accommodating such operators.
summary
SUMMARY
  • A freestanding amateur radio antenna is considered a “building” in terms of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 1977.
  • Approved building plans is therefore required before an amateur radio antenna may be erected.
summary1
SUMMARY
  • Freestanding amateur radio antennas cannot be erected in any area zoned for residential purposes. (City of Cape Town)
  • No distinction between an amateur radio antenna and a cellular mast erected for commercial purposes in the Zoning Scheme Regulations of either Cape Town or Johannesburg.
  • Both cities have ‘Cellular Mast Policies’ but neither is applicable nor practical for the erection of an amateur radio antenna.
summary2
SUMMARY
  • If a local authority accepts that a freestanding amateur radio antenna falls under the definition of ‘minor building works’ as defined in the National Building Regulations, the building control officercan be approached to exempt an owner of any ‘building‘ from submitting plans.
  • Should a local authority not deem freestanding amateur radio antennas as ‘minor building works’, the local authority can be approached to grant an exemption to the building regulations. This exemption will not include strength specifications or the stability of the antenna structure.
summary3
SUMMARY

We must for the time being:

  • apply for exemption to either the building control officer or the local authority.

The way forward:

  • The Minister can be approached to exempt an owner (Who is also a radio amateur)of land from the provisions of such applicable national building regulations.
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