BIDDEFORD – A federally licensed amateur radio operator said he plans to sue the city for harassment in regards to a radio tower he was forced to remove. Adams Street resident Karl Reed said the city violated his First Amendment rights and failed to give him due process when it threatened to fine his landlord $2,500 a day if the tower was not removed.
Reed, whose FCC call number is KB1NZQ, claims that federally licensed amateur radio operators are exempt from zoning ordinances as long as the towers used are less than 35 feet in height.
“Federal laws supersede these state and zoning rules,” Reed said.
Director of Code Enforcement and Emergency Management Roby Fecteau said the exemption Reed speaks of is only an exemption to the city’s telecommunications ordinance and it does not constitute an exemption from other ordinances, including permitting requirements to build structures and compliance with historical district standards.
Fecteau said FCC guidelines for amateur radio operators also require that local approval be granted.
According to city documents, at least three complaints have been filed with the city related to Reed’s radio tower. On Oct. 5, Reed’s neighbor, Mark Greenlaw, filed a complaint, stating, “safety of children and elderly is a concern.” Another neighbor, John Newman of Washington Street, filed a report on Oct. 9, complaining that Reed’s tower was tethered by a wire to Newman’s fence. A third complaint was filed on Dec. 23 by South Street resident Stephen Dow, stating Reed never obtained proper permits for the tower….READ MORE
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