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REAL ESTATE AND THE LAW : TV Satellite Antenna Ordinance Challenged

June 20, 1993|Special to The Times

Wayne and Judy desired to install a TV satellite receive-only antenna in their back yard. They applied with the city for a permit that was denied because their antenna would exceed the ordinance's 10-foot height limit.

Instead of reducing the height of their planned antenna, Wayne and Judy sued the city to challenge the ordinance. They argued regulations of the Federal Communications Commission preempt the field and their constitutional rights of free speech are infringed by this ordinance. The city argued the ordinance is a valid restriction for the benefit of the community regulating height, screening and setback requirements.

If you were the judge would you rule the city's TV satellite receive-only antenna ordinance is valid?

The judge said yes.

The FCC regulates communications, but does not completely preempt the field, the judge explained. When a local city ordinance is reasonable as to time, place and manner, it can co-exist with FCC rules, he emphasized.

Since Wayne and Judy can comply with the city's TV satellite antenna ordinance by reducing the height of their antenna to 10 feet, the ordinance does not interfere with their constitutional rights and it is enforceable by the city, the judge ruled.

Based on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Johnson vs. City of Pleasanton, 982 Fed.2d 350.

(C) 1993 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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