Hastings Wireless: Zoning, FAA, and FCC Regulations

2003 Nov 30 - Brian Kloppenborg


In Business, everything is location, location, location. It seems to be the same when it comes to setting up a long-distance backbone. Due the airport behind Node 1, many zoning, FAA, and FCC regulations apply that are not otherwise applicable in other areas of town. We visited with the city engineers and zoning professionals to determine how much these regulations will limit our activities.


The first regulation we ran across dealt with height limitations. In Hastings, Nebraska no structure may exceed 25 percent of the principle structure. We had originally planned to put a tower up in the corner of Node 1’s lot, but it seems the airport wouldn’t be too pleased with that notion. Given that the principle structure located at Node 1 is a single story Ranch Style house with a maximum height of about 18 feet, we could only build a tower that would be 22.5 feet tall. We were hoping for something more like 30 feet so that we could clear a majority of the structures between Node 1 and Node 2.

I visited with the city engineer about the height restriction. He gave me one heck of a loophole. He stated that if, when he came out to do his survey, the principle structure was taller than normal, he could grant a higher height restriction. I asked him a hypothetical question that went something like this:

So if the house had an antenna mount that extended five feet above the roof line, would that be part of the principle structure?"

After thinking about it for a few seconds (and conferring with the local zoning guru) he concluded that the antenna mount would be part of the principle structure. Then I asked another hypothetical question:

So, if the house had, say a 20 foot telescoping antenna mount on it when you did your inspection, would the principle structure be 20 foot taller?

He smiled when he realized what I was going to do. He said, “What I see when I do my inspection is all I see.” He did warn me not to exceed the 35 foot height limitation placed on all residential districts in Hastings though.

Okay, that was awesome! I have basically been granted to put a pole atop my house so I can be granted the proper height clearance for my tower! But what about the airport? Unfortunately, the FAA has height restrictions as well since Node 1 is located on the side of an approach way. What is even worse is that these height restrictions are more stringent than those placed by the City of Hastings. After reviewing the application and time span for approval, I decided not to install a tower in my backyard however, I have included my design plans for reference for others who wish to install their own tower.


Regulations stink.