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CCOC Decision Summary

#584-G, Old Georgetown Village Homeowners Association v. William Bevan (December 22, 2004) (Panel: McCabe, Neel, Perkins)

The homeowners association (HOA) filed a complaint against the homeowner (HO) claiming that at radio mast approximately 15 feet high on the roof of his townhome was a violation of the architectural rules of the community.  The HO, a ham radio operator, argued that the mast and antenna were used for television reception, and therefore was exempt under the U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996.

The panel held 2 hearings on the dispute.  At the second hearing, the HOA produced an antenna expert, who testified that the HO's antenna, while it might receive television signals from time to time, was designed primarily for the reception and transmission of radio signals, and was not designed for television signal reception, and could not receive television signals properly.  The HO also had a tv satellite dish mounted on his home, but this dish was permitted by the HOA.

On the basis of this expert testimony, the panel concluded that the antenna was not protected by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 Code of Federal Regulations, section 1.4000), because that law protected only television antennas and the masts used to support them.  The panel therefore also concluded that the radio antenna and mast were in violation of the HOA rules, and ordered the HO to remove them within 30 days.  The Order also stated that if the HO did not remove the antenna and mast, the HOA could do so and bill its costs to the HO.

Both parties requested the award of attorney's fees.  The panel denied both requests on the grounds that neither party met the requirements of Section 10B-13 of the Montgomery County Code.

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