Antenna Masts - A Golden Opportunity for NSW Amateurs
The NSW Government is conducting a comprehensive review of the state’s planning laws. As this is the first review of NSW’s planning laws in 31 years, there is a golden opportunity here to strike a blow for Amateur Radio in NSW regarding controls and prohibitions on antenna masts.
Local councils across NSW have different requirements when it comes to amateurs who want to put up a mast. Councils generally regulate this sort of development through their Development Control Plan – or DCP. Some council DCPs allow certain masts to be erected without requiring a development application or building permit. Others require formal applications and permits.
The situation is not uniform across NSW. And should you, the amateur, enquire of a council about the regulations on radio masts, your experience is all too often frustrating and unhelpful. Council staff rarely knows or understands anything about amateur radio.
The NSW Government has appointed an independent Review Panel to conduct the Planning System Review, which is proceeding in three stages. The first stage is under way and will conclude in November. For this "listening and scoping" stage, the Panel is seeking input from stakeholders throughout the community and has invited written submissions from all interested parties.
The Review Panel is also holding public forums at many locations around NSW, in regional centres and across Sydney’s suburbs. Details are on a dedicated website accessible by clicking the following Link
The WIA urges individual amateurs and amateur radio clubs and societies across NSW to get involved and make submissions to the Planning System Review in an effort to improve the situation relating to antenna masts. The objective is to have a situation where amateurs living anywhere in NSW can install an antenna mast, up to a specified height that is reasonable, safe and effective, without having to go to the trouble, time and expense of applying for planning permission and permits from the local council. However, submissions would likely be more effective if they conveyed a common theme on amateurs’ requirements and points in support.
If many submissions suggest mast heights that are widely different, for example, or include technical details understood largely by amateurs and not planning bureaucrats, the real message about radio amateurs’ basic requirements on antenna masts will be confused or lost. To help the efforts of the NSW amateur radio community, the WIA has prepared some guidelines for preparing and sending written submissions. These are available for download below.
Specifically, the WIA suggests that submissions request that a ground mounted antenna mast of up to ten metres height be exempt from a planning or building permit, or if attached to a building, that the mast can extend up to five metres above the roof line without requiring a permit. Masts of up to fifteen metres should only require a simplified permit, based on given standards. The guidelines include basic information about amateur radio and arguments in support of amateur radio as a legitimate "ancillary use of domestic habitation".
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