I'm thinking of buying a property that was once the sight for a local
dish satellite system. My first concern is liability, although it seems
very well built and there is no rust through the galvanized tubing.
It's 100' tall in 5 20' sections with three cables at 3 places around
the tower, total of 9 cables. A view from the top would look like a
triangle, each side about 3' and it appears to be the same size from the
top to the bottom.
I did just find a fairly close sign company with a 120' crane, but today
is sunday so I can't call. I don't know what the tower would cost,
maybe someone would take it for free if they take it down? Maybe it's
If it gets expensive I think I could topple the thing one direction
where it is far from any buildings or trees. It actually looks easy
using the cables but that also sounds like a story for the Darwin awards.
Any suggestions appreciated. I thought of renting out antenna space but
I figure it would already be done if anyone was interested.
Looking for suggestions of things to ask or research that I may not
think of. I guess i could leave 20 or 40 feet there and put a TV
antenna on it!
First thing, try to sell it. craigslist, ebay, whatever. It's free money.
If no one will buy it, consider it, like you say, for your own TV antenna.
If not, just drop it, and sell the steel.
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Put a wind turbine generator on the top and call yourself "green". Place
your TV antenna a bit further down the tower. Place a netcam or two up
near the top of the tower for some nice views.
Also, it should not cost very much to have the tower inspected by a
tower service company in your area to ensure it is in good condition and
the guys are properly tensioned.
That's the key word here, indeed. If the surrounding property is now
zoned for residential and there are houses within the radius it could
hit your insurance agent will definitely have an interest in rates for
that potential you'll need to consider.
One would, as you've alluded to, presume if there were any interest in
the site for either continuing satellite or other usage it is highly
unlikely a usable tower wouldn't be in use. I'd certainly want to find
out whether there's even any possibility of it being used for that
purpose; I'd suspect probably the reason it isn't being used now is that
zoning regulations have changed that forced them to go elsewhere and
that it wouldn't be allowed for cell or other use having once been
abandoned. And, of course, even if it were potentially allowed, then
you would be in a commercial venture and have that level of liability as
opposed to simply a homeowner.
I'd think it could easily cost as much or more to re-rig the support
guys for a shorter height as it would to dismantle it entirely and I'd
also expect there to be no commercial demand for it or somebody would
have already taken it. It's one of those things where the overhead in
taking it down and moving it and re-erecting it elsewhere would be far
more than new construction in very high likelihood.
Unless the land had real other value and can be got for much less than
the removal cost or there is some other reason the particular site has
other value I'd surely be thinking twice't and more and probably pass on
this nuisance. It surely needs some expert research at a minimum on
local conditions regarding the limitations in future use either personal
or commercial and what, if any, maintenance obligations come with it
that the current owner must pass on or are statutory by various
jurisdictions. I've no clue, just cautionary. Unless I were certain I
was going to have it removed, I'd want a current engineering evaluation
of condition, not just a look-see of my own as can imagine such would be
required for liability coverage as well as simply wanting to know didn't
All in all sounds like trouble _I_ don't need... :)
First off, if it's an existing structure, it is grandfathered into any
The fact that it's not currently in use means little. Based on what is
mentioned about it's prior use, it was likely a CARS band relay site for
a cable system which has simply been obsoleted by a fiber optic upgrade
of the cable system. A cable system I used to work for had two such
leased sites, and retired both when they did a full system rebuild /
upgrade which replaced the old CARS band microwave links with fiber.
The fact that some other use has not been made of the tower could relate
to numerous things, such as the expiration of the lease for the site,
the property owner not investigating a new lease with a different
company, location, and cellular operators already having adequate tower
space in the area. 100' is also pretty low for cell towers.
As for the possibility of the tower falling down, that is pretty
unlikely unless the tower has been out of service and maintenance for a
*long* time. The cost to have the tower inspected by a qualified tower
company is not that much and they can give an accurate report on any
issues, and what future maintenance might be needed. Also guyed towers
*do not* simply fall over unless they are deliberately sabotaged. If a
guyed tower fails for some reason, they will fall within an area about
30% of the tower's height, which means for a 100' tower, it would not
fall more than 30' or so from it's base. The tower manufacturer's
engineers can provide documentation of this, and have done so for at
least one person I know of.
You might investigate leasing tower space to an Internet MDS company if
they are common in the area. They provide Internet service to consumers
via short haul microwave links and often locate their antennas on water
towers and similar lower structures. A lease agreement could provide for
annual tower maintenance and free Internet service. You would also still
be able to put up a wind generator, etc. if you wanted.
Maybe. maybe not. Depending on how the law reads, change use can
kill off the grandfather. Say, if this one was put up pre-zoning (or was
an appropriate use at the time) for Ham radio or TV. But they want to
change it to something like a cell tower, that might not be gf. Also
might depend on when the law was changed. If the original use had
already been abandoned by the time the law took effect, then it would
not necessarily still be available.
The folks in Marathon, Fl, for instance are battling this. There
was a structure that had housed a strip joint. It had closed about 18
months before a law was passed putting adult entertainment in a new
zoning category. The owner of the building wants to restart the strip
joint as grandfathered and Marathon says you were closed at the time of
the zoning change and it isn't a continuing use. So far, Marathon is
ahead on points in the courts (grin).
I want to find a voracious, small-minded predator
and name it after the IRS.
Precisely, can't tell but one would certainly want to know for sure for
the specific site/municipality...
Again, it's nuts to not ask or explore all contingencies _before_ it
becomes a legally binding responsibility regardless of whether one
thinks any one particular item might be a remote occurrence. There's
not enough info in the posting to do anything specific; I simply made
some conjectures of at least a few possibilities I could foresee.
In short here's a definite case of caveat emptor...
When I was younger, I could climb the darn things and would have loved
to have owned an elevated piece of property with such a tower. I could
have so much fun hanging antennas on something like that for all of my
mad scientist RF experiments.
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