Need Info On Antenna Issues In Minneapolis Area
Q: I am planning to move to the western suburbs of Minneapolis soon, and would like to know if there are any communities that I should specifically "look at" or "avoid" due to restrictions on ham radio antennas or other issues. Even apart from ham radio issues, I prefer rural to urban, but commute time to the areas on the west side of downtown is an issue preventing me from being too far out. Mound is probably the western limit of what I am willing to consider. Right now I am looking at Mound, Champlin, and Maple Grove. My realtor is generally helpful, but amateur radio is a mystery to her and I do not think she is used to getting such requests. Give me some advices please?
A: First off, you need the services of a good *real estate* attorney. Not just any lawyer will do; you need someone who does RE as a specialty and who deals with CC&Rs (codes, covenants and restrictions) on a daily basis. Make sure the attorney understands that his/her job is to dig up any and all restrictions on any property you might be interested in *before* you sign anything. Second, require that you and your attorney be provided with a complete and up-to-date set of the deed, title and all covenants and deed restrictions *before* you make an offer, and read them thoroughly. Sometimes they are part of the deed/title itself but often they are not. States differ widely and you may need to be a bit insistent on what you want to see. Almost all properties built in the past 40-50 years have some sort of restrictions, and those built in the last 30 years often have lots and lots of restrictions of various types. Note that most restrictions are intentionally designed to be *impossible* to change, and that by signing on the dotted line you agree to abide by *all* of them. Third, try to educate the realtor. Show her some typical amateur antenna installations so she has a better idea of what it is you want to put up. Terms like "antenna tower" mean different things to different people. Fourth, realize that most but not all of the people involved in a real estate transaction only get paid if you actually buy a house. No sale = no comission/fees/taxes. In my case the realtor and attorney were able to get me a complete copy of the restrictions fairly easily. They were *not* part of the deed/title documents - instead, those documents referred to the restrictions, which had to be retrieved from the county courthouse records. I had to ask specifically to see them early on in the transaction - if I hadn't insisted, I would never have seen them at all. Until somebody complained. Even though my house is over 50 years old and there has never been any sort of home owner's association, there were a page and a half of restrictions. Most of them seem a bit comical today (no raising livestock on a property that is 60 x 120 feet) or have been superseded by more-restrictive township ordinances (setbacks, advertising signage, noise). No mention of antennas but I can't have a freestanding tower (or a shed) with a concrete base because that would constitute a "structure" and only the house and garage structures are permitted. Doesn't matter to me because there's no room for a tower anyway but that's the sort of thing to look for.