FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT LIAISON..
Village of Swanton Antenna Decision Appealed..
On February 4 the Village of Swanton filed a notice of appeal, appealing the decision of the Fulton County Common Pleas Court in the case of Wodtke v. Village of Swanton. The case is the first court case that we are aware of involving application of Ohio’s new antenna legislation, H.B. 158 (129th General Assembly). The Trial Court ordered the approval of an application to the village by Gary Wodtke, WW8N, for approval of an antenna variance. The Village denied the application and Mr. Wodtke appealed that decision to the Fulton County Common Pleas Court. The Court ruled in Mr. Wodtke’s favor and the Village is now appealing that order. In the docketing statement filed with the Court of Appeals the Village asserts four potential issues to be argued in the appeal, including whether Revised Code Section 5502.031, enacted by H.B. 158, is constitutional and whether it was constitutionally applied in this case.
Ohio law grants a right of appeal from final decisions of a common pleas court. The decision here is appealed to the Sixth District Court of Appeals, headquartered in Toledo. The appellate process involves first, filing the record of proceedings in the common pleas court, then briefs of each of the parties and, finally, a brief oral argument to the court. Appellate decisions are heard by a three judge panel that is usually designated near the time for oral argument. Decisions normally take a number of months after oral argument. Appellate decisions are generally final, unless further review is granted by the Ohio Supreme Court. While a court of appeals decision represents the law only in that appellate district, it carries significant precedential value in other Ohio courts and may also be cited in similar cases in other states.
Mr. Wodtke is represented by Toledo attorney Carey Cooper and by Fred Hopengarten, K1VR a noted authority on zoning and amateur radio antenna issues. ARRL leadership at the national level is also aware of the appeal. Scott Yonally, Ohio Section Manager and Jim Weaver, Great Lakes Division Director have enlisted support from the ARRL. In my discussion with League General Counsel, Chris Imlay, W3KD, it appears that the leadership of the League views this appeal as being one of precedential significance, not only for Ohio amateurs, but also for amateurs in other states that have passed state versions of FCC regulation PRB-1.
Discussions are ongoing regarding various ways to help bring this appeal to a successful conclusion. We will keep you informed as further developments occur.
source: Nick, K8NAP