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City moves to alter ham antenna permit

City officials are reviewing documents from attorneys for Howard and Doris White about the dispute over a ham radio antenna at their home on Paseo Ladero.

City officials have notified them that they plan to revoke the permit for the 85-foot-high mast and antenna.

Initially approved in 2005 as a 7-square-foot antenna, when it was built it actually opened to 25 square feet prompting a neighbor to ask the city to review it.

Since then, city officials had asked the Whites to resubmit their permit, but to date they have not complied, said Robert Vacchi, Development Service Department deputy director.

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“We issued a permit for one thing and they built another,” Vacchi said.

When the Whites did not respond, the city notified them that they would revoke the permit.

Neither the Whites nor their attorney returned phone calls and e-mails about the city’s latest move.

Public hearings on the matter have been continued at least twice, said Vacchi, who is reviewing the new information from the Whites’ attorney.

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Once the city has reviewed the documentation, if the permit needs to be amended, the Whites will be given an opportunity to do so, Vacchi said.

“If they refuse, we just go ahead with the hearing,” he added.

The antenna has been a source of contention between the Whites and their neighbors for more than three years. More than 27 letters of complaint were sent to city officials, including one from Audrey Wohl, a nearby resident, who wears an implantable cardiac device that physicians have warned could be damaged in areas where high-frequency radio signals are emitted.

In a July 3 interview with The La Jolla Light about his ham radio hobby, White acknowledged the ongoing battle with neighbors, stating he was won several lawsuits because the rights of ham operators are protected under U.S. legislation.