Should Satellite Dish Eyesores be more regulated?

Big Ass Satelitte

“Dear PoPville,

Lately, I’ve been noticing satellites in people’s yards. Dish usually puts them on houses in out of the way locations. However, I’ve seen one Dish satellite in the middle of someone’s front yard and I just saw another one being installed like that the other day. The worst case I’ve seen is a huge satellite in Michigan Park. It’s about 8 feet wide and is definitely an eyesore. It looks pretty old and may even be functionally obsolete. I’m curious about whether these are legal and whether people think they should be more regulated. Things like a fence and a shed are regulated so why not satellite dishes? It seems like they should all be mounted out of view from the street unless that’s not possible for some reason.”

37 Comment

  • The Telecommunications Act of 1996 allows consumers to place satellite dishes on their property without restriction. It even displaces the covenants against dishes in some condominium bylaws. The rule was passed to increase competition.

  • jim_ed

    I’m terribly sorry other people’s choices for television service upset your delicate sense of taste, but no – people’s placement of satellite dishes aren’t for the city, or you for that matter, to decide.

  • Meh, of all things to be angry about, visible satellite dishes isn’t one of them. Just look away and move on. They often need to face a specific direction, and sometimes mounting them on rooftops or elsewhere can be a costly nightmare, or even completely impractical.

  • This reminds me of when we used to call satellite dishes “the state flower of West Virginia.”

  • This is a right that needs to be protected. And those big dishes can still be quite useful.

  • Maybe the whole block could pool their money and hire someone to paint a mural on it. Maybe get one of those weird roosters painted on it, or Barack Obama.

  • “I’m curious about whether these are legal”

    Who cares? It’s none of your GD business!

  • as Ludacris once said, “stay the f— up out my bizznass, my biznass, bcuz its mine all mine”

  • What’s next, complaining that a neighbor’s door isn’t painted one of three pre-approved “tasteful” shades of beige?

  • $10 says our OP works for Comcast or RCN.

  • More regulation over private space is exactly what DC needs.

  • Please stop trying to turn DC into a suburb.

    • Do suburbs have strict satellite dish regulations? Serious question.

      • Emmaleigh504

        some with strict HOA do.

      • Homeowners associations tend to, yes, but per the Telecom Act of 1996 that Pcat mentioned above, these regulations are usually non-compliant with federal law. If your satellite dish is under 1 meter in diameter, then legally you cannot be prohibited from installing, maintaining, or using it no matter what kind of neighborhood you live in.

        • The one in the photo appears to be over a meter in diameter.

          • Yup, but my guess is that it’s legal because there are no laws in DC regulating the size of satellite dishes. Whether or not there should be such a law is another matter.

          • The one above is not in an HOA. It’s on a normal DC block in Michigan Park (I’ve driven by it). And I don’t think DC has any regulations on satellite dish placement or size so long as it’s on private property.

      • jim_ed

        Maybe not regulations on satellite dishes specifically, but it fits the mold of what you could reasonably expect from a suburban HOA.

  • This photo makes me want to say yes. But, on the other hand, I chose where I live partly because there is no HOA.

  • There seems to be a trend to bring a suburban mindset into DC these past couple of years. It’s none of my business what my neighbor wants to put on his lawn.

  • If this is your biggest problem I’m jealous of you. If you don’t like it don’t look at it. You’ll be okay.

  • “It looks pretty old and may even be functionally obsolete.” LOL, you have quite actually no idea what you’re talking about. Move along, move along.

  • Lately, I’ve been noticing some people need to mind their own damn business.

  • While I agree with the majority here, I am very surprised at the harsh tone towards the OP. Half of the ‘from the forum’ posts are about being in people’s business yet none of them have been ridiculed this harshly.

    • I totally agree! Usually people get so worked up about things like a preference for chain link over wood for fences. I don’t see this as very different.

    • Agreed with “I am very surprised at the harsh tone towards the OP. Half of the ‘from the forum’ posts are about being in people’s business yet none of them have been ridiculed this harshly.”

    • +1. Seems like people have some Thursday afternoon frustration to vent and it’s coming out here for no good reason.

  • I’m surprised at all of these strong opinions opposite the OP’s.
    I’d say the enormous satellite dish pictured in the photo is an anomaly in D.C., but if I were a neighbor, I wouldn’t be too thrilled about it either.
    The smaller-size dishes that are more common these days strike me as less of a big deal… but they tend to detract from houses’ appearance when mounted on the front. Someone once pointed this out in a GDoN, and I’m also thinking of a house in my neighborhood that has five or six dishes mounted on a single porch roof.
    From other posts, it sounds as though the telecommunications industry managed to push protection for unrestricted dish placement into law, so it doesn’t sound as though there’s any recourse for people who are unhappy with them.

  • I hear a very resonnt “NO.” This is probably the most agreement I’ve ever seen in any Popville post!

  • My neighbor has a circular dish on his roof that is comically large, maybe 10 feet wide. It looks like some sort of missile prevention dish hiding out in a residential neighborhood. It doesn’t bother me. Just makes me chuckle.

  • Is that particular one in the picture for this post a little silly? Yes.
    Does it look like the homeowner is compensating? Yes.
    Is it illegal? No.

    Despite all the harsh responses, I am glad the person posted this because it is educational for everyone. There are likely HOAs that would try and claim it is illegal, hoping that the person asking wouldn’t bother to check up. This little bit of knowledge can be used to prove otherwise.

  • Google “Television-receive only”
    These big dishes are still useful. Not very useful, but they do serve a purpose.

  • I remember the time it was cool to show off your satellite dish. Not it’s as shameful as a VHS player…

  • Wow, way to broadcast “low-rent.”

    Gotta have your tee vee, through! If you don’t read, and have no friends, and have to sit, what else you gonna do? Casinos?

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