By John F. Harris
The Washington Post
Max Parsons has no doubt where his satellite dish will go after today, the deadline he has been given by a community organization to remove the device from his property: absolutely nowhere.
“This is a matter of principle.” Parsons said. “I’m a big boy. I know the consequences.”
The consequences will very likely be a lawsuit.
In September, the Architectural Review Board of Franklin Farm, the planned community where Parsons lives in western Fairfax County, gave Parsons 30 days to remove the satellite dish that he keeps on his lawn hidden inside a Picnic table umbrella to capture signals for up to 150 television channels. H.L. MacPherson III, an attorney for Franklin Farm, said yesterday that if the satellite dish, dubbed “the electronic umbrella,” Is not gone by today, the community will sue Parsons to remove it.
The controversy began shortly after Parsons installed the dish in July. Many Franklin Farm residents complained that the satellite dish was ugly and in violation of the community’s ordinances. The review board agreed.
Parsons said he is prepared to take a second job or a second mortgage on his house, if need be, to fight the order that would prevent him from enjoying the wide variety of programming that he has come to love since buying the satellite dish. He said he would attempt to recover his losses in a counter suit.
But both MacPherson and James C. Brincefield Jr., Parsons’ attorney, said they are hoping a compromise can be reached, without going to court, In which Parsons could keep his dish in a way more esthetically pleasing to neighbors.
Should cooperation be impossible, however, Parsons vowed that he would not be on the losing side. If a court forces him to remove the umbrella, he said he would buy a portable satellite dish to keep an top of his station wagon, with a wire running inside to his home.
“There are certainly ways in which an ingenious mind, which certainly Mr. Parsons has, could get around [the ordinance],” said MacPherson.
Reprinted from The Washington Post, Friday, October 4, 1985.