© 2004 Updated: 9/21/04


Jefferson County Commissioner Hearing - July 1, 2003
9am-10pm - Rezoning for Lake Cedar Group Supertower

Lake Cedar Group presentation • July 1, 2003, 9:30 am

Marv Rockford, Fred Niehaus and Peter McNally presented Lake Cedar Group’s proposal to remove three, 50-year-old, nonconforming towers and industrial buildings on residential zoned land. LCG wants 81 acres rezoned for a 730-foot tower, at 6900 feet altitude, to “consolidate” analog & digital antennas and equipment for Denver TV Channels 4, 7, 9 and 20. LCG stations 4, 7, and 9 now occupy residential zoned lots that collectively total 5.57 acres. This the fifth attempt for the Chicago based owner of Channel 20 to rezone 75 agriculture-zoned acres contiguous with the Channel 4 tower. The Channel 20 antenna operates on the 300-feet Mt. Morrison tower.

Three-inch diameter guy wires, strung as far as 3000 feet, would secure the new tower. LCG offered to monitor Class A (broadcast) RF interference problems for one year. No assistance was offered for Class B interference with consumer electronics—telephone, radio, recorders, computers and all “wireless” systems for communication, computer linking, auto locks, etc. The expense of shielding electronic equipment from radio frequency radiation (RFR) is the responsibility of residents, institutions (including hospitals and health clinics) and businesses.

Rockford claimed, “Except for Mother Cabrini Shrine, RF will be reduced. Every level of government agrees that these RF exposures are not harmful.” The cumulative RF from 44 other existing antenna towers on residential Lookout Mountain was not discussed. LCG visual simulations do not show the existing 47 towers or 1500 family homes on Lookout. More than 1000 RF devices operating on Lookout produce an adverse impact on 30,000 residents and businesses within a two-mile radius.

Rentals would fill 80% of tower and building space. LCG wants a 20,000 square foot industrial building on the east face of Lookout Mountain. The average television stations uses less than 1000 square feet for both analog and digital equipment. The tower would be 10 feet wide and devices (microwave dishes, satellites, two-way antennas) would extend horizontally as far as 10-feet on all sides, producing a visual impact of 30-feet wide.

LCG consultants used half of their 90-minute presentation attempting to discredit their citizen “opponents” who “will not compromise” and are “scaring people.” One of LCG’s many irrational claims was that “Shelton Elementary School would not be exposed to any more RF than any school in Aurora.”

The consultants stated that the Jeffco health department and consulting RF engineer approved their proposal. They claimed Bear Creek Development towers on Mount Morrison at 7,800 altitude and Squaw Mountain Communications at 10,800 feet altitude are not acceptable alternatives. Rockford claimed 250,000 JeffCo residents would not receive DTV from Squaw Mountain. Several LCG consultants claimed that frequency conflicts require certain antenna sites without admitting that the FCC changes frequency allocations upon request of stations. They did not mention that the FCC has responded to frequency conflict problems by reassigning spectrum for one-third of DTV allocations.

Jefferson County staff presentation • July 1, 2003, 11:00 am

County planner Susan Wood presented an overview and answered many basic questions asked by County Commissioners Sheehan, Lawrence and Holloway. Wood said the Zoning Administrator Tim Carl stated that the old towers must be removed when analog television ends. Single-channel analog TV is not the “same service” as multi-channel digital TV of higher frequencies requiring millions more watts to send the signals.

Planning staff has determined that two alternative sites, Mt. Morrison and Squaw Mountain, are available for the applicant” the LCG proposal does not comply with JeffCo land use plans and regulations in regard to visual siting, engineering, interference, health concerns and compatibility with adjacent residential use.

JeffCo’s RF consultant Jim Hart provided elementary information about nonionizing radiation as similar to “a microwave oven.” He said “Broadcast can be adapted to any of the sites” All front range antenna tower sites will work and all need boosters” to serve the 20% of viewers who receive signals over-the-air. He also said some residences and historic sites on Lookout would be exposed to higher levels of radiation. He said digital cannot be operated at full power on Denver high rise buildings because it “would radiate people in adjacent buildings.”

After a lunch break from 12:30 to 1:30 pm, JeffCo Health and Environment director Dr. Mark Johnson gave a 30-minute “risk to benefit ratio” presentation. Johnson is recovering from removal of a brain tumor. His office is exposed to the towers near the Beverley Heights neighborhood in Golden that has a significant number of brain cancers related to RF. He admitted that the radiation does damage chromosomes and fragments DNA but some studies found no health problems. “The EPA is satisfied with the FCC standards,” Johnson said. Although he admitted there is a need for more research, Johnson ended his presentation by supporting ALARA, a recommendation of scientists worldwide, “As Low As Reasonably Allowable.” The staff report ended at 2:30 pm, one hour behind schedule.

CARE presentation • July 1, 2003, 2:30 - 7:30 pm

CARE Attorney Deb Carney began by asking volunteers to unroll a petition of 3,350 signatures to deny the “Supertower.” Citizens stood at various places in the hearing room with signs of printed addresses where more radiation would occur—Mother Cabrini Shrine, Mountsfield Drive, Riva Chase, John Medved’s home above Grapevine Road, etc. She presented a large poster of an area map with an overlay of radiation impact.

Carney presented the basic reasons to deny the rezoning—visual impact, RF interference with consumer & business electronics, health concerns, and availability of alternative sites. She informed the Commissioners that the proposed “directional” antenna patterns can be changed (preempted) by the FCC. “Anything less than 360 degrees is directional.”

Carney showed the difference between the existing 5-feet wide Channel 4 tower that would be removed and the 10-feet wide plus 10-feet on each side tower proposed by LCG. Carney asked the Commissioners to look through hearing room windows into the lobby where citizens held a 30-foot width sheet of black plastic to demonstrate the proposed width of the tower. Commissioner Lawrence asked LCG to replace all the existing towers on their sculpture model that had been removed during their presentation.

Carney said, “The burden of proof that this is not harmful is with the applicant, not the citizens.” Four previous tower proposals on this exact land have been denied by County Commissioners as incompatible with residential use in 1983, 1985, 1990, and 1999. “How can something that was incompatible now be compatible” Do we have fewer people” Fewer businesses” Less RF interference” Less health effects” No, we have more of all of those things.”

She explained that Canyon Area Residents for the Environment (CARE) represents 9,000 citizens who believe the proposed rezoning is contrary to the zoning resolution, county telecommunications plan, Central Mountains Community Plan, and JeffCo Open Space preservation of the Mountain Backdrop. “In 1990, the county clearly indicated the desire to end the antenna towers as rapidly as possible to conform with Colorado Supreme Court decisions on nonconforming land use. In 1999, LCG claimed they could not add DTV to their existing nonconforming towers. Now they say the towers will remain forever” on nonconforming residential land” “

“The property rights of surrounding land owners suffer from adverse impact of nonconforming use” (which) reduces effectiveness of zoning and contributes to urban blight” Citizens never had the opportunity to participate in allowing those towers to be in their community” Citizens believe their property rights are being violated by this industrial pollution of the historic residential area. CARE is willing to wait for removal of the towers when analog service ends,” Carney testified.

She showed photos of the towers taken from the West and South at homes higher than tower base altitudes. “Hundreds of homes are in the main beam” the towers must be removed.” In response to Sheehan asking if Carney understood that RF would go down or up, she said, “Rising RF levels are admitted in LCG’s proposal” “It would be a miracle to add more megawatts and not gain more Effective Radiated Power.”

Carney directed the Commissioners to observe citizen engineer Jim Martin demonstrat before and after power levels by turning on one light (for existing) and an extremely bright light for proposed levels at the back of the hearing room.

Property values are affected by documented or perceived health problems. RF interference is a nuisance to the entire community. “People are spending thousands of dollars to mitigate the RF. Excessive RF reduces the legal right to live in peaceful possession of our homes without fear of a reckless neighbor destroying our health.”

She reminded the Commissioners that the FCC is not a health agency. “You will be hearing many physicians testify about the biological effects” from exposure at 5% MPE (Maximum Permissible Exposure) or lower. As Americans, we are entitled to have a say to what levels of radiation exposure is allowed into our homes. We know of no other instance where a drug would be forced on people without proof of its safety.” The CSU study began in 2002 in spite of LCG lobbying against the state legislature endorsement for more research in 1999.

CARE 10-minute video

The video of health and science official interviews was produced for CARE by Len Aitken. World class orthopedic oncologist Dr. Ross Wilkin said, “You cannot assume that no harm will be done unless you have proven facts” the idea of let’s put the tower up and see what happens to the population of Lookout Mountain should not be done??

Epidemiologist and MD Goldsmith, author of TV Broadcast Antennas, the End of Innocence says, “When the Russians radiated the personnel of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow with microwaves in 1976” the ambassador and his assistant came down with Leukemia” the intent was to reduce the ability to concentrate” and all the behavior of radio frequency sickness syndrome” sleeplessness, irritability, depression??

Physicist Dr. Ted Litovitz testified at a Congressional hearing that RF causes damage to DNA, prevents it from repairing itself, and causes mutation of cells. “Legislation cannot be approved based on irrational fears” there has to be adverse biological effects” Standards that protect you today are only based only on (thermal effects) heating of human tissue” DNA damage occurs at 50 times less than the Standard allows” some damage is caused by exposure 300 times less than the Standard” “What is protecting you?” You can get biological effects at levels 75,000 times lower than the Standard” (the RF industry) defends the Standard because they say biological effect research has not been replicated” the thalidamide drug caused 10,000 deformed kids because the research predicting damage was not replicated??

Dr. Wilkin ends the video, “The defect that we see in all cancers is DNA damage” hundreds of studies show DNA damage from the radiation that comes off those towers” to say don’t worry about it is absolutely ludicrous!?

CARE volunteer testimony of Engineers & Architects

Electrical Engineer Al Hislop has volunteered expertise for CARE for the past five years. “The RF environment, particularly Mother Cabrini Shrine and family homes to the south, would be exposed to more RF” Effected Radiated Power will increase by 9 megawatts” Channels 4, 7, and 9 are now transmitting a total of 732,000 watts” moving the 5 Megawatt Channel 20 antenna to Lookout and adding four digital antennas of a Megawatt each, adds 9,732,000 watts to the residential area.” None of the 10 Megawatts on Lookout Mountain would be removed without government intervention. “The total result from LCG’s new tower is 20 Megawatts (plus future LCG rentals). “LCG has protested my use of raw RF data” in fact they have protested that I make calculations at all” “

Hislop, who has spent $40,000 mitigating interference at his home one mile West of the towers, then listed LCG’s DISCONNECT FROM TRUTH: “Like the auditors of WorldCom and Enron, this proposal looks good” LCG says RF will decrease” LCG says they are grandfathered (exempt) for compliance to the Quiet Zone” “ Hislop said to avoid the Quiet Zone, LCG’s proposed directional antenna patterns (which are not stated in the ODP) would have to be rotated 90 degrees, which would double radiation exposure for more family homes and Ralston Elementary School.

“The FCC has ignored four CARE Petitions for Relief from interference. The broadcasters have had years to resolve the problem of excessive RF on Lookout Mountain” Jefferson County has no control of antenna patterns, even if declared in the ODP” The FCC can preempt antenna patterns” “ Hislop is concerned for families on Mountsfield being exposed to twice existing radiation, up to 15.2 µW/cm2. “High-power broadcast antennas should be at least 530 feet above average terrain. The real reason LCG chose Lookout Mountain is easy access to property they own. I think every LCG complaint about alternative sites is manufactured to stay there??

Hislop recommends that LCG move to Squaw Mountain Communications site as the best possible solution for the next 50 years. He participated in testing DTV signals sent from SM and found reception to be “surprisingly good throughout the metro area, even without line-of-site. We can receive Channel 30 operating at 10% power from 100 miles away at Cheyenne, Wyoming” SMC offered free rent to LCG for one year” I suspect the stations do not want anyone to know how excellent the coverage is from Squaw” LCG engineers claim the need for 10,000 times more power than what the FCC recommends” (to a hundred dollar bill on the monitor) FCC says one penny and LCG claims they need $100” SM is permitted for three towers below 200 feet high, and LCG can be accommodated with two antennas on one tower??

Hislop addressed LCG’s claim that booster technology is not available. “They would need boosters from all sites, including Lookout” We built a booster that used 48 watts of ERP and put it on a 10-foot pole to reach Boulder. We made the booster from off-the-shelf components borrowed from manufacturers. There is no need for FCC permission for most boosters.”

Hislop assured Commissioner Sheehan that county consultant Jim Hart agrees that RF levels would rise. Hislop reported that LCG attorney Campbell told the JeffCo School Board last week that RF levels would go down. Sheehan asked for Hislop’s opinion of varying standards worldwide. Hislop recommends a limit to 2 µW/cm2 (from 200-500 µW/cm2) for residential neighborhoods. “Blanket interference begins at 0.084 µW/cm2.”

Commissioner Sheehan asked why Hislop would not move if he thought RF caused health effects. Hislop said, “If everybody subscribed to that philosophy (leave it to the next guy), we would have no volunteer fire department, no volunteer army, no one would be willing to put themselves in danger for the greater good” So it comes down to fight or flight.”

Professor Gary Olheoft of Colorado School of Mines presented written letters of concern for RF interference causing serious problems for geophysics research. “One of our best surveying tools is (satellite-generated) global positioning systems” the closer we get to Golden and the towers the less accuracy” the plastic utility pipes that are replacing metal must be detected underground. A house blew up at the base of Lookout Mountain from Qwest not being able to detect a plastic natural gas line” if broadcast levels go up on Lookout, that danger will expand” The FCC is beginning to get concerned about RF interference with 911 Emergency systems” (and) there is more than enough research that indicates reduction of melatonin and damage to chromosomes and DNA??

Electrical engineer Dave Vennitti of Lookout Mountain has been voluntarily measuring RF at family homes for over three years. “Class B interference with telephones, radio, TV, computers, amplifiers, recorders, and wireless systems occur at exposure levels of one percent of the FCC Maximum Permissible Exposure. LCG intends to deal with high power broadcast Class A interference for one year” this complex problem took many years to develop. It will take more than one year to resolve” Before anything more is added to the mountain, we need to resolve the problems that already exist.”

Architect Andy Beck of Lookout Mountain has received many awards for environmentally sensitive building designs for the National Park Service for 25 years. “The proposed 20,000 square foot, 38.5-foot high industrial building” for four television stations, covers a half acre in the preserved Mountain Backdrop” They show a nice building tucked into the trees. Nothing could be further from the truth” The building design is like a warehouse or cheap hotel” The applicant has left out important details” How many antennas and dishes will be sticking out all over the tower and building?” What is the visual impact of 3-inch guy wires stretching 3000 feet out from a 730-foot high tower?” What about the retaining wall of 100 feet high on the east side?” What about outbuildings, fuel tanks, garages, storage structures, exterior generators” What about night lighting” Will this be Stevinson Automotive on the mountain” What is this applicant trying to hide?” Beck compared LCG appropriately relocating at Squaw Mountain to relocating densely populated Stapleton Airport to DIA on the Eastern Plains.

Electrical Engineer Dan Wilkinson of Lookout Mountain said, “The zoning resolution requires the applicant to prove that their proposal cannot be accommodated on any other existing facility” There are 8 other sites in Jefferson County and 32 FCC registered towers within 50 kilometers of Lookout. Some DTV antennas are operating at low power on Denver high-rises and two DTV stations (KDEN & KWHD) are on plains” Theoretical studies can provide predictions but Field studies provide facts. The Squaw Mountain Communications field study recorded 98% coverage of the market with normal use of boosters” LCG is going to need boosters regardless of where their antennas are located” There is no visual impact and no residents live at the same or higher altitudes than the SMC tower. Signals from SM do not disturb the Quiet Zone in Boulder?” Commissioner Lawrence wanted to know where boosters for Boulder are located. Most are off Hwy 93. Commissioner Sheehan pointed out there are residents living near the Squaw Mountain site in Clear Creek County.

CARE volunteer testimony of Physicians Frankel and Kelly

Dr. Stephen Frankel is a Golden resident, Harvard Medical School M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Medical and Research Center and University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. “All studies have limitations” prudence and safety should take priority when making public policy decisions” an absence of data simply means we don’t know?. I have been asked if there are serious health risks associated with locating broadcast transmission towers in residential areas. Since thermal effects are the only consideration for the existing standards, that is like saying cigarettes can’t cause cancer as long as you don’t burn your mouth.”

Frankel said, “Non-thermal biological effects of RF radiation do exist from long-term, low intensity exposures that previously were thought to be safe. DNA damage, free radicals, calcium flux, alterations of cell proliferation and transformation, heat shock proteins, alterations in immunity are proven to signal transduction effects. Reported health effects are adult and childhood leukemia, brain cancer, infertility, altered immune function, neurological and developmental impairment” Studies indicate these abnormalities are also associated with Alzeimers Disease, Lupus, asthma, and stroke” Epidemiological data suggest a correlation between low dose RF radiation and Leukemia (Italy, Australia, Hawaii, England).”

In response to Frankel’s report of childhood leukemia near the Vatican antenna farm in Rome, Commissioner Sheehan wondered if that was related to the stress of being Catholic, since he is Catholic. “The five leukemia studies were of diverse populations with the same results.” Frankel reported 1989- 96 studies that show neurological and developmental impairment of children.

Frankel discussed the current CSU study financed with a $713,000 NIH grant to study Human Responses to Residential RF Exposure of 300 residents of Lookout Mountain, which will be peer-reviewed by 2006. “The data collected by the state health department in 1999 was sufficiently strong to merit further investigation and to use care and prudence in making decisions that might result in any increase in RF radiation exposure to the community”

Frankel concludes that the proposed tower should be denied since exposures causing serious health problems are proven to be one to two percent of FCC allowable radiation. “There is a real and very concerning body of evidence suggesting that RF radiation causes serious and harmful health consequences” Until more definitive data can demonstrate the safety of locating such facilities in residential areas, it would be prudent to locate them away from residential populations.” Protection from RF is the responsibility of state and local governments.

Commissioner Sheehan asked Frankel if he disagreed with JeffCo’s Dr. Mark Johnson. Frankel said, “We must prove safety for humans. To say you don’t know and you are don’t think the health studies are relevant is really putting your head in the sand.”

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