© 2004 Updated: 9/21/04


Jefferson County Commissioners hearing July 22, 2003
9:30am-5:30pm Rezoning for Lake Cedar Group Supertower

Commissioner Sheehan said, “We have heard from staff and homeowner associations in this continuing saga. We will now hear individuals and staff before applicant wraps up.” Many who had signed to testified could not attend this day hearing.

Don Giffels of Golden said he was amazed by the testimony or ordinary citizens in addition to highly quality engineers and physicians against this proposal. If I were you, I would be asking myself: 1) If there is a viable alternative in a nonresidential area, why approve it? 2) Would I purchase a home near this tower? 3) Would I let myself believe after the fact that I could not know about the risks when the CSU research is completed? 4) Would I let myself believe that one more tower would not hurt anyone? and 5) What decision is in the best interest of Jefferson County” what was I elected to do? If you answer YES to these, then I cannot know how you could let yourself feel that way.

Guenter Grothe of Lookout Mountain (video) showed examples of expensive mitigation for reducing RF interference. “We purchased a residential lot in a straight line from the towers (at a higher altitude) in 1972 “When we applied for the building permit in 1977, we asked county officials if the towers caused a health and safety problem” they said there was no problem” We have testified against proliferation at every application for towers” Now we have more towers than ever before. In recent years, we found more information about the danger of antennas” “Video shows window film and metal screens to reduce RF. “Prudent avoidance of people is the safest way “Until the results of the CSU study are made public, you should not approve any additional antennas in highly populated areas like Lookout Mountain.”

Brad Ross-Shannon of Lookout Mountain (video) said “A recent Court of Appeals case was similar to LCG” Southwestern Bell vs. Johnson County Kansas Board of County Commissioners. A tower was allowed with the promise of no interference” When the county objected, the FCC preempted local conditions. Lake Cedar Group proposal would be vulnerable to FCC rule” Consider your legacy 20 years from now” especially since this proposal affects public safety communications… How would your grandchildren feel about this decision?

Citizen presentation of Tower Failure Danger

Bob Barrett of Lookout Mountain is an mechanical engineer that managed a power point presentation on tower fall for three citizens and himself for three minutes each. “This proposal violates Zoning Resolution Section 17 F.2.b.(2): All new structures must be set back from the property line sufficient to prevent ALL ice-fall materials and debris from tower failure or collapse from falling onto occupied dwellings other than those occupied by the tower owner…”

Eddie Alianiello of Lookout Mountain Park said his subdivision existed “” long before the towers” We have about 35 homes in our neighborhood “ This proposed tower would be like a 30-story building held up with guy wires” The proposed set backs would not protect our homes from tower fall” In 1999, part of why you denied this proposal was not enough setback. Chunks of ice falling can be deadly serious… At least ten homes could be hit, and Buffalo Bill’s Grave, the Golden Reservoir, the Channel 31 tower (which hold JeffCo emergency communications antennas), and major high voltage electric power lines” towers are vulnerable to sabotage by terrorists” there is an earthquake fault at the base of the mountain” The towers are not just ugly. They are dangerous. One tower fall could take out most of the area’s broadcasters.”

Com. Holloway asked, “How many towers do we actually have?” Com. Sheehan asked, “Have you experienced any damage to your property as a result of ice falls?”

Christina Shea of Lookout Mountain reported on a national study of towers. “They fall down a lot. Since 1953, 160 high power broadcast towers fell through 1999. One in ten guyed towers fall before their useful life is over. Some recent examples of guyed tower failures are: the 1560-foot KTXR-KDEB tower in Springfield Missouri fell in December, 2001; the 1600-foot WKFT tower in Fayetteville North Carolina fell in March, 2002; the 1965-foot KDUH tower fell in Hemingford Nebraska in September, 2002 killing two persons; the 400-foot KMFC tower in Centralia Missouri fell in November, 2002 killing one person; Several inches of ice on three-inch diameter cables caused the 1500-foot WVAH tower in Putnam County West Virginia to fall in February 2003” LCG cannot guarantee safety for our neighborhood…” Com. Holloway asked, “What percentage of towers in the United States failed?” Were any of those failures the result of natural disasters, hurricanes, tornadoes…?

Russel Veazey of Lookout Mountain (video) is a registered architect who lives about 1900 feet from the proposed tower. “Tower failures are caused by poor engineering, inadequate maintenance, human error, sabotage, or weather” This proposed 730-foot tower would weigh 200 tons, that’s 400,000 pounds!… it would have to be 1000 feet further east to protect us” ”

Bob Barrett said, “LCG has not addressed tower failure” the incredibly heavy proposed cable is most likely to support future expansion” LCG claims the tower could collapse upon itself, but failures are usually caused by guy wire whipping” these 3-inch diameter guy wires would add another 60 tons” thousands of pounds of steel schrapnel could be sent flying by excessive wind” (showing samples of 5/8 inch cable now used on Channel 4 tower and 3 inch proposed cable)” another analogy is (holding a rubber band) If I dropped this on you, it would not hurt much, but if I stretched it out and released the tension toward you, it would hurt a lot. Now imagine a cable weighing 17,000 pounds and the tension is proportionate, anywhere from 100,000 to 800,000 pounds” When it gets up to 800,000 pounds, it breaks” the energy is released explosively” the tension is 33 times greater than the force of gravity” the cable could gain a velocity from an initial 9 miles per hour to 190 miles per hour” the tension of cables increases the force 33 times more than gravity to send shrapnel 1860 feet from the tower” the tower must be placed at least 1000 feet farther east” but 500 feet further east puts it too close to the historic Shelton home” This tower would endanger our homes, the Golden water treatment facility, Buffalo Bill’s Grave, high tension power lines” Questions that must be answered are: What is the purpose of the setback resolution?” Why is LCG increasing the mass of these cables by 500 percent?” Where are LCG calculations for tower fall?” Who is liable?

Com. Sheehan interrupts asking Barrett to wrap up. Barrett continues giving an example of a tower fall, “Who will take responsibility?… The potential liability of human deaths and millions of dollars in potential damage” This proposal does not meet setback requirements for tower failure or ice fall…” Sheehan asked if the tower would be more acceptable if it was moved down the mountain? Barrett answered that it would be better but would not comply with the zoning resolution because it would be too close to homes below the tower.

Com. Holloway interrupted saying “there are towers, towers, and more towers everywhere” My guess is that there are 100,000 towers in the U.S. and so 160 tower failures doesn’t seem like much” things fail” I want the big picture” I want facts…” Barrett said, “Okay, then you should ask this applicant to give you specifics.” Holloway said, “I will, I will ask them also.” Barrett said, “I estimate it is on the order of three percent (fail)” one fails for every 133” the other question was how many of the failures were caused by disasters” Many of them were” we have them here too” spring snow storms, winds of 120 miles per hour…” Holloway said, “yea, but I want to know how many fell down…” Barrett replied, “ I respectfully ask you to ask Lake Cedar Group as the applicant to give you those percentages and exact causes of failure” and how many were in residential areas…”

Jim Shea of Lookout Mountain voiced over a power point presentation of photographs of children. “Our neighborhood is at ground zero of the towers and we are hoping JeffCo can learn from the past. This (presentation) is some of the 18 children who live within a half mile of the proposed Supertower. This is my son Orion. He is 9 months old” the research of human effects from exposure to low level of RF has been based on adult workers exposed over a 40-hour work week, as opposed to residents including small children and pregnant women exposed 24 hours a day” the words are now burned into our nation’s history” a memory of public exposures and their adverse human health effects” Lookout Mountain RF exposures or Love Canal and chemical exposures” this is a school at Love Canal” this is Shelton Elementary School… this is a playground at Shelton Elementary School (quotes Love Canal victims)” The citizens of JeffCo do not owe anyone HDTV monster truck racing or MTV on a $5,000 TV set. Over 90% of us do not use the old rabbit ears to receive television just like we don’t use a crank phonograph for our music. FM radio will soon be like satellite TV” this monster of a tower is the last gasp of a doomed technology… The reality is, for better or worse, your names will always be linked to the Supertower on Lookout Mountain. You as our Commissioners have a unique opportunity. As a representative government, we are here to tell you what we want. Please represent us. You have many reasons to turn down the tower and maybe it is time to say, ‘No fellas. You are dangerous. You are a blight on our land. You are not welcome in Jefferson County any more” and by the way, you’re lucky we didn’t kick you out of here ten years ago.’ When you vote down this tower for the final time, you will have a legacy you will be proud of” ”

Cheryl Alianiello of Lookout Mountain said, “I live near the towers and we have so much electricity in the air that I stamp my feet before I kiss my husband” (laughter)” I am concerned about the LCG generators that would be fueled by buried diesel fuel and sound like the constant running of a vacuum cleaner” The noise will not meet the light industrial standard” Wait until the results of the CSU study are complete” We have 8 brain cancers in our community and there should be only 2 for every 2000 people…”

Jeff Bartels of Golden lives in Beverly Heights, one mile from the existing towers. “I am an unofficial pollster in our neighborhood which has more cancers that it should… People believe the towers are causing the high level of cancers” We believe the FCC has been experimenting on us… Other industrial polluters must prove their emissions are safe before it is allowed” While Lake Cedar pumps the propaganda that they are taking down some towers, my neighbors don’t want any towers on Lookout Mountain… Realtors are now sending flyers that say sell your home before the new tower is approved” they say people are avoiding buying property in our area” This application as all about money. It is not about television reception” the broadcasters come with big money that pays for endless time for consultants while the community has to create a blizzard of volunteerism and expert witnesses” Every citizen volunteer in this hearing has somewhere else they would rather be… it is the price of Democracy” Why are these broadcasters given so much county resources when their proposals are so fiercely opposed in our community?”

Holloway and Sheehan asked for a copy of the real estate flyer recommending selling before the tower is approved.

Susan Bogard is a retired JeffCo school teacher, artist, and 30-year Lookout Mountain resident. She showed a photo of about 300 people forming a human tower of 730 feet by 30 feet on the county campus grounds . “After the tower simulation, we walked to the front of this county building in opposition of building this gigantic tower. I have volunteered hundreds of hours over the past six years” I created the cartoons on t-shirts, posters, and invitations” I have donated my art for silent auctions” lots of time, lots of art for free, for five long years” I am not a fearful person” I do believe the health testimony raises serious questions” my cartoons are humorous expressions of deadly serious concerns” You are in a position of great public trust” please protect our future and yours and deny the tower proposal.”

Scott Albertson (video) is a Genesee attorney who has specialized in land use law for 26 years. “Squaw Mountain qualifies as an alternative site” the applicant has not proven they cannot move to Squaw Mountain” The Board of County Commissioners of Clear Creek County are responsible for land use there” the bottom line is the SMC site is an approved ODP” JeffCo experts agree it qualifies as an alternative site” The LCG written restrictions do not declare exactly the directional antenna patterns… is it 90 degrees?” 180 degrees?” 359 degrees?” the FCC can preempt JeffCo regarding antenna patterns” RF is invisible. What happens if there are violations? Who will pay for constant diligence over many years to come? It is not Jefferson County’s responsibility. It is the applicants” The other issue claimed by the applicant is that if this is not approved the existing towers will stay forever” analog will be replaced by digital” this is wrong” Your Zoning Administrator Tim Carl has stated that analog is not the same as digital” the existing towers cannot be used for digital broadcasting” With all due respect, what has changed since you denied this applicant in 1999?” LCG needs your approval in order to stay” Tell LCG again, as you did in 1999, that they do not have your permission to continue to expand on Lookout Mountain…”

Mike Norville of Genesee has attended most of the tower hearings over the past six years. I sympathize with the small contingency of Squaw Mountain residents who don't want any more towers above their homes, but there is no better place for the towers” There are 15 homes below the towers there, whereas there are 3,000 in the Genesee Lookout Mountain area and 6,000 more in Golden below the towers” so Squaw Mountain is a viable alternative” The other issue is Commissioner Sheehan keeps saying, if you don’t like the towers, why not just move” It is not that easy…” Sheehan interrupted him saying, “I didn’t say that.” Norville continued, “It is not that easy” I want to give you an example of the sacrifice you are asking people to make. I just refinanced my house. If I factored in a real estate commission of 6%, closing costs, and United Van Lines to move my family… it was over $47,000 and that does not take into consideration the weak real estate economy” in all likelihood I would have to sell my house below appraised value, so the total cost of moving would be somewhere between $47,000 and $82,000” Further, the medium household income is $49,000 in Golden and $121,000 in Genesee” so it would cost the average family about six months income to move if they don’t like these towers” that does not take into consideration the emotional cost of picking up your family, leaving your neighbors and your community” We are law abiding citizens who follow zoning laws” what have we done to be driven from our homes by broadcasters who have not followed zoning laws? I didn’t put up a Doppler radar tower on my property without a permit!” Now I want to show you how easy it is for the broadcasters to move in comparison to 10,000 families” The parent companies that own these TV stations are valued at over $80 billion and have $350 million cash in the bank” Does anybody believe that these companies don’t have the capitol” and technical expertise to broadcast a signal from a tower at a safe location away from people…”

Toni Gould of Lookout Mountain testified concerns of Court Young of the Lookout Mountain Water Board: 1) The diesel fuel tank of 20,000 gallons is not in compliance with state law; 2) LCG misled the county into believing they have a legal commercial water tap; 3) The proposed industrial site would not be in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. This fuel tank would be like a tanker truck 30 feet long and 10 feet wide” Nothing lasts forever, things wear out” this is would be a disaster ready to happen…” Sheehan interrupted asking her to finish. “LCG has said they have a LM water tap and it is not true. The water taps they have are for residential use only.”

Leonard Wood of Westminster supports LCG. “The tower and building are well designed for the best location. The digital signal would come from the same direction as analog” Without this approval the existing towers would remain forever.”

Andrew Morton of Golden is primarily concerned about health effects of twice the Effective Radiation Power. “The County Attorney asked why they were asking for ten times the present level of power.” Please consider a prudent common sense decision and deny this application.”

Alea Schaum of Clear Creek County Road 422 wants approval. “I am alarmed that people on Lookout Mountain” want the towers” in our neighborhood instead of theirs” Even if one tenth of what they say is true, I feel like they are saying don’t shoot me, shoot her instead” Our county road drive to the tower is about 15 homes…” Com. Sheehan interrupted asking her to focus on this proposal, not another place for this tower. Schaum continued, “Squaw Mountain is not a good climate for commercial use” ”

Charles Cucharia of Golden is concerned about interference and health effects. “When interviewed by these TV stations about the resignation of Sheriff Cook, Commissioner Sheehan said Cook was the consummate professional who was not concerned about himself but rather the best interests of his constituents and his employees who were being adversely effected by his problem with alcohol. We can only hope that the three of you will show the same concern for your constituents” You must now put the health, safety and property values of your constituents before the big money of corporations that own Lake Cedar Group” don’t let anyone die for higher definition TV reception” Commissioner Lawrence was interviewed by another station and said she commended Sheriff Cook for doing the right thing…”

Trudy Fawson of Clear Creek County Road 422 on Squaw Mountain wants approval. “a lot of this testimony could be over the wrong issue” HDTV is available on satellite and cable” this is mandated by Congress” this is a federal issue” It seems to me that Lookout Mountain people are not realistic about not wanting any towers” the reality is that these towers have to be somewhere” Squaw Mountain is not a viable alternative” You need to do some win/win negotiating to make things better on Lookout Mountain.” Sheehan asked for her to finish.

Jim Vickery has lived on Lookout Mountain for 35 years. “My mother is 102 years old. I hope I inherited her genes” to prevent illness from radiation” I go through a lot of feelings” fear, frustration, possible health hazard… Please wait until the CSU study is peer reviewed…”

Mike Shanahan of Lakewood has been an RF engineer for 23 years. “I was trained by engineers that had to live on the site” None of them have died of cancer” and some are still living today. I would not be in this business if I believed I was putting myself at a health risk” Most of the homes on Lookout Mountain were built after the towers” they saw the towers before they came there” that’s how I see it” these towers are for free television…”

Larry Pote of Edgewater wants approval because it would eliminate some of the clutter on Lookout Mountain. “People saw those towers before they moved there. They have the right to find housing elsewhere” The RF levels will be within FCC guidelines” I would love to enjoy some of the views they wake up to each morning, but I can’t afford a home on Lookout Mountain” This small group of vocal homeowners have held the coming of digital TV for four years” I ask that you consider all 525,000 residents of our county when you decide on this.”

Jean Collogy-Bach of Golden quoted Martin Luther King Jr. “ ‘Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.’“ “this is a selfish proposal driven by convenience that disregards the health and safety of thousands” I heard your consulting engineer say they cannot put these antennas on a high building in Denver because it would radiate people” this implies you might be willing to radiate people 24 hours a day rather than 8 hours for workers in a downtown office building” Our community is fortunate to have scientist, engineer and medical professionals who know about the environmental impact of this proposal” How fortunate we are that they have given hundreds of hours to study this and give us information so we can make a responsible decision” You have a wonderful opportunity to do the right thing…”

Lester Larsen of Genesee opposes the proposal as a resident and professional. “I am a telecommunications consultant. I advise municipalities and counties throughout the state on issues of video, voice data, broadband communications issues. I have been consulting for 22 years” some of my clients include Longmont, Ft. Collins, Loveland, Durango, Steamboat Springs, Lamar and other parts of Colorado. I came today to make one single point. The Denver metro area will be served with state-of-the-art digital communications including high definition television this year” the decision you make about the broadcasters” At the end of 2002, the FCC submitted a summary report on all multichannel video (digital) program distribution in the country today…Your decision will have little impact on HDTV availability in the Denver community” The metro area will be served with state-of-the-art digital communications including high definition television this year…”

“You may have noticed (while driving around) all the orange conduits sticking out of the ground in Genesee, Riva Chase and the metro area” we are all being wired for HDTV” In the front page business section of the Denver Post today, Qwest announced a partnership with EchoStar to provide a full gamut of products, including HDTV for the Denver community” Even from the perspective of pricing, broadcasters are going to find themselves in a very difficult and challenging position” At the end of 2002, the FCC submitted a summary report on all multichannel video (digital) program distribution in the country today” Now 76.5% is delivered by cable, 20.3% is delivered by satellite, so almost 97% of all video in the country is served by one of those two sources” you have fixed wireless and broadband and a host of others. Those who still use rabbit ears represent such a small percentage of consumers” in fact it is a closely guarded secret” Broadcast has been declining for many years”

“The Denver metro area is primarily served by Comcast. High definition television is now being delivered in 17 Comcast markets” Yesterday in Cable World magazine, an article indicated there were 200 applications a day in Seattle for HDTV. San Francisco began its rollout last month. Portland is aggressively rolling out. Last night I spoke with the Comcast VP for Denver region” Trials have already begun. High definition is being delivered today to employees of Comcast” By early September, the rollout will begin aggressively in Denver” “Consumers who are receiving this so-called free HDTV will have to purchase a $300 converter box. Those of us who want to acquire it from cable companies will basically pay a $5 incremental monthly charge, and the HDTV receiver is provided… A anecdotal observation to much of this testimony” your local constituents are 99% against this tower “ those testifying for approval have access to HDTV now and will soon have even more options” “It is important for you to not be concerned about technology impacts for the Denver metro area. HDTV will be available in abundance very shortly. The decision you make will have little impact…”

Com. Sheehan interrupted asking him to finish testimony. As Larsen began to finish, Com. Holloway said, “Just for clarification, most people probably know that most of these towers will be obsolete, maybe 10 years from now, maybe 15 years from now” but for right now, there are people who need free TV. They don’t want to pay for cable. Some of them can’t pay for cable. Not everybody can have Comcast” you say it’s 3% of the people?” Larsen answered, “First of all I would caution you in those percentages, 3% is probably a gross exaggeration. We are more likely talking about 1% or less” What I am suggesting is that HDTV is going to be available regardless of what you decide.”

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