© 2004 Updated: 9/17/04


Public Testimony August 12, 2004, 5-10 pm

Michelle Lawrence, JeffCo Commissioner: Purpose of this hearing is for additional testimony on the Lake Cedar Group rezoning on Lookout Mountain.

At right: computer generated visual impact of Lake Cedar Group Supertower on Lookout Mountain

Danika Snyder, JeffCo Planner (the 7th tower case planner in six years): You approved the proposal for a 730 foot tower and 20,000 square foot building on July 22, 2003. The City of Golden, CARE (a consortium of 33 neighborhoods representing 9000 residents in the Genesee / Lookout Mountain area), individuals and other home owner associations appealed the decision. On March 26,2004, Judge R. Brooke Jackson required the Commissioners to conduct a limited public hearing to discuss guyed wire failure and tower setbacks in case of tower fall. LCG submitted more information on April 23, 2004. Judge Jackson also asked Commissioners to reconsider are the impact of RF interference from the additional antennas, alternative site analysis, emission studies and tower structural design, and others.

Tim Cox, Assistant County Attorney explained the purpose of the hearing as "give the public the opportunity to speak" and the case would return to Judge Jackson for appeal decision. The Judge also directed Lake Cedar Group to submit "evidence" on guyed wires and setbacks.

Marv Rockford, Lake Cedar Group spokesman: You made the correct decision one year ago. This proposal is for a tower consolidation and meets all county codes for tower failure and ice fall. RF levels will improve overall; interference will be reduced; the visual impact will improve. The tower will be further away from residents. We will provide expert testimony on tower fall. Nothing has changed on documents filed late. (Rockford then spent 10 minutes promoting hired consultants as "distinguished, global, experts.") The Lake Cedar tower will be structurally safe. It will be built with 21st Century technology and materials. It replaces towers built in the 1950s.

Deb Carney, attorney for CARE: It is not often we are given a second chance. This is a rare opportunity to correct a serious mistake. LCG misled you on the impact of RF from this tower. The RF report was filed the day before final hearing, which left no opportunity for 21-days for citizens to examine the information. The LCG Musselman reportclaimed radiation levels will go down at 800 of 1000 measured points.

Carney: LCG repeatedly claimed RF will go down on Lookout Mountain, School of Mines, at schools, and overall in JeffCo. They said it would go down by 80%. Commissioner Sheehan (quoted in RMN) believed that RF would go down by 80%. Your own consultant Jim Hart disagrees with that assumption and agrees with Mr. Hislop that RF will rise.

Carney: Dr. Frankel testified last year about health effects from this proposal. After your approval of this tower, he sold his Golden home and moved from the area.How much evidence did you hear on health and interference" The reality is that RF will rise from more antennas. Under the law, every LCG station is operating on a nonconforming site that must be eliminated as quickly as possible. Broadcasters kept adding more and more equipment illegally (power rose from 1.4 million watts in 1960 to 10 million watts in 1990). Of the existing 49 towers, 47 are nonconforming. If JeffCo followed state law, these towers would be removed within when analog TV ends. This "consolidation" is intended to permanently permit pollution and add 9 million more watts to the residential area.

Carney: Another myth that LCG propagated is if they move away from Lookout Mountain, more towers would have to go up elsewhere. Towers for boosters for Sq Mtn, Lookout Mtn, Mt Morrison antennas already exist. LCG says Squaw Mountain is not an acceptable alternative site for them. SM Communications is zoned for three tower sites, including one that allows a 31,000 square foot building (6,000 built, 1,000 occupied).

Carney: LCG failed to mention that KCNC-Channel 4 paid compensation to Mr. Hathaway for damage to his roof and vehicle from ice falling on his home. LCG experts were also failed to admit that there are very high winds on Lookout Mountain (audience bursts into loud laughter). Weather records show wind at 150 miles per hour. Wind has been measured at 126 mph frequently. Two towers fell off Lookout Mountain in the 1950s and towers continue to fall elsewhere in this 21st century. They tend to fall during construction. The 850 foot Channel 4 tower is in close proximity to the site for the proposed 730 foot tower. A Golden resident who was 10-years-old when the tower fell in the 1950s remembers debris rolling down far beyond the height of the tower. The debris (showing photographs) lies 1400 feet away from the 1950s tower site and 736 feet down hill from the proposed Supertower. The first tower fell on Dec 6, 1953 while being constructed. The second 330-foot tower fell on March 11, 1955.

Dick Over (CARE), Panorama Estates: I have lived on Lookout Mountain since 1953. Wind tore a 364 pound, cap stone from my chimney on December 21, 1964. Channel 9 said the wind speed recorded that night at their tower was 126 mph. I have a 55-foot ham radio tower on my property that has formed ice about one inch thick.

Jeff Rigters (CARE), School of Mines student: I surveyed the base of the mountain and found tower debris that rolled down in 1953. One object is 7.5 feet tall, about a quarter inch thick, painted red and white and lies 1400 feet from the tower base. I also found electronic parts for a transformer and large pieces of corrugated sheet metal at another debris area approximately 700 feet down from the tower. My photographs will be shown by Dr. Olhoeft.

Vicki Tripp Ramsven (CARE), Golden: I was 10 years old when the tower fell and led the students to where the debris had fallen in 1953 when I was visiting my grandparents .

Al Hislop (CARE), Lookout Mountain: The Musselman RF study dated April 10, 2003 was withheld until the last hearing of public testimony July 22, 2003. Lake Cedar Group withheld this misleading report to prevent citizens from rebuttal. Your consultant Mr. Hart and I do not agree with Mr. Rockford who states the power will improve conclusively. Actually, many residents would experience an increase as RF would rise to the north, south and east. Far more residents would experience an increase rather than a decrease. Yet you believe Mr. Rockford saying RF would go down in 800 of 1000 points.

Hislop: (powerpoint photographs and graphics) If you read Musselman’s report, you would find RF does not go down at 85% of the points measured, yet the JeffCo press release claimed RF would be reduced and is below the standard by 85%. There are places on Lookout Mountain today that measure just below 100% of the limit and will not be changed by the LCG tower. The claim of 800 of 1000 points down is utterly false. RF would not go down overall. Some areas even to the south and west, like Cody Park, would experience RF increases. The greatest increase is in the most densely populated areas. There is another problem. LCG would contribute less than 5% of Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) which would enable them to be free from responsibility according to FCC rules. Musselman claims only two of eight points measured would receive a 32% change due solely to Lake Cedar Group. They can’t add three transmitters plus another two from Mt. Morrison and produce a reduction. LCG has not provided criteria for measurements. All we know is that their reductions are exaggerated.

Hislop: In his closing statement last year, Mr. Rockford claimed "every researcher at Colorado School of Mines that was concerned about RF interference with his or her research supports this project." My calculations and your consultant Mr. Hart’s calculations say RF interference will increase at School of Mines. Why would School of Mines researchers rejoice at the prospect of increased interference" Rockford also stated, "Every citizen concerned about the impact of RF on health should support this proposal." Why support an increase" So now you know why LCG withheld this report giving no time to analyze it.

Commissioner Sheehan: I am confused. This report shows RF going down. Am I not reading that correctly"

Hislop: You are referring to the LCG Musselman report, not your consultant’s study. LCG’s objections to all the alternative sites claim a lack of coverage, inadequate space, and adjacent channel interference. We don’t expect you to be an expert on all of this. You have hired an expert and you should listen to his recommendations.

Hislop: Another LCG expert, John FX Browne claims "202,634 fewer persons in Jefferson County would receive signals from Squaw Mountain." LCG changes these figures from month to month. In 1999, they said 31,459 would not receive from SM. In 2002, they said 1.5 million would not receive from SM. In 2003, they said 519,517 people would suffer from channel interference. Browne claimed Channel 4 could not be moved to Squaw Mountain because of short spacing with Grand Junction.

Hislop: Mr. Hart stated: ‘The adjacent channel interference is not a valid argument. We now believe Squaw Mountain Communications and Eldorado Mountain sites should be considered a viable alternatives to Lookout Mountain for television broadcast.’ Your RF consultant and your own planning staff is recommending denial of this project.

Richard Veghte (CARE), Lookout Mountain: I am a registered petroleum engineer, received my education from Colorado School of Mines, I worked in the petroleum production industry for 40 years. My experience includes hydrocarbon movement in underground storage. My concern is for the physical and environmental problems resulting from large quantities of fuel oil in a residential and geological sensitive area. LCG proposes two 10,000 gallon diesel fuel tanks above and below an aquifer below fractured granite.

Veghte: Fuel tanks at Channel 9 and Channel 4 have leaked and had to be removed for contaminating the area. The predominate fractured granite at this Lookout Mountain site would rapidly absorb any leakage, which would contaminate an aquifer below. Now, 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel is like three Texaco tankers sitting in your front yard under a 730 foot lightning rod. It only took 12,000 gallons to bring down each of the NY World Trade Center towers on 9/11. LCG had made no references to the materials or structural support of 70 tons of fuel. There is no reference to leak monitoring. The risk analysis basically proposes what the industry describes a "trust me" design. The engines would be 6,000 horse power. The odor, vibration, noise, and emissions from burning 6 tons of fuel for every 100 operating hours. This is like two Burlington Northern locomotives in your front yard. That would definitely effect air quality in the area.

Veghte: If these television stations had any concern for the environment, they would use the clean burn of natural gas. This would eliminate any possible contamination of underground water. I have spent a lifetime on this and believe me, you apparently have no concept of the magnitude of impact this industrial complex would have on residents and the environment. This proposal has already reduced property values by 13% in the area. There are alternative power sources and sites.

Commissioner Sheehan: You say 13% reduction in property values. What source indicates that"

Veghte: Remax 100 has published this.

Dave Robinson (CARE), Lookout Mountain: Each LCG station needs 1000 square feet of building space. Bear Creek Development has approval on Mount Morrison for 1000 sq. ft. per station. Squaw Mountain Communications has permission for a 31,000 sq. ft. building. LCG consultant Browne indicates 1000 sq. ft. is plenty of space for each. Their attorney Campbell wrote in July 18, 2003 that 1400 sq. ft. was necessary for each transmitter. Salt Lake City engineer indicates the need for 1000 sq. ft. per station. In 1999, LCG said they needed 800 sq. ft. per transmitter. Squaw Mountain can accommodate LCG.

Ann Felteau (CARE), Eagle Ridge in Golden: Compare LCG consultant Randel Musselman with calculations provided by Al Hislop and Mr. Hart. RF levels would decrease for 304 residents while 1,936 residents would experience an increase within two miles. RF would not go down at 800 of 1000 Musselman sites. Until you have examined the CSU research and World Health Organization study to be completed in 2005, you should take a cautionary approach and deny this proposal. It is not prudent to increase RF.

Dr. Cindy Kelly (CARE), Genesee Reservation: As a orthopedic oncologist, I am responding to Dr. Mark Johnson’s letter of July 20, 2004. I know about low levels of electromagnetic radiation. As I testified last year, you can’t smell it, taste it, feel it, or touch it and it effects us every day. It can cause cells to malfunction. It can weaken the immune system but not necessarily cause death. There are 70 studies that declare the hazards of EMF (electromagnetic fields). Health effects associated with EMF are brain cancer, childhood leukemia, birth defects, pregnancy loss, sleep disturbances, and altered performances in learning for children. Animal cells exposed to EMF show distinct growth changes and alterations in cellular enzymes. DNA patterns are altered by EMF. Electromagnetic pollution should be considered a carcinogenic risk by the FDA and EPA. Children are more vulnerable because their body mass is smaller. Italian and Australian studies indicate a direct correlation of leukemia with broadcast transmitters. We can’t say EMF causes the disease directly. We can say it pressures the immune system and makes it more vulnerable to disease. Exposing an unwilling community to this pollution is unconscionable until it is proven to be absolutely safe. (More extensive testimony is summarized at July 1, 2003)

Commissioner Sheehan: Do you live in the area exposed"

Dr. Kelly: Yes.

Commissioner Sheehan: Why" (Commissioner Lawrence scolded the audience for rumbling sounds of disapproval)

Dr. Kelly: I live in Genesee, on the other side of I-70, so my family has little exposure. But if this tower goes up, we will move because the radiation exposure will be equal to what people are seeing on the other side of the highway.

Commissioner Sheehan: So you are concerned that increased exposure to the east would be too hot for your comfort levels. You would not live in that area.

Dr. Kelly: I would not and I don’t think anybody can prove to you that this tower is safe. You are potentially making a rash decision. And this risk is for better TV over the air for 3% of viewers so some stations can make more money. There are other solutions.

Craig Brown (CARE), Eagle Ridge in Golden: The visual impact is much larger than any tower on the mountain today. The ODP does not provide specifics about the visual impact. LCG claims the face of the 730 Supertower would be 6500 sq. ft. less than the towers to be removed. The ODP allows antennas to extend 10 feet out from the tower face which increases the face to 27 feet, three times the size of the existing Channel 4 tower. The east location causes more visual impact. The support building would be twice as big as the three stations now have combined. The 20,000 square feet building would be five times larger than any building on Lookout Mountain. The extreme weight of the tower requires extremely visible 3-inch in diameter guyed wires. A huge Christmas tree effect would be perpetually on Lookout Mountain. Weather conditions are not realistically considered. The tower is designed to withstand 110 mph winds. NOA in Boulder reports 130 mph six times, 120 mph 14 times, and 110 mph more than 34 times from 1959 to 2000.

30-minute Break

Bob Barrett (CARE), Lookout Mountain (Video Power Point): The zoning resolution in effect says towers must not create a hazard from ice fall or tower collapse. Politics and vague assumptions must not determine the distance of the tower from occupied dwellings. This is ice on the Channel 4 tower falling (photo). It damaged this house (photo of damaged roof). The homeowner had to wear a hard hat to get to his car. Kathy Jones is an engineer that has extensively studied ice fall from communication towers at a laboratory in New Hampshire. She has concluded that ice can fall as far away as 168% of the tower height depending on tower elevation, wind drag and speed. The LCG structural engineer consultant, Mr. Malouf, claims ice would fall only 80% of the height of the tower. Malouf claims 85 mph wind would cause ice to fall 680 feet away from the 730 feet tower. This is not backed up with scientific calculation.

Barrett: Here is a picture of a one and a half inch thick ice that fell (calculations) within a radius of 655 feet or close to 80%. But let’s look at a different assumption. Volume and weight of ice matters. According to Ms Jones research, when you consider the drag coefficient, weight and velocity of the ice falling at 100 mph, a safe setback distance from this tower would be 1350 feet. This is a plat (graphic map of plat) of the Cedar Lake neighborhood that has been residential since 1924. There are six occupied dwellings within 1350 feet of the proposed location of the Supertower. There is also a high power electrical transmission line, two other towers, and Golden water storage within that fall line. It is clear that this proposal does not meet the setback requirements of the existing zoning resolution.

Dr. Gary Olhoeft (CARE), Professor of Geophysics at Colorado School of Mines, Beverly Heights in Golden: Many towers have fallen. OSHA has recorded an amazing record of tower failures. There is a distinct difference between tower fall and collapse. Most incidents occur during construction or removal of towers. American Society of Engineers also has a record of tower failures during construction, deconstruction, or from wind or ice buildup. Guyed wire connections to the tower have corroded and caused failure. OSHA records of accident reports include at least one death per year from tower fall. According to the Denver Post, the 1953 tower fall on Lookout Mountain was caused by 130 mph wind.

Dr. Olhoeft: (to computer geology graphics of the site) Tower fall can roll to the east, west, north, or south. As you can see this site is not flat like Kansas. As you can see from the LCG proposal, the length of the guyed wires are all different, depending on where they are anchored. This program is slow to load and my Parkinson’s Disease makes me shake. Some wires are 517 feet in length. What happens if one guyed wire collapses" During deconstruction of the Channel 4 tower, it could damage many homes and possibly a power line. Fire danger is also a factor.

Dr. Olhoeft: Actual calculation indicates a 40% grade down to homes in Golden. We asked our students to hike around the mountain looking for remnants from tower falls during the 1950s. (See Jeff Ritgers testimony above) Some fell 1497 feet and 1300 feet down the mountain from those 300 foot towers. If the debris rolled down 1500 feet from a 300 foot tower during the 1950s, the massive size (both in height, width and weight of devices) of the proposed LCG tower could roll down to a much larger debris field than their calculations predict. You can’t simply draw a circle around a tower like flat land and expect it to relate to a 40% grade downhill with winds up to 130 mph. Debris is more likely to roll at least 1500 feet (conservative estimate) from the tower base and impact power lines and possibly homes at the bottom.

Commissioner Sheehan: Would the new location be safer than the old one"

Dr. Olhoeft: It would be better for those on the mountain and worse for people in Golden at Stonebridge and student housing at the School of Mines Survey Field.

Commissioner Sheehan: Would you show where 1500 feet down is"

Dr. Olhoeft: On the right edge is Stonebridge. This is Tripp Ranch. This is Hal Shelton’s house. With 1036 feet elevation change, and a tower twice as high, it could roll as far as 2500 feet. Vicki Tripp Ramsven said when she was 10 years old, debris rolled downhill in this direction. These are real measurements, not estimates. (While changing computer programs)

Commissioner Sheehan: This is part of Golden’s 1% growth cap. (Commissioner Holloway chuckles; audience disapproves)

Dr. Olhoeft: Here is one of those 3D pictures showing the distance of the debris (from 1950s) to tower. (Photo) This is a 7.5 foot, quarter inch thick structural steel painted red and white, corrugated sheet metal, and (Photo) some 1950s light bulbs and electronic parts. This yellow line (graphic on map) is from the 1953 tower to the debris field, 1400 feet apart" power lines" 6th Avenue" This is where the LCG tower would be" high power electrical lines have tremendous tension that can snap with wind and cause fire on a dry hillside loaded with fuel. The LCG tower does meet your criteria for prevention of tower fall.

Dr. Lynn Bemis (CARE), Beverly Heights in Golden: I am a biologist in the field of Cancer prevention. The most important thing we can do for our community when it comes to cancer is prevent it. I work with and teach biological genetics and how people cancer works. Tumors can take 10 to 20 years to develop" cancer data collected by Colorado Health and Environment shows more cancer higher than expected and does not include any cancer victims that moved away from the area. I have discussed the effects of EMF with world leaders who believe, although the evidence may not be concrete at this time, the effects are significant because we know EMF causes cellular damage. The current towers are already significantly contributing to EMR in the area. The proposed new tower will add more danger in the area.

Deb Carney, CARE attorney: Dr. Bemis is responding to Dr. Mark Johnson’s letter to you on this issue.

Scott Albertson (CARE), Genesee Foundation: (Land use attorney) I want to discuss your zoning resolution 17 F 2 b (2): All new structures must be setback from the property line sufficient to prevent ice fall and debris and tower failure and collapse from falling on occupied dwellings. Where more than one tower is located on the site, the setback between such towers shall be sufficient to prevent multiple failures in the event one tower fails. Your zoning administrator interprets the setback as equal to the height of the tower" in this case 730 feet. (graphic showing property line) the setback to the east is 530 feet" to the north the distance is 650 feet" Distance between the old and new towers is 690 feet" the old guyed wires are 220 feet away from the proposed tower" the setback requirements are not met by this proposal" Based on other evidence you have heard tonight, the wind velocity and downhill grade is important" The 1955 debris was found five times the height (330 feet) of the tower away"

Albertson: Is this proposed tower better than the existing situation" All the old towers on Lookout Mountain are nonconforming and are meant to be eliminated, not replaced with a rezoning. Your County Attorney’s office won a case against KWGN claiming it could exchange the existing analog use for digital on a nonconforming tower. Judge Anderson said the legal nonconforming uses are meant to eventually be removed.

Albertson: The real issue boils down to one word—Compatibility. Considering aesthetics, visual impact, ice fall, fuel storage, RF in a residential community, tower fall, the issue is compatibility. Is this use compatible with this area at this time" This was a remote area in the 1950s. There are families, students, high tech businesses here now. It is not a site for the 21st Century. We ask you and LCG to apply 21st Century technology to a 21st Century site (enthusiastic audience applause was met by scolding of Commissioner Lawrence).

Gil McNeish, attorney for Squaw Mountain Communications: LCG attorney Campbell has misinterpreted the SMC Official Development Plan (ODP) at over 10,000 feet altitude in Clear Creek County. His opinion is based on a vague 2001 staff letter, not the zoning resolution authorized by the County Commissioners or their memorandum of 1999. The capacity for the 30-acre site is approved for three antenna towers 200-feet height or the distance from property line whichever is less. Accessory structure for Site A is approved for 31,000 square feet, of which 6,000 is already built and 1,000 is occupied; and 2,000 sq. ft. on each of Sites B and C for a total of 35,000 square feet expandable underground. A removable house and barn are considered part of that 35,000 square feet. The high altitude of the site requires far less tower height to cover the Denver metro area. The SMC zoning resolution permits both residential and communication tower uses.

Gil McNeish: The ODP limits tower height but does not limit tower design, which can be an H-shape or spider web design like you approved for Mount Morrison. Antenna height is not specifically limited in the ODP. There is no regulation limiting horizontal distance of a tower. LCG attorney Campbell attempts to lump zoning regulations of commercial/residential district onto this site, concluding that towers and buldings are controlled by residential regulations. The SMC ODP makes no reference to the commercial/residential district. Campbell is unable to reference any document to that effect. Late filed documents in 2003 claim, without documentation, that LCG technical needs cannot be met at "unavailable" SMC. The fact is, Lake Cedar Group’s technical needs can be accommodated at this site which is available as an alternative to Lookout Mountain.

Tim Cutforth, engineer for Squaw Mountain Communications: LCG signal spacing requirements for analog antennas was one of the objections for moving to SMC. When analog use ends, the existing analog towers on Lookout Mountain will be obsolete. So interference of Channel 4 with Grand Junction is a mute point, but we will address it anyway. There is zero possibility of interference because the Continental Divide lies between SM and Grand Junction. The technological solution for signal conflicts is to ask the FCC to change channels. So, if LCG channels chose to move analog to SMC, an application with the FCC for signal change to prevent adjacent channel interference is likely to be granted. We submitted hundreds of pages of petitions filed by other stations across the country for DTV channel changes for your review. Every request was granted by the FCC. KRMA and other Channels approved for Mount Morrison have adjacent channel conflicts that they don’t seem to be worried about.

Cutforth: LCG’s calculated claim of coverage loss from SMC is not scientifically proven with the due diligence of field tests. Boosters are utilized from every tower site now. LCG has no evidence to prove the claim that SMC is not a viable alternative site. None of LCG’s predictions of limited signal coverage showed up in actual field tests of 181 sites conducted in the Denver metro area in 2002 by Mr. Scritinoli , the primary national DTV system designer. In fact, just the opposite was proven by his field studies of signals from SM, which is part of the official record of this case. We have also provided you with Mr. Scritinoli’s extraordinary credentials and publication list for the record.

McNeish: Mr. Scritinoli’s report concludes "Land use, area and height regulations on Squaw Mountain ODP accomodate all facility requirements of Lake Cedar Group." Jefferson County’s expert Hartech has concluded, "Squaw Mountain Communications should be considered ad a potential alterantive site" suitable for broadcast of digital television in the Denver metro area and beyond."