© 2004 Updated: 9/24/04

June 2002

County Commissioners deny broadcast tower on Eldorado Mountain

After seven Planning Commission hearings and three County Commission hearings, JeffCo Commissioners unanimously denied a proposal by Pinnacle Towers on April 30, 2002. Reasons for denial are:

    Does not substantially conform with the North Mountains Community Plan and Telecommunications Land Use Plan recommendations for visual and noise impact

    Does not meet minimum standards for telecommunications facilities contained in the JeffCo Zoning Resolution (easements, public services and no alternative existing site)

    Incompatible with existing land uses in surrounding parks and open space

    Not in the best interest of the health, safety, morals, convenience, order, prosperity and welfare of residents of Jefferson County.

The proposed rezoning from Agricultural-One Special Use (1982) to Planned Development of the rural and unpopulated 40-acre site is 6.2 air miles from, and 2,500 feet above, the City of Boulder.

The tower base altitude of 8,320 feet is surrounded by Jefferson & Boulder Counties Open Space and Eldorado State Park. There are no residents, businesses or registered historical places within three miles of the site at that altitude.

CARE’s position on the proposal is: “If Jefferson County is going to approve a high power broadcast tower, it must be where it will cause the least harm to people, businesses and public historic sites.”

During hearings, Commissioner Sheehan spoke of great concern for potential RF interference with the National Institute Standards Technology “Quiet Zone” in City of Boulder, seven miles north of the tower. The assessed value of the rural Eldorado site is $413,590 which provides $9,115 in real estate taxes.

March, 2002

Proposed Expansion of Eldorado Mountain Tower Site

An estimated 25 Mount Vernon Canyon citizens attended three JeffCo Planning Commission hearings of a proposal to rezone a tower site for expanded use on rural Eldorado Mountain. Because there are no residents living within 5 miles at the same altitude as the tower site, the primary concern of citizens was aesthetics. On November 7, 2001 the Commission recommended that Board of County Commissioners deny the proposal.

An estimated 100 Boulderites and 15 JeffCo residents testified that the proposed towers would interfere with hikers and birds. They questioned wildfire defensibility, the rugged access road, a proposed heliport and the financial stability of Pinnacle Towers Inc.

The 40-acre tower site was zoned A1-Special Use in 1982, on the Eldorado peak at 8245-feet above sea level, in rural Jefferson County within a few hundred feet of the rural Boulder County boundary. The City of Boulder boundary is six miles north. Pinnacle Towers is proposing to expand the use with construction of three towers of 450-feet maximum height, a new transmission building, expansion of an existing building and road access to the site. Towers would be painted red and white and lighted at night to comply with FAA requirements.

The site now has a 160-feet tower for KBCO-FM of Boulder, a three-story transmission building, approximately 300 building-mounted antennas, a ground-mounted microwave dish, and a caretaker residence. The site is surrounded by Boulder and Jefferson County open space and Eldorado State Park land. Radio frequency transmission from the site covers a minimum of a 150-mile radius of the Denver metro area.

The nearest residence lies one and one-half miles southeast along Plainview Road and 1500-feet below. Eldorado is a safe alternative to the proliferation of non-conforming antenna towers on residential Lookout Mountain (adjacent to five public National Register of Historic Places) that send electromagnetic radiation directly into more than 1000 family homes at the same altitude. Eldorado is also an alternative to the Mount Morrison towers that cause severe aesthetic harm to historic Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre and foothills and front range communities. Hikers and birds are adversely effected by all three foothills tower sites. Bicyclists and hang-gliders are also adversely effected by the non-conforming Lookout Mountain towers.

Several hundred thousand dollars have been donated to produce a sophisticated campaign against creating an “antenna farm” on “sacred” Eldorado Mountain. The campaign includes a well-financed website said to represent the Eldorado Springs community. Campaigners say they don’t want the Lookout and Eldorado communities against one another, but little compassion or concern for residential Lookout was expressed in public testimony.

Biased and misleading coverage by the Boulder Daily Camera (sister of the Rocky Mountain News) includes a website of 360-degree, video-tapes comparing: 1) views from the existing Eldorado transmission building rooftop (with antennas blocking the view of thousands of acres of open space land) and 2) a view of Golden and Clear Creek from Lookout Mountain Road (the historic Lariat Trail built in 1914) at the Beaver Brook Trail head. The higher altitude Lookout Mountain antenna farms are not shown in “pretty pictures” said to represent Lookout Mountain.

On November 19, 2001, CARE’s Antenna Tower Steering Committee of 12 attorneys, engineers, physicians, and community leaders carefully evaluated the proposal, testimony and Planning Commission recommendation. The ATSC will testify before the County Commissioners recommending approval. JeffCo Commissioner hearings scheduled for December 10, 13 and 18 have been postponed.

Read earlier developments in this story: