© 2002 Updated: 3/17/02


JeffCo Continues to Permit Expanded Tower Use

Electrical permits have been required in Jefferson County since the late 1940s. This requirement has been vigorously enforced for residential taxpayers, but Jefferson County has treated tower owners of residential-zoned like Sacred Cows. Now that the community has invested financial and professional time donations to investigate the Mount Morrison and Lookout Mountain tower sites, all possibilities of trusting the industry, FCC or county have died.

CARE found 33 JeffCo electrical permits from an inventory (assembled from hundreds of files last year) of over 1000 radio frequency transmission devices operating on Lookout. The most blatant illegal land use is KUSA-TV Channel 9’s radar tower (without any permits) which can use up to 1.5 billion watts every 65 seconds. Extreme “ground clutter” from high elevations does not provide efficient weather radar technology.

The county took Bear Creek Development to court for zoning violations on Mt. Morrison in 1998, but is hesitant to enforce the rules with 14 different companies that own 21 different Lookout Mountain tower parcels (12 are “legal non-conforming” use). Some examples of no permits, or questionable permits, issued after the county adopted “legal non-conforming” resolutions in 1993 are:

• 1995 - Zoning Administrator Dan Brindle allowed Tribune Corporation to add a second radio station to the KOSI tower, causing EMR to exceed limits in the residential area.

Right: Jeffco continues to permit excessive tower use.

• 1995 - KCNC-TV was allowed to move a satellite dish from a gulch near Paradise Hills to expand the station’s 800-foot tower site off Cedar Lake Road. The dish blocks the view of the next-door residence.

• 1997 - FOX 31 installed a noisy outdoor generator on a concrete pad that was later enclosed to become a second outbuilding. The 1982 Special Use zoning limits FOX to one building not to exceed 2500 square feet.

• 1998 - KWGN-TV Channel 7 “replaced” a transmitter with one seven-feet higher. The permit was issued after citizens filed a complaint.

• 1999 - Zoning Administrator Mary Bunn provided a permit to FOX-31 to “strengthen” the tower and add a DTV transmitter on the 4.6-acre parcel (5-acres are required). Radiation limits were exceeded at the time. JeffCo added numerous microwave devices to the FOX tower. JeffCo owns a tower lot, north and higher, adjacent to the FOX tower.

• 1999 - Planner Tim Carl permitted KRMA-TV Channel 6 to “exchange” a small, ancient wire mesh dish for a solid DTV microwave relay dish that exceeds size limitations. DTV is not the “same service” as analog.

• 1999 - Planner Tim Carl permitted Specracite to add and subtract devices without clarification at tower site off Cedar Lake Road formerly owned by Nextel. The lots were part of the 1982 FOX rezoning that denies tower use.

• 2001 - JeffCo planner Russell Clark took Tribune Corp’s word over a citizen’s complaint that Channel 50 or Channel 2 “exchanged” an analog transmitter on the Channel 2 tower for a multiplex device.

• 2001 - FOX-31 added a microwave-controlled (from Denver studio) television camera that is often aimed directly into private homes adjacent to the tower.

After allowing the " Most intense electromagnetic environment of any residential area in the nation" to develop on Lookout Mountain, Jefferson County does not employ full time, qualified experts to monitor the industry that has been found by citizens to continuously exceed radiation limits.

Many documents and details are available at www.c-a-r-e.org.