Denver Tower Vote
hearings do not sway Jefferson County commissioners as
opponents weigh their next move.
Following a fresh round
of public hearings, Jefferson County commissioners in
Colorado voted unanimously August 17 to reaffirm their
2003 approval for Lake Cedar Group to build a 730-foot
digital TV "supertower" on Lookout Mountain west of
The project was put on hold March 26 by District Judge
R. Brooke Jackson, who granted an injunction ordering
additional hearings. The city of Golden at the foot of
Lookout Mountain had filed a lawsuit on behalf of area
residents claiming the county commissioners did not
adequately consider public threats posed a tower collapse
and possible cancer risks from RF radiation.
The Lake Cedar Group consortium represents four
Denver-area stations -- KCNC-Channel 4 (CBS),
KMGH-Channel 7 (ABC), KUSA-Channel 9 (NBC), and
KTVD-Channel 20 (UPN). They propose building one
consolidated ATSC digital tower to replace their four
existing NTSC analog towers on the mountain. The proposal
includes constructing a new facility for the co-located
transmission gear of all four stations.
The lawsuit challenged the county commission's
rezoning of the KCNC site to permit the new construction
Ten hours of hearings divided between August 12 and
August 17 featured opposition testimony from more than a
dozen members of Canyon Area Residents for the
Environment (C.A.R.E.), a dozen assorted county
residents, and the city of Golden's mayor along with four
city council members.
Representatives of the nearby Squaw Mountain
telecommunications facility urged that the tower be moved
there, arguing that repeaters could cover any areas not
reached by the signal.
Representing the Lake Cedar Group, former KCNC general
manager Marv Rockford responded that Lookout Mountain is
the only sensible place for a DTV tower. Two TV stations,
most the area's radio stations and numerous microwave
antennas would still remain on Lookout Mountain even if
the Lake Cedar tower moved to Squaw Mountain. He also
noted likely difficulties finding locations for repeater
towers, giving the troubles gaining approval for one new
tower where four already stand.
Within 15 minutes after the close of the public
hearing on August 17, the three county commissioners
concurred that the testimony echoed what they'd heard
before, so there was no reason to change their original
2003 decision. They then voted unanimously to re-approve
the zoning change that permits construction to go
According to county spokesperson Heather Baniszewski,
the county attorney is putting the decision into proper
legal form for a formal commission vote on August 31.
After that, she said, "It will be up to the judge and the
plaintiff's what they will do in response."
Golden Mayor Charles Baroch said, "We thought we had
compelling reasons for the county commissioners to wait
for a better evaluation of alternative sites, but the
commissioners did not agree. We're disappointed but not
too surprised by the decision." He said the city's next
move is now being discussed with city council.
C.A.R.E. attorney Deb Carney challenged the
commissioners' decision. "It was not based on the
evidence, and it certainly was not based on the best
interests of the citizens of Jefferson County, the
residents of Golden, or the health and welfare of the
9,000 people who live up here on the mountain."
As for what C.A.R.E. will do next, she said, "We're
not going to forecast our plans to Lake Cedar Group, but
we're certainly not giving up." .