08.01.2003 12:00 PM
County Commission approves Lookout Mountain tower plan

The effort of Denver broadcasters to meet the FCC’s mandated 2006 deadline for DTV got a boost last week as county commissioners approved a plan to erect a 730-foot tower on Lookout Mountain.



The plan for the Lookout Mountain tower calls for the transmitting site to encompass 81 acres, eight of which will contain the tower and the 20,000-square-foot building to house transmitting equipment.

The tower has been the focus of debate in the community with some residents voicing fears to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners that the new DTV tower would lower property values, interfere with the home electronics of neighboring residents and heighten health risks as a result of RF exposure.

However, the commission voted unanimously July 23 to approve the plan of the Lake Cedar Group, a consortium of four local broadcasters, KCNC Channel 4, KMGH Channel 7, KUSA Channel 9 and KTVD Channel 20. The plan for the Lookout Mountain tower calls for the transmitting site to encompass 81 acres, eight of which will contain the tower and the 20,000-square-foot building to house transmitting equipment. The new Lookout Mountain tower will replace three existing large towers and several smaller ones on the mountain.

Deb Carney, attorney for Canyon Area Residents for the Environment, a group representing dozens of homeowner associations opposed to the tower, called the commission’s decision a “colossally big mistake” and “the worst decision ever handed down.” She also contended that the tower would cause “human suffering” which is “beyond my comprehension."

One of the thorniest issues raised by the plan is the consequences of exposure to RF radiation to humans. The Colorado Department of Health and Environment conducted a study in 1999 that found elevated cancer rates at certain areas of Lookout Mountain. The cause was not addressed.

However, Jefferson county commissioners said health concerns should be satisfied by research showing a reduction in radiation levels at the majority of sites tested. Results of a Colorado State University RF study at the mountain are due next year.

Work on the new tower could begin as soon as spring 2004 with construction taking about a year, according to the Lake Cedar Group.

The county commission’s approval could face a court challenge.

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