No Settlement on Denver DTV Tower

Rocky Mountain News reported last week that Jefferson County commissioners voted against a settlement agreement with Lake Cedar Group, representing the broadcasters building a DTV tower on Lookout Mountain. The county wanted to reach an agreement that would limit the number of towers in exchange for the county agreeing not to appeal the bill signed by President Bush allowing construction of the DTV tower without some local approvals.

Residents living near the Lookout Mountain tower site voiced strong opposition to the tower during a two-hour comment period at the public hearing on the settlement agreement. Deborah Frazier's Rocky Mountain News article "Jeffco Rejects `final offer' on digital tower" has details on the hearing and comments from the residents. It quotes Marv Rockford, spokesman for Lake Cedar Group, saying that the broadcasters are proceeding with the building, "full speed away." Also see Ann Schrader's article "Lookout tower flap to return to court" in the Denver Post.

The Lake Cedar Group Web site, does not have any references to the Jefferson County Commissioners' rejection of the settlement, but does say work is underway and the tower should be operational "approximately 15 to 18 months from the start of the building process."

The Canyon Area Residents for the Environment Web site, has more information on the public hearing, including an open letter to Lake Cedar Group and the managers of the stations that belong to it refuting comments from Marv Rockford, and arguing, "As indicated by FCC records published in The Denver Post Dec. 10, 2006, after passage of the recent federal legislation, coverage from the Squaw Mountain alternative is virtually identical to coverage from Lookout Mountain."

In an update filed this Monday, C.A.R.E. quoted a letter from the Jefferson County Attorney's Office stating, "The County's zoning authority is not preempted by Public Law 109-466 (`the Act'). As an initial matter, Lake Cedar has failed to demonstrate that is has valid and current FCC permits entitling it to construct or install its towers and antennas. Without such a showing, the Act does not apply. Even if Lake Cedar does have current FCC permits, the Act provides only that Lake Cedar has the right to place a tower and/or antennas at a particular location. It does not prohibit the County from placing reasonable conditions on Lake Cedar's operations in order to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Jefferson County."

The battle for DTV broadcasting on Lookout Mountain does not appear to have ended with the signing of S.4092 Dec. 22 last year.