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No Supertowers on Eldorado Mountain (Your Help Is Needed!)


by Unknown

February 20, 2001

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

Anyone who has ever climbed in Eldorado Canyon or even heard of Eldorado Canyon, located just outside of Boulder, CO- We need your help! You saved Eldo from the rock quarrys. Now we need your help to save it from the Super Antennae.

On November 1st, 2000 Pinnacle Towers, Inc. of Sarasota Florida submitted a preliminary application to rezone a forty acre parcel of land in Jefferson County adjacent to Eldorado Canyon State Park and Boulder City Open Space, for a major expansion of the existing radio broadcasting site.

The Planned-Development rezoning would permit development of a regional telecommunication tower and antennae consolidation site, which would enable the relocation of dozens of towers and hundreds of antennae currently on Lookout Mountain in Golden and elsewhere, and provide a permanent site for Denver metropolitan region digital TV broadcasting.

The existing Eldorado Mountain telecommunications site in Jefferson County, located immediately south of the Boulder County line, operates under a Special Use permit that was originally obtained in 1981 without public comment, and only allows one 60 foot tower and one 180 foot tower. Preliminary Application Already Filed Prior to Thanksgiving, Pinnacle held the required preliminary meeting at the Jefferson County Center to present the Official Development Plan (ODP) to impacted communities and concerned citizens. Meeting attendees had the opportunity to ask questions to the Pinnacle attorney and their other consultants. Using the input received at the meeting and comments from the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Staff, Pinnacle will revise the plan to make it more acceptable to the Planning Commission.

As of this date, Pinnacle has not filed its formal application with the revised ODP and Supporting Documents. When the required application documents are received, the Planning and Zoning Department will request public comment on the plan prior to the first meeting of the Planning Commission. All concerned citizens are encouraged to attend the meeting and may present testimony for the case record. Major Impacts Cannot be Mitigated The visual impacts to the region are potentially huge, ireversible, and will forever marr the natural beauty of the Jefferson County north mountains backdrop area near Eldorado Canyon State Park and South Boulder. The breathtakingly beautiful southern corridor entrance to Boulder will be spoiled. Probable health impacts related to long-term exposure to high levels of RF electromagnetic emissions will blight the neighboring communities of Plainview, Eldorado Springs, and Crescent Park. Parks, Open Space, and Communities at Risk The quality of life associated with the protected parks and open space lands in this region has taken decades of community vision, hard work and voter-approved financing to create and maintain. For more than a generation already, Eldorado Mountain and Eldorado Canyon has been a citizens' battleground against proposals for large quarries, dams and residential subdivisions, and now our way of life is threatened by the Pinnacle Tower plan.

Among the expected impacts are the invasion of the foothills with supertowers up to 450 feet high and the proliferation of a yet- undisclosed number of smaller structures for a large variety of telecommunications uses. The preliminary Official Development Plan allows for unlimited development of structures for an unlimited number of antennae and would provide facilities to enable the relocation and consolidation of all existing and proposed towers and antennae on Lookout Mountain and elsewhere in the Denver metropolitan area and provide a permanent home for DTV broadcasting for the entire Denver-metro area.

Click here to visit the People for Eldorado Mountain Website and see for yourself the potential impact of these towers.

Visible for miles in all directions, the proposed white daytime strobe lights and nighttime red lights will become a permanent annoyance for residents and visitors who come to recreate and enjoy mountain scenery.

The proposed consolidation site and antennae farm would have a devastating effect on the scenic beauty of Jefferson County Open Space, Eldorado Canyon State Park, City of Boulder Mountain Parks, Boulder County Open Space, and all other residential and business properties in the Eldorado Mountain viewshed.

Over 250,000 people visit the State Park per year, and many more hundreds of thousands of people visit the Boulder Open Space trailheads. Many heavily-used recreational areas will suffer visual intrusion: Eldorado Canyon State Park, except for the deepest parts of the canyon; Doudy Draw, Marshall Mesa, Southern end of Mesa Trail, Redgarden trail, West Ridge trail, Eldorado Trail, parts of Denver Water board trail - south of Eldorado Drive, Shadow Canyon trail, Big Bluestem trail, Homestead trail, Towhee trail, Crescent Meadow; Flagstaff Road, Gross Reservoir road, etc. The Allard-Udall proposed Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge will have a panoramic view of the supertowers and antenna farm.

Thousands of rock climbers and other park users--many visiting from out of state and other parts of the Denver metro area--will be impacted by the grotesque metalic structures intruding in the natural beauty of the park. Rock climbers visiting Mickey Mouse Wall will be subjected to major visual degradation of this now world-class climbing site, known for the quality of the outdoor experience.

The Pinnacle plan would permanently take away the now beautiful view of the mountains for many residential areas in Plainview, Eldorado Springs, Crescent Park, South Boulder Creek, Marshall, Eldorado Springs, Flagstaff, not to mention Rock Creek, Louisville, Broomfield, and Interlocken whose economic vigor depends on the high quality of life associated with this part of Colorado. Increased Radio Frequency EM Emissions Pose Health Risk for Residents A potentially more serious impact is the likelihood of permanent abnormal levels of Radio Frequency electromagnetic emissions in local communities. Non-thermal biological effects have been demonstrated to be caused by exposure to even modest field levels. The Pinnacle ODP would allow over 20 million watts of radiated power to be broadcast from Eldorado Mountain. This extremely high-powered broadcasting from a single location will predictably raise RF electromagnetic field strength to unacceptably high levels in local communities.

Residents living in these areas believe that the plan to relocate towers and antennae from Lookout Mountain--where they are suspected to have caused increased cancer rates--is grievously unethical and may cause long-term health problems as alleged by numerous reports and some scientific studies. Resulting high-energy electrical fields in local public areas would be hazardous to people wearing pacemakers or using wheelchairs, and could interfere with the use of other electronic devices.

Jefferson County should hold Pinnacle Towers to the highest environmental standards and require them to demonstrate that the residents in local neighborhoods and visitors in the parks and open space areas are involuntarily exposed to any possible health risks and do not experience biological effects caused by the emissions. The existing proposal is grossly inadequate in addressing the effects of electromagnetic emissions on local residents and visitors.

Danger to Migratory and Nesting Birds Eldorado Mountain is part of a highly-frequented bird migration corridor and high-density bird breeding area. According to the 1998 Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas, the Eldorado Springs block has the second greatest number of observed species in the state. Also, the Colorado Bird Observatory, which counts raptors during raptor migration along the hogbacks of the Front Range, observed over 5000 individual raptors in the spring months of 1999. A large number of these pass over Eldorado Mountain. There are also breeding peregrine falcons in nearby habitat conservation land. In all areas near the tower there will be an increased danger of death to migrating birds due to tower collision. Eggs of nesting raptors at Mickey Mouse Wall may never hatch and the young may never develop normally. Pinnacle Towers has not demonstrated how the proposed towers and broadcasting transmitters will not harm in any way the migrating or breeding bird populations on Eldorado Mountain. Pinnacle Seeks Exemption from County Regulations Importantly, the proposed Development Plan would exempt Pinnacle Towers from future Jefferson County regulations that may be inconsistent with their ODP. Jefferson County may try to place restrictions or request mitigation of impacts, but Pinnacle will be only regulated by the FCC and the County does not have the resources or expertise to properly regulate the site. It is unacceptable that an out of state corporation demand exemption from county regulations that are intended to protect local residents and property owners. Jefferson County has the responsibility to require that the enterprises of companies like Pinnacle Towers, Inc. do not harm the health, safety, and welfare of anyone, regardless of their county of residence or community membership.

Planned Development Rezoning of Eldorado Foothills is Unprecedented.

If approved, the Pinnacle plan would set a negative land use precedent by introducing an incompatible, large-scale industrial development in the mountain backdrop near Eldorado Canyon. Moreover, approval of the Pinnacle Tower plan may encourage the Asphalt Paving Company to ressurect its tremendously unpopular open-pit mine proposal for South Draw in Eldorado Canyon, and the health of the enviroment would spiral radically downward with two intensive commercial land uses immediately adjacent to the State Park, public open space lands and residential communities.

Suitable Alternative Sites Exist

Other suitable alternative sites must be considered for the antennae relocation/consolidation site and DTV towers. Many Midwestern American cities such as Houston, Kansas City, and Minneapolis, for example, have digital television and radio broadcast facilities located on the plains. Few cities in the USA have the option of using mountains as pedestals for telecommunications towers, and we must not be led into believing that Eldorado mountain is the only choice for such a major development. A site should be chosen that represents a regional solution and respects the mountain backdrop and that is not visually intrusive to thousands of people on a daily basis.

(By Eric Johnson for People for Eldorado Mountain)


Citizens are urged write letters to the Jefferson County Commissioners to express their concerns about the proposal to place digital TV towers on Eldorado Mountain. The prospect is that all of the Radio and TV transmission facilities currently on Lookout Mountain and Mt. Morrison could be moved to Eldorado Mountain.

A strong showing of public concern will make a difference. Letters should be written now since the Tower Proposal decision may advance very quickly. To assist your letter writing, flyers that include a sample letter, addresses where to write, and a list of key points are avaliable here. You are also urged to download, print and distribute these flyers.

Complete Letter Writing Guide (PDF 49k)

Same in HTML Format.

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