The little battle of Big Horn:I am writing to you from Story, Wyoming, a little village of 600 people nestled against the Big Horn Mountains, twenty miles from Sheridan. I recently read Michael Roberts's January 24 "Tower Failure." Boy, it really struck home for me.
I have a pottery shop right on the edge of our town, and this winter, my neighbor to the east of me got a 500-foot radio tower approved by our county commissioners, even though there was a great deal of protest from our town. (The town, obviously, is not wealthy.) We made all of the points that were mentioned in Roberts's article concerning Lookout Mountain: health, safety, lifestyle, visual impact, etc. The commissioners just blew us off and sided with a radio monopolist from Maryland. It was very discouraging, to say the least.
High ideals:As a resident of the Mount Vernon Canyon area, I am glad to see renewed attention to the controversial issue regarding antenna-tower location and the risks associated with current sites and proposed new ones. I appreciate Westword's devoting space so that your readers can follow the discourse. The fact is, the antenna wars are finally reaching a climax: In the next two or three months, the Jefferson County Planning Commission will be reviewing what should be the last proposals from the organizations behind the Eldorado Mountain, Mount Morrison and Lookout Mountain sites. After that, our county commissioners will make a decision as to where future high-definition television (HDTV) "supertowers" (between 400 and 600 feet high) will be located. They have to: The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that Denver (along with 49 other markets in the U.S.) be HDTV-compliant by 2006. (They were supposed to be "ready" for such changeover at the end of 1999.) As Michael Roberts noted, the clock is ticking.
This controversy has been looked at in many ways: money-hungry, selfish landowners/broadcasters versus environmentalists; supporters of progress and technology versus not-in-my-back-yarders; and HDTV users versus the health-and-safety radicals. What the public and Jefferson County commissioners must do is sift through the hyperbole and allow this decision to be based on what is best for those who live or work near such antennas.
I urge readers to get informed and get involved. We choose to live in Colorado and, more specifically, in the foothills for many reasons; certainly, health, safety and aesthetics are among them. We all care about our community and maintaining its qualities for our children and future generations.