From Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman on May 6, 2016:
Thank you all for your emails regarding the proposed construction of an alternative tower structure at 51 Grape Street. Since I did not know of the proposal until the neighborhood did I asked for a briefing with Community Planning and Development on Wednesday afternoon so I could give more information to you. There are some important points regarding this proposal.
- Despite the fact that the application for the alternative tower structure says “Zoning Permit” – this is not a request to change the zoning of the property to allow the structure.
- The alternative tower structure is already a permitted use within the property’s current zoning. The actual zoning of the property remains the same, so City Council has no jurisdiction over this matter. Decision is made by city zoning staff.
- 51 N Grape St Notification Letter
- 50 N Grape St ZPIN Submittal & Updated Application
Here is a photo of the alternative structure.
It is made to look like an evergreen tree with the transmitters among the branches at the top.
- Anyone can send in comments about the proposed structure.
- Comments should be sent to Stephen.Elkins@denvergov.org
- The comment period ends at 4:30pm on Thursday, May 26, 2016
- All comments in opposition must refer to criteria for alternative tower structures written in the code found in Sections 11.5.2.B.3 and 220.127.116.11 and show how the proposed structure does not meet one or more of the review criteria.
- Since the proposal is an “alternative tower structure” it is allowed in residential zones but requires posting of the intent to construct, comment period, etc.
The sections of the zoning code related to this application are:
- Review Criteria – The review criteria for the application is detailed in the Denver Zoning Code (DZC), Section 11.5.2.B.3. See https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/community-planning-and-development/zoning/denver-zoning-code.html
- Intent Criteria – Detailed in Section 18.104.22.168.A of the code
The intent of this Section 11.5.2 is to establish regulations for telecommunications facilities to achieve the following goals:
1. To protect residential areas and lands by minimizing adverse impacts of towers;
2. To encourage the location of towers in nonresidential Zone Districts;
3. To minimize the total number of towers in the community;
4. To encourage the joint use of new and existing tower locations;
5. To ensure that towers are located in areas that minimizes adverse impacts;
6. To ensure towers and antennas are configured in a way that minimizes adverse visual impacts by careful design, appropriate siting, landscape screening, and innovative camouflaging techniques;
7. To enhance the ability to provide telecommunications services to the community quickly, effectively and efficiently;
8. To consider public health and safety of telecommunications facilities;
9. To avoid damage to adjacent properties from tower failure through careful engineering and locating of tower structures;
10. To encourage the attachment of antennas to existing structures; and
11. To facilitate the provision of telecommunications services throughout the city
- See Also: Requirements for Alternative Tower Structures – Section 22.214.171.124.E.4 and other criteria in the zoning code section
Will be issued and posted during the week of June 6, 2016
- If the alternative structure is allowed, residents will have 15 days to appeal the decision to the Board of Adjustment. There is a $300 fee to appeal a decision.
- If the structure is denied, the applicant (Verizon Wireless) will also have the opportunity to appeal to the Board of Adjustment.
- Any further appeals will go through Denver District Court.
For those of you that have voiced specific concerns to me:
- Why is this proposal being made? The current wireless towers are at their maximum capacity and the city’s planning department has been informed to expect as many as 600 new applications (from all wireless carriers) this year. The majority of these applications are for building and rooftop mounted antenna facilities. The increase in Denver’s population and the fact that there are limited cellular infrastructure in the city makes Denver one of the worst cities in the country for wireless servicehttp://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_29608292/denver-among-5-worst-cities-125-mobile-performance. In low density residential neighborhoods, there are fewer opportunities to place a tower on top of a multi-story building, so the application has been made for the alternative tower structure.
- How stable is it? The tower is required to have concrete footers buried underground, so it will be much more stable than a tree.
- Where are there other towers? Map of all telecommunication towers within Denver. Community Planning and Development is working on a map of all telecommunication towers within Denver and expect to have this completed in a few months.
- What about health concerns? Below are links to several sites with information on this concern:
- American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/cellular-phone-towers
- National Institute of Health: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/electromagneticfields.html
- Federal Communications Commission: https://www.fcc.gov/engineering-technology/electromagnetic-compatibility-division/radio-frequency-safety/faq/rf-safety
Mary Beth Susman, City Council District 5