Residents of Aspen Heights Subdivision met with the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners Nov. 26 to petition their decision to approve the conditional use permit for a Verizon Wireless cell phone tower made Oct. 9.
Resident Debbie Madsen said she has a petition with 75 signatures from homeowners surrounding the lot of the slated cell tower arguing that they weren’t given the right of due process and that they want the commissioners to re-open the matter and consider public comment.
“We were disfranchised and given incorrect information that changed the course and due process affecting the outcome of this matter,” Madsen said.
She argued that when Verizon appealed the decision Oct. 9, they introduced the idea of making the tower a monopole, therefore presenting new evidence warranting a comment from the citizens present. This however was denied because a public hearing was held with the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commissioners.
Madsen said another discrepancy in due process is a written decision by the commissioner has yet to be delivered to the surrounding homeowners.
Before moving forward, County Attorney Weston Davis advised the commissioners to not proceed with the discussion.
“You have an issue here with written and final decision and it seems to me like the appropriate medium anytime a decision is issued, that a written decision be issued and that an appeal be filed on that written decision,” he said.
Taking that into consideration, the commissioners suggested Madsen and fellow residents to return after receiving the written decision at a later date.
“We’re not trying to stall you or throw you out but it’s just the process,” Commissioner Brian Farnsworth said. “If you think we erred in our judgment or in our decision, put that in your appeal and bring it back before us or the District Court, which ever you choose.”
During the Oct. 9 meeting Sherman & Howard Law Firm Attorney Christian Hendrickson of Denver said that when planning and zoning came to their final decision in July, they didn’t cite their reasons why, other than stating that this is in the best interest for the surrounding homeowners who spoke in opposition during the meeting.
“The simple fact is, there is going to be no way to mitigate it and make it perfect for both parties,” Commissioner Warren Albertson said July 5. “We have the petition and I think that bears a lot of weight.”
Hendrickson said based on the county code and the federal law, planning and zoning’s reasoning is insufficient. Furthermore, according to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 there has to be a detailed reason as to why a cell tower is denied, which was not supplied and heath concerns cannot be taken into consideration.
“I have general concerns about the health but until they come out with a ruling that can prove this causes the effects they say, our hands a kind of tied,” Farnsworth said. “Not being able to take that into consideration limits what we can do.”