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Radio tower permit on tap; Burney critics say mountain site not appropriate  

Credit:  By Alayna Shulman, Redding Record Searchlight, www.redding.com 9 March 2011 ~~

Shasta County planning commissioners today will consider granting a use permit for a 120-foot radio tower in Burney that would go up near the controversial wind turbines that some residents said ruined their rural town’s skyline.

The tower would broadcast Southern Oregon University’s Jefferson Public Radio and sit on Hatchet Mountain, about 6.5 miles northwest of the intersection of Highway 299 and Bunch Grass Lookout Road near the Hatchet Ridge wind power project.

Shasta County Senior Planner Bill Walker said because the tower would be only 120 feet tall compared to the wind turbines’ roughly 420 feet, it isn’t likely to cause an aesthetic problem.

“You’re going to notice the wind turbines a long time before you ever notice the radio tower,” he said.

But Burney resident David Larson, 70, who was a member of the Save the Burney Skyline group opposed to the turbines, said he thinks these kinds of projects make the Intermountain area less appealing and don’t belong there.

“The tourists don’t come here to see wind turbines and radio towers,” he said.

Walker argued that Hatchet Mountain is a good place for a new radio tower because of its elevation at 5,560 feet above sea level.

And since the mountain already has the 44 wind turbines and about a dozen other communications towers, an additional tower won’t affect the view much, Walker said.

“This would be located near one of those existing groups of towers,” he said. “It’s not really making a significant difference.”

But Larson said he thinks the turbines opened the door for similar projects in Burney, and it won’t be long before the area is overrun with them.

“They’re going to pave over the Intermountain area just like they did the Bay Area,” he said. “These projects are going to be the beginning of that kind of a thing. They’ve broken the barrier on that kind of development.”

Walker said it’s not likely the tower would be visible from downtown Burney anyway, and the initial study for the use permit says the project would have a “less than significant impact” on the visual appeal of the surrounding area.

But it’s possible it could be seen from Round Mountain or Montgomery Creek, he said.

Earlier this week, the Burney Chamber of Commerce received the first $100,000 installment of the $1.1 million Community Benefit Agreement, which came about as a way to compensate for the aesthetic issues associated with the wind turbines.

Chamber President Scott Brulc said he’s not worried that another tower would hurt Burney’s appeal.

“That’s nothing compared to what’s up there,” he said. “They’re certainly dwarfed by the wind turbines.”

Larson agreed that another radio tower isn’t as bad as the wind turbines, but he said neither of them belongs in Burney, and the county puts these projects in eastern Shasta County so they don’t have to deal with them.

“We’re in Siberia,” he said.

Walker said if planning commissioners approve the use permit, the tower would likely be built sometime this summer.

If you go

What: Shasta County Planning Commission meeting

When: 2 p.m. today

Where: Shasta County Administration Center, 1450 Court St., Suite 263, Redding

Agenda includes: Request for a use permit to build a 120-foot radio tower on Hatchet Mountain in Burney

[rest of article available at source]

Source:  By Alayna Shulman, Redding Record Searchlight, www.redding.com 9 March 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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