Sixty-Year-Old Towers Continue to Stir Controversy
Two, 325 foot radio transmission towers have been stirring controversy since their construction in 1954…and the saga continues. The towers, used by KGEZ(AM) – the second oldest station in Montana, were originally built on the outskirts of town along U.S. 93 south, two miles from the nearest airport.
Because of their height, the towers violated FAA standards. So, for over 60 years, these towers have posed a challenge, which is now coming to an end as KGEZ moves its headquarters to downtown Kalispell, with the towers in tow, reported the Flathead Dispatch.
Residents near the new location are voicing their concerns. One resident filed an appeal with the county stating, “the towers would negatively impact the surrounding properties and violate zoning standards.”
The Flathead County Planning Department is receiving pushback. Residents are concerned about the tower’s flashing lights, potential threats to migratory birds, and the fact that the project is commercial development, which is strictly regulated in the West Valley Neighborhood Plan, reported the Flathead Dispatch.
Flathead Valley native and KGEZ owner John Hendricks insists he’s not trying to hurt neighbors’ property values. He noted the radio station has focused on being “kind and respectful” to residents and built a strong community reputation. In response to concerns surrounding the relocation, Hendricks stated that “the towers will follow strict federal regulations that prevent any human-health hazards,” and “the flashing lights help deter birds and are pointed upward to reduce light pollution on the ground.”
According to Flathead County Planning Director Mark Mussman, the communication towers are considered acceptable within the West Valley district. The Flathead County Board of Adjustment is set to review the conditional use permit request at its August 1 meeting.