The Pasadena Star-News reports Covina, CA residents are upset over Salem’s KRLA-AM plans to install five 285-foot radio towers in their hillside community. The towers would be built on a 73-acre plot owned by Salem. Each three-legged tower will have a medium intensity strobe light at the top to notify low-flying aircraft.
"I don’t want to see red lights flashing at night," said Jean Mullens, who lives in the unincorporated Covina Highland area between Grand Avenue and Forest Lawn Covina Hills. "This is one of the last preserved open spaces we have here in the San Gabriel Valley."
Residents recently launched five weather balloons about 285 feet in the sky to give neighbors a first-hand look at the space the towers would take up.
The county has received nearly 200 letters in opposition to the project, including letters from the West Covina and Walnut city councils, according to Anita Gutierrez, a regional planner with the county.
The towers are needed to increase signal strength for the station during evening hours, Salem said. Salem Communications Consultant Dennis Ciapura told the paper the balloon demonstration doesn’t show the correct impact.
Ciapura said the towers are needed because of FCC regulations. The Glendale, CA- based station can transmit a 50,000 watt signal during the day but only a 3,000 watt signal at night.
"To get the nighttime power and signal we require more towers," Ciapura said. "The greater Los Angeles area has grown tremendously since we first constructed in Glendale; we need to bring it up to pace."
Project plans include grading and bulldozing the site, removing approximately 10 oak trees and pruning and trimming 27 trees.
"We will be putting back more oak trees than we are taking down," Ciapura said. "We will make the area environmentally better than it is now."
Supervisor Michael Antonovich oversees the area but is precluded from passing judgement on the project, spokesman Tony Bell told the paper.
They are currently in the process of gathering an environmental impact report and it should be completed within six to 12 months.