Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Reality Check at Ruby Hill Park

When I watched the Channel 8 tape of the City Council Zoning meeting of June 13, 2007, I couldn't believe the BS coming from the mouth of Kathleen MacKenzie, current lame duck City Council Representative for District 7. Is this woman loony? Xcel "forcing transmission lines down the throats of the Council"? "Let them eat chemotherapy?" "Penetrating our Sacred View Planes". WTF? Did I miss something here? Is Xcel really trying to destroy Ruby Hill Park with ugly giant poles? Has she gone off the deep end? Let's take a deep breath and do a reality check there, Ms. MacKenzie.

So my partner and I went to Ruby Hill Park on Saturday, June 23, at midday. Here's what we found:

1. Ruby Hill Park is no gem. The concrete barricades (cruising prevention?), open construction pits, standing water, and general lack of care have rendered it shabby. We saw only two groups of two people in the park the hour that we were there - two at the swimming pool and two at the pavilion.

2. Before we start I should reveal my own bias. I think all electric lines should be underground (in a perfect world) and I think that View Planes are a silly idea - especially Sacred View Planes (more on that later).

Just south of Pecos and Mexico at the west edge of park.

What's on the ground now. Note the edge of the park in the background, and the very tall radio tower.

You can't drive to the reference point (from which the view is to be viewed) because of the barriers, but you can still walk there.

The actual View Plane reference point (not as nice as those with a brass marker).

Part of the actual view (composite of two photographs, unretouched).

Closer view showing the two towers at the northwest corner of the park, "penetrating" the Sacred View Plane.

OK, now we know what's there. We can probably all agree the electric transmission lines are ugly, especially in a park, unless you consider their function and like your electricity. But that's what has been allowed.

What's being proposed. These towers are just to the south of the park, but provide a striking comparison of the old and new. Note the new one appears a bit taller than the old. Xcel wants to replace 5 of the old with the new in the park.

Massive Sacred View Plane (blue) and small Ruby Hill Park (approximate, in purple)

Google Earth view of approximately the same area.

To Be Continued...


  1. Anonymous3:30 PM

    Reality Check -- Satellite photos and topographical schematics??? Looks like that crazy bully Brown and his CRL/Xcel Buddies are hard at work to portray Denver's most courageous City Council member as a loon. Have you ever seen Brown's facial expressions and loony eyes -- now that is someone to be worried about not to mention what he does.

    Ruby Hill Park could be a Gem -- that is the point about which Diane Carmann writes so eloquently -- if those awful towers were taken down and buried.
    Yes -- when you live at the edge of the Rocky Mountains, view planes are important unless you have an "economic" relationship with CRL, Xcel's lobbyist.

  2. Anonymous4:09 AM

    I find it curious that anyone in a neighborhood would go to great lengths with sophisticated photos and diagrams to subvert a legitimate effort to enhance Ruby Hill Park in which Xcel's lines would be taken down. Believe the author of this "Reality Check" is just another Xcel pawn, much like Brown.

    The reality check is that Xcel which has just settled with the IRS for tens of millions of dollars in a tax cheating scandal is not doing the right thing in a community from which it derives a substantil portion of its revenues.

    MacKenzie shows courage by standing up to Xcel, whereas Brown is the real loon along with other council members who may join him.

  3. Anonymous10:29 AM

    The fundamental point that Councilwoman MacKenzie is making is very valid.

    City Council should NOT be imposing a legistlative end-run around the Planning Board. If Xcel wishes to appeal the (quasi-judicial) Planning Board's denial of Xcel's application for a variance from the Ruby Hill Park View Plan ordinance, it is at liberty to do so. That appeal would be heard before the Colorado Public Utilities commission (a quasi-judicial body).

    City Council has no business inserting themselves into this process, and for Councilman Brown to submit this legislation (without tellling MacKenzie) is both ill-advised and an affront to those who do believe that our views of the Rocky Mountains should be protected.

    It's not as if Xcel (PSCo) hasn't had nearly 30 years to prepare to come into compliance with the View Plane Ordinance and it's not as if there isn't a viable alternative to disfiguring the skyline.

    Check out some very interesting pictures of what this will look like at