A request by Manassas religious television station to build a 629-foot communications tower near Burke Lake was turned down last week by the Fairfax County Planning Commission.The recommendation now goes to the Board of Supervisors, which is expected to decide the issue at its Dec. 8 meeting.
Channel 66, operated by National Capital Christian Broadcasting Inc., has requested a special exception to construct the tower so it could expand its broadcasting area to the entire metropolitan area. The station broadcasts 13 hours a day, primarily religious programs.
The tower, which could also be used by another TV station, radio and other communication systems, was planned to replace a 380-foot tower off Rte. 123 on Outlet Road, just south of Fairfax Station and east of Clifton.
Residents near the site opposed the new tower, saying it would be an eyesore that would lower their property values. They also said ice could form on the tower and fall on houses near it, the tower might collapse on the houses and it might expose nearby residents to microwave radiation.
Consultants for the station told the commission the new tower would be able to withstand winds up to 600 mph, but if it should fall, it would collapse in a small area because of the cables holding it.
Minerva Andrews, attorney for the station, told the planning commission the tower "won't be visible to people nearby because it will just disappear up" into the sky. "It's the people who live five miles away who will see the tower."
The level of microwave radiation from the tower would be less than that from the present one, a spokesman for the station said, and would be "far below any level that could create a biological hazzard."