KRSN nails first hurdle in quest to house satellite off North Mesa

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By Carol A. Clark

A packed room full of supporters cheered along with the owners of KRSN AM 1490 as the Parks and Recreation Board unanimously approved a request that essentially moves along the process for the station to acquire land at Loma Linda Park to house its satellite.

Transferring the satellite from its current location in White Rock to the town site will greatly enhance reception, owner David Sutton said, adding that reception in White Rock can be maintained through the purchase of a 10-watt booster.

Former Sen. Pete Domenici endorsed KRSN through e-mail from Washington, D.C., while Sec Sandoval and Gene Mortensen were among local notables who spoke Thursday evening in the Aquatic Center conference room.

“Without this radio station there would be no Los Alamos sports,” Mortensen said.

He spoke of witnessing how much time, effort and money the Suttons have poured into KRSN and urged the board to approve their request.

“This is the last resort, if it doesn’t get approved – I think they’re gone. It would be a crime not to have a radio station in Los Alamos.”

Sandoval described his frustration with intermittent reception problems when he listens to ball games on KRSN. He even drove down to White Rock to hear a game when Denver played Los Alamos, he said.

“This is a community station and by golly we need it,” Sandoval said.

Enthusiastic applause broke out from the crowd, which topped 50 people.

A woman from United Way told the board that the Suttons donate airtime to area charities, the station is an important emergency resource and an historical icon.

The antenna in question will equal the north water tower in height, owner Gillian Sutton said, and require 2-2.5 acres of land.

The property falls under County Land Preservation status and must be removed from that designation by county council.

KRSN also will be required to pay a yet to be determined fee to the county for using the land.

“We look at appraised value and by state law have to charge a certain percentage,” Community Services Director Stephani Johnson said.

Noting the strong support in the room, Johnson told the board it was her duty to present the parks department’s opinion.

“While we appreciate that this (KRSN) is a public service, we believe that this is inappropriate use of park land,” Johnson said, adding, “Our professional opinion on this will be a very small part of the process.”

Steve Boerighter read the following motion that passed 6-0:

“PRB, recognizing the important community service provided by KRSN, recommend the modification of the Parks Master Plan and County Land Preservation status, to make provision for the KRSN antenna.”

The Suttons now face the Interdepartment Review Committee (IDRC) followed by the Planning and Zoning Board before making their final plea for approval to county council.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.