Briefing and Purpose

Background on Sutro Tower

Sutro Tower, Inc. owns and operates a 977 foot high television and radio-broadcasting tower located on top of Mount Sutro, less than one half city block from residential neighborhoods in the center of San Francisco, California. Sutro Tower, Inc. has no connection with this web site.

Sutro Tower, Inc. has recently expanded the structure to include a 125 ft. tall beam which holds digital television (DTV) broadcasting antennas. This expansion should have been subject to environmental impact review, and Sutro Tower, Inc. presented to the City Planning Department of the City of San Francisco a preliminary Environmental Impact Report (EIR) which has been reviewed. An earlier "seismic retrofit" to the tower was approved by the City and completed - although it appears that this retrofit was primarily sufficient to help the tower hold the weight of the new antenna, not to improve its performance in a serious quake. At hearings on the EIR, the Board of Supervisors asked Sutro Tower, Inc. to conduct a (computerized) dynamic analysis of the tower's potential performance under the stresses of a major earthquake - this in response to the urging of neighborhood groups.

A dynamic analysis of the tower's response to an earthquake scenario was performed. The report on this analysis shows that the tower would withstand a particular type of earthquake only if reinforced at over 370 points.

The DTV expansion will undoubtedly extend the life of the tower, in a commercial sense, beyond what was anticipated even a few years ago.

Neighbors and neighborhood groups have responded to the EIR, and individuals have expressed reservation, opposition or have raised questions with respect to many factors having to do with the presence of this tower in a residential neighborhood within the city.

Neighborhood groups filed a lawsuit against the City of San Francisco because of the way the building permit process was conducted and because the tower contains (by Sutro Tower's own count) over 118 antennae which were added without building permits.

Background on This Site

This site contains information on the tower, and on the ongoing controversy through 2005. The site was maintained as a public service and the views expressed herein do not represent those of Sutro Tower, Inc. (unless quoted from materials released by Sutro Tower), of the stations which broadcast from (or own) the tower, of the site sponsor, or of any group unless otherwise stated in the materials themselves. The site is privately funded without the direct assistance of community groups, although we try to track up-to-the-minute information from these groups.

Nancy Hogan, of the Twin Peaks Improvement Association has written up a brief history of the tower and current history of Sutro Tower DTV expansion plans.

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