Cell-tower plans to be reviewed by Port of South Whidbey

The Port of South Whidbey will need to ask the state whether a cell-phone tower proposed by AT&T can be placed on a ridge above Possession Point Waterfront Park.

“We’ve conducted an exhaustive search of the records, but no definitive documentation has been found to answer whether the hilltop property was originally encumbered in 1985,” said port manager Ed Field.

“Personally, I believe the land is not encumbered and that negotiations with AT&T can continue,” noted Port Commissioner Geoff Tapert. “My understanding is there was a revised and reduced legal description issued in 1987, but we haven’t found it yet.”

Last week, port commissioners directed staff to ask the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office for a decision.

Local homeowners have protested the tower’s construction on the grounds it will hurt the park’s forest environment. AT&T representatives have said the tower will provide increased coverage throughout South Whidbey and improve wireless and emergency 911 phone reception, as well as high-speed broadband Internet service.

The lease area would be approximately 40 feet by 40 feet, surrounded by a cedar fence located roughly 35 feet from the popular Dorothy Cleveland Trail. The 140-foot-high cell tower would be painted to match the existing tree color, and only the top 20 percent of the tower would be seen above the tree line, proponents said.

The next port meeting will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 11.

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