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Help save our green spaces | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To the editor:
The Port of South Whidbey Commissioners (Curt Gordon, Chris Jerome & Dennis Gregoire, and former Commissioner Geoff Tapert) have approved a lease with AT&T for the construction of a 140-foot mono-pole cell tower within public parklands on Possession Point ridge.
The top of the tower would extend 550 feet above Cultus Bay and Possession Beach creating an eyesore for many residents in nearby communities, including Sandy Hook, Possession Beach, Scatchet Head and Possession Ridge.
It would require clearing a swath of forested land adjacent to the beautiful Dorothy Cleveland Trail. A 500-feet-long by 20-feet-wide area would be cleared to build a gravel access road, destroying over three dozen trees along the natural path used by hikers to access the trail from the west. This creates a water run-off hazard and could disturb underground springs, streams and watershed.
Environmental damage would result since the proposed site is in a geologically sensitive area, on a steep slope, near the crest of Possession Ridge. Significant impact is likely for wildlife, especially birds, since this upland forest is home to a wide variety of local birds, is an adjacent bald eagle habitat and is a stopping-off point for many migratory bird species.
Significant light pollution would result from required aircraft warning and migratory bird diverter systems, such as flashing red lights. Serious noise pollution would occur due to alarms and backup generators, especially for the adjoining neighborhood located less than 165 feet from the tower.
Does AT&T need to build a tower in this location to provide South Whidbey with improved service? Emphatically, no! Equally good service could be provided elsewhere. In fact, AT&T has already surveyed other backup sites on nearby private lands.
Why does AT&T want to build this cell tower?
Simple economics. The tower will be highly profitable since it will mainly serve lucrative off-island customers in Snohomish and Kitsap counties. In return, the port will receive only $13,200 annually.
To put this in perspective, the annual port budget is $2.93 million, they collect $515,000 in property taxes, and their waste removal bill is $6,000. We cannot, and will not, allow a few publicly elected officials to supersede overwhelming public support to preserve the rural character of South Whidbey.
We call upon you to sign the online Petition to Save Open/Green Spaces on South Whidbey by visiting www.sos-sw.monma.com.
For more details, contact Clyde Monma at firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-579-2237 or 8231 Lupine Lane, Clinton, WA 98236.