To the editor:
The following views are mine alone as an individual Port of South Whidbey Commissioner, and do not represent the Port of South Whidbey:
At the PSW meeting last week, Clyde and Marcia Monma presented the port with an offer to purchase two uplands parcels encompassing the Dorothy Cleveland Trail adjacent to the Possession Beach Park. The upper parcel they have offered to purchase was surplussed by the port, but the lower parcel is considered critical to the beach park operations and so was not surplussed. In other words, the land they have offered to purchase is not for sale, and even if the port wanted to sell it, we could not legally do so without a lengthy public process.
I would also like to reiterate that it is false to frame the question as cell tower or Dorothy Cleveland Trail. The proposed cell tower would have minimal impact on the trail or the uplands around it. The port has every intention of maintaining the trail, the uplands and public access to them before, during and after cell tower construction. What is at stake here is whether the port should continue to simply own and maintain an uplands park (for which it has no mandate in state law), or should instead retain the property in public hands, generate much-needed revenue, and provide improvements in rural telecommunication and emergency communications (which is a port mandate under state law), all while maintaining the park and trail for the public to enjoy.