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January 5, 1998

Opinion

What a Christmas present!

  On Christmas Eve a notice arrived from Metropolitan King County Department of Development and Environmental Services stating that Deputy Hearing Examiner, R.S. Titus has denied all appeals against King County's 300 foot commercial tower on rural-residential Ring Hill. The applicants had to prove that the tower was dangerous to humans. Even Paul Allen's money would not be able to complete any studies in the 3 months' time allowed to prove anything. We homeowners to the east were not even considered in this biased DDES's ramming of a tower down our throats. The deputy hearing examiner gave more credence to the DDES when weighing impacts by the tower. This is the same DDES that used scam methods to initiate this project.
  
   Only a small group of non-wealthy homeowners to the east were originally notified of the tower project. A so-called public meeting held in the Fire Station, in Duvall, WA. Only after word in the Woodinville Weekly exposed the sneaky DDES's activity was a real public meeting held at the Saybrook Development where at least 99 attendants disapproved of the tower. Originally the DDES called this 300 foot commercial microwave tower (150 feet above any tree) an emergency tower inferring that it would be used during emergencies only. At the public meeting, officials holding the meeting acknowledged that cellular phone corporations will be using the tower continuously.
  
   The deputy hearing examiner stated that the tower was compatible with the existing development in the vicinity of the subject. This deputy hearing examiner who calls this commercial microwave tower a "radio tower" will call any tower compatible with any area, except where those assisting the tower live. The DDES claims that the water tower at Saybrook is urban; therefore, a microwave tower is compatible. On this basis DDES has broken zoning laws, or can variances supersede all zoning laws? The "urban" water tower's presence is now an open door for any "urban" activity in a rural-residential zoned area. Even though oxymoronic, I can rent out my back 500 feet to cellular phone corporations.
  
   The deputy hearing examiner states that the location and size of the "radio tower" will NOT discourage the permitted development or use of neighboring properties. Any honest real estate broker will testify that the presence of a tower view will plummet the use of the property when put up for sale. We, on the east, were not even considered in the deputy hearing examiner's report even though we are the closest to the microwave tower. There's no way we can be screened off from a blinking red light every night and the tower during the day.
  
   Taxpayers' money will be used to build this tower for the corporations using the disguise that it's an emergency radio tower. I'm sure it will be used in an emergency; however, there already exists means for local and frequent small emergencies.
  
   I associate myself with the citizens of Iraq. Their government builds palaces for their dictator, and we build tower palaces for corporations. The Metro King County Council representative for District 3 is Republican Louise Miller. She approves this commercial tower in a rural-residential zoned area. Republican or Democrat, it's wrong to force this tower on us.
  
   While my property value is disappearing, the Republican county assessor is jacking up my land value 18.7% which is a 375 dollar increase in taxes. Having a 6% limit on tax increases, someone else will have to pay the difference. My full increase will be phased in. This caper is the result of the voters' approval of Initiative 47 that promised a small tax decrease. I-47 was backed by Republicans and large corporations. Even Scott Noble, assessor, said that I-47 was unfair. Developers can buy up cheap open space land and then use the Grandfather's Clause to override zoning laws. We homeowners cannot use the Grandfather's Clause to keep our homes rural or residential
   George F. Slusser,
   Woodinville