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February 2, 1998


Correcting a correction

  In News from the King County Council by Louise Miller, County Council Chair, in the Jan. 19 WW claims that my letter [to the Editor, Jan. 5] concerning the 300 foot tower to be built by King County on the closed county dump on Ring Hill is inaccurate, and that she is correcting it. Ms. Miller reveals now that there will be a network of such tall towers to serve "...public safety agencies such as police, fire, and EMS." I've neither heard nor read of failures of the present telephone and radio systems. I thought that the transmitters in outer space did the job. If the tower is "specific" in purpose as an emergency tower, why then are commercial cellular phone companies using it every second of every hour? To me that's dual purpose.
   When I turned down a cellular phone company's lease to build a 150 foot tower on my property adjacent to the closed dump, I never dreamed the county would build a tower to allow the company to use it. This is more than a "specific" purpose. My letter is not inaccurate in saying King County is building a tower for cellular phone companies' private use; and if all the constant red-blinking tower networks to come allow cellular phone companies to use them, the purpose is more than "specific." All one has to do is stand alongside the Tualco Road just south of Monroe and see four of these red-light towers as an example of what's to come for all rural-residential homeowners.
   Ms. Miller calls this a radio tower, yet the Department of Development and Environmental Services, after admitting cellular phone usage by private corporations, now calls it a telecommunications tower. That broadens the description of the tower's usage.
   Ms. Miller claims that the tower's presence will deter "providers" (cellular phone corporations) from building other towers. They have already been refused without county tower's presence. To the contrary, towers will sprout just as they have near Cottage Lake Shopping Center. The tower's presence will persuade me to allow several towers on my property.
   I've driven the West Valley Road for 40 years. I believe there are better isolated sites on Snoqualmie Ridge than the ones DDES observed. The other alternate sites are claimed to be closer to homes. It would be interesting to know the number of impacted homes at the alternate sites in contrast to the number of impacted homes around the Ring Hill site. If the tower face is only about 3 feet, what's it doing holding four-four foot microwaves about 200 feet above the ground? Surely all those 14 antennae are longer than 3 feet.
   Ms. Miller states: "The existing condition of the site is also critical. Since the tower will be located on a closed land fill, it is highly unlikely that the surrounding property will be developed for many years." The closed landfill has a shell of earth that can be broken by the heavy equipment needed to build the tower, thus causing an increase in leaching of the buried refuse.
   Ms. Miller's above statement only augments the fact that property values will plummet, seeing that there will be no development. Homes already surround the dump boundaries on all sides. If it's unlikely there will be no development on the adjacent properties, as Ms. Miller claims, why is King County Assessor, Scott Noble, increasing the land value of my adjacent 5 acres by 18.7% in one year? Non-developable property should not increase 18.7% in one year.
   Ms. Miller states: "Height is critical for this radio application." Yes, microwave emissions do not go around or over objects; therefore, the tower will stand 200 feet above all the surrounding trees and will be visible to my home every waking moment. A blinking red light is not what I care to see in the sky. Whether homes are 500 or 700 feet from the tower, what homeowner who has chosen a rural environment wants to live near an urban development such as this tower? The DDES claims this tower to be urban by reasoning that the Saybrook water tower is urban.
   It would be interesting to reveal just how many of DDES's decisions were overturned in relation to how many were approved. Just how many of these so-called emergency radio towers are being used by private companies? When will our governments, state and county, stop building facilities for private corporations?
   George Slusser