I recently, learned about the plan for Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District (LWWSD) to place a 130 foot tall (13 story) cell tower on LWWSD land at 1010 Lakeview Street.
There are several reasons to be concerned about this:
The placement of the tower makes no sense: This 13-story tower will be in a residential neighborhood near two elementary schools and many homes full of senior citizens and children. There are many alternate sites, further from homes and children; many homes being less than 1,000 feet from the tower. Whatcom Hills Waldorf School, K-8, is about 1,600 feet from the tower. Geneva Elementary School is about 2,900 feet away.
LWWSD Tried to Hide the Construction of the Tower: They were supposed to notify citizens living near the construction, but most customers in my neighborhood, about 1,200 feet from the proposed tower, were never notified. Among homeowners within 1,000 feet of the tower, only a few were notified. This was all done to try to slow a public response to this tower’s installation on LWWSD land. The notification was sent out late, and by the time of the LWWSD meeting on May 11th, most people affected by the tower had intentionally not been notified of the installation.The county also tried to cover up the process, only accepting comments until May 18th.
Essentially, LWWSD and the county tried to rush this tower through as quickly as possible, notifying the fewest people they thought they could legally get away with, while trying to make it hard for the public to have any say or mount any defense.
In fact, LWWSD had signed the paperwork with wireless providers before they even notified the public. They did put a small sign up on the property, which they tucked away from view.
No Vote/ No Rights: We should keep in mind that there is no vote of any kind for installing this 13 story tower. Citizens are just supposed to put up with it.
Lower Home Values: Homes near cell phone towers will have their value reduced by 20%. Will either LWWSD or the wireless companies reimburse homeowners for lost value? No!
The Environmental Impact: This tower will draw a minimum of about 30 KW (kilowatts) daily; this number will only increase in the future. This amount of power could have supplied 18 to 20 homes. None of this power will come from green sources.
Performance Is Poor Especially when Compared to Fiber-Optics: I have written extensively about our need for fiber-to-the-home infrastructure. Fiber is over a hundred times more efficient than wireless communications for data. In fact, when we compare satellite, wireless, and older tech like Comcast coax cable to fiber, we’re comparing apples and oranges as covered in this great article. As I’ve written before, when we tested T-Mobile and Verizon hotspots for the libraries in real world conditions using the RRUL Network Load tester, the performance was abysmal and laughable. These terrible services also cost too much. We pay the highest prices in the developed world for broadband per Mbit and that will not change until we have fiber to the home. Wireless is also much less reliable.
Health Risks: The more studies we do on human cells, the more we find that non-ionizing radiation, like that found in cell phones and related devices, causes damage to human cells. Children and the elderly are most affected by cell towers. The current “standard” for testing cell phone technology is a joke. It is based on a model called SAM. A mannequin resembling a 6’ 2” athletic male named SAM is filled with a fluid and tested for 10 minutes. Not only is this fluid more like anti-freeze than biological fluids, but the average American uses their cell phone for about 5 hours a day. So as Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut noticed, “We’re really flying blind,” when it comes to assessing the safety of these devices.
The fake safety argument: Some will say that broader cell phone coverage will make people safer, but the coverage needed to make a call, including a 911 call, is easily provided by lower frequency waves that can be provided by towers that are no where near residential communities. Combine the health risks of cell towers with this knowledge and it’s obvious that putting these towers near residences and schools makes citizens less safe, not more.
So in short, this tower is being put up at the expense of the citizens of the Geneva community with no real due process and no real benefits to the community.
What can you do? Contact the county government and LWWSD and demand that this tower not be allowed near two schools and many residences when so many alternative sites are available.
Whatcom County Planner:
Craig Ostrom: 360-778-5927
Whatcom County Council:
General Manager Justin Clary