Letter to the Editor for Feb. 11, 2013

By Baker City Herald readers February 11, 2013 09:16 am

Let’s have a plan to deal with cell tower spread

Recently it has come to our attention that yet another telecommunication cell tower application has been received by the Baker County Planning Commission. This tower, as we understand it, is to be 199 feet tall, a separate tower construction in the vicinity of Coyote Peak, highly visible to anyone in the Baker area.

The recent past has seen the construction of a tall tower on Highway 30 at the edge of town, two towers on Spring Garden Hill and area, an expanding Internet facility on the same hill, a facility on top of the Baker Towers with another application for co-located equipment on that hotel, and several additions to existing facilities around Baker City.

According to the National Business Institute, the sheer number of telecommunication sites is estimated to reach 200,000 in the next five years, this up from about 60,000 today. This is a very disturbing picture and we should be very concerned about this direction and how it affects Baker City and County. It is critical to be have a conscious awareness and make prudent decisions about the continual string of requests for additional towers.

We encourage the County and City planning commissioners to have a plan in place to protect our environment as well as provide services for growing communication needs. We must be proactive in keeping this spreading metal forest and ugly supporting structures from dominating our viewshed.

We have reviewed a “Draft for Wireless Communication Facilities,” chapter 740, that was written by the county commissioners back in April 2010. Almost three years old, this draft contains much of what is needed to address this problem. We are asking the commissioners of 2013 to please revisit this draft and make it a priority for dealing with the spread of wireless communication facilities. Also, goals 3 and 5 in the “Introductory Guide to Land Use Planning for Small Cities and Counties in Oregon” need to be reviewed and enacted.

Other cities and communities have taken a proactive stance, such as Boise, Bend and Eugene. We must do the same here in Baker City and County.

Linda Wunder Wall

Wayne Wall

Baker City