Old Town residents combating antenna

Hearing set for Oct. 29 against the T-Mobile structure
By Brandon Gustafson | Oct 10, 2018
Courtesy of: City of Mukilteo The proposed T-Mobile structure, top right of the building.

A potential wireless communication facility in Old Town has some residents upset with the city and T-Mobile.

The antenna will be atop an apartment building at 716 3rd Street, and will add 10 feet to a portion of the top of the building. City of Mukilteo staff worked with T-Mobile on the project, and approved it on Aug. 13.

Old Town residents Terry Preshaw, Renee Ripley and Linda Wooding filed an appeal of the city’s decision.

“We (the city) spent $20 million on a new community center to feature fantastic views of the water, and it has up until this application,” Preshaw said. “If it’s implemented, there goes the view by something that’s just ugly and unnecessary.”

The trio filed their appeal in August, and have since modified it as of Sept. 24.

In their modification, they said the proposed “antenna” impacts the view of Puget Sound.

They also say T-Mobile has claimed it is using the facility to provide better service for customers in the ferry holding lanes, and that it is trying to enhance “Wireless E-911” in the area, despite not showing a current or future need for additional Wireless E-911 service in the Mukilteo area. The appeal also said Verizon had applied to create a cell antenna at 714 2nd Street (Arnies), and that proposed location would maintain the same vertical profile as the proposed 3rd Street location.

The relief request is, “Application should be denied due to the site selected for the cell antenna being more visually obstructive than necessary; and/or application should be revised and resubmitted with a proposal that includes an antenna placement at 714 2nd Street with no vertical protrusion.”

When discussing their disapproval of the project with The Beacon, the three Old Town residents said they felt there wasn’t proper notice of the project.

“The notice was inadequate. On the city site, if clicked on, it was blurry and hard to read, and someone who is unfamiliar with double-clicking probably couldn’t access it,” Preshaw said.

The trio also said the public notice, which is an orange sign that can be seen at projects all around town, was hidden.

Wooding said the sign was off the sidewalk, flat against a wall behind a corner, and could only be seen if walking east along 3rd Street in front of the building.

They also said the project’s design didn’t follow the city’s requirements for building in Old Town, which are different than in other parts of the city.

In the city’s notice of decision, officials said the project met all the necessary criteria, including how it looks.

Linda Ritter, a senior planner for the city, said residents voiced their concerns via public comment, which were addressed by the city as well as by T-Mobile. She also said concerns over the design of the structure are unfounded, as artwork for the project shows the new facility looks just like the rest of the building.

In the notice of decision, the city says the height will be 45 feet, which is less than the 85 feet allowed per the city’s code.

In response to concerns over placement of the project sign, Ritter said that if it was in the location Wooding described, it was not in the correct place.

“The sign was probably moved,” she said. “It was originally in front of the building on the sidewalk.”

Ritter said T-Mobile’s need for this structure is due to the removal of the existing ferry terminal.

“They currently have antennas on top of the existing terminal,” she said. “Since that’s going away, that’s why they’re looking at this new location.”

Ritter also said the city is just doing its job when assisting T-Mobile with the project.

“We don’t have a fight in this,” she said.

An open record appeal hearing will take place at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, at Mukilteo City Hall.

Ritter said she understands some in Old Town may want to speak at the hearing. While it is open to the public, only witnesses and the parties of the appeal will be allowed to speak.

 

 

 

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