Letters to the Editor for June 28, 2016

Telecommunications tower will provide no benefits for Camas residents

I want to say thank you Heather Acheson for writing such an extensive article on the proposed cell tower (CUP 15-01). It was very thorough and informative.

There was some incomplete and missing information in the article that I would like to clarify.

First: This is not the first time that a major telecommunications tower has tried to place itself near this location. In 1991 Pacific Broadcasting tried to place a TV and radio broadcasting tower very near there. It was denied by the city council at that time. The citizens of Camas, determining that a tower of that size and caliber was not something we wanted in a residential zoned area, wrote an ordinance that was approved and incorporated into the municipal code in 1992, Camas municipal code, chapter 18.34.

Second: In 2004 Camas built the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency Tower. This was allowed because it provides an important emergency service to the citizens of Camas as well as Clark County. It had the added benefit of offering a platform on an existing structure for the placement of cell wireless providers, as did the two existing water towers. The main purpose of this tower was not to provide cell phone service.

Third: The proposed cell tower (CUP 15-01) is not simply another cellphone carrier’s tower. It is designed to provide a wireless internet service to businesses in Portland, Gresham and Vancouver, not Camas. The vast majority of Camas will be in its shadow (all electromagnetic towers service areas in a line of sight from the tower), and residents of Camas will receive absolutely no benefit.

The City of Camas must reinstate municipal code 18-34, with updates to protect the citizens of Camas from oversized and dangerous towers of all kinds. This code was written in 1992 following an extensive grass roots effort by the citizens of Camas to prevent exactly this situation. It was replaced by 18.35 some time between 1999 and now with little to no public input. This has left the entire city in the current situation we are now, without the ability to protect our community from outlandish and dangerous proposals such as this one in residential areas.

The City of Camas has the right and responsibility to protect its citizens from such maneuvers on the part of big business. Every citizen has the right to live in their home without having to worry about what will be put in the empty lot behind their house that is zoned for residential living. The City of Camas needs stronger zoning codes in all areas.

I was a member of the growth management act in 1994, and was proud of the strong zoning codes that we established at that time that allowed for business development, managed housing, placement of multi-family and single-family housing in a way that made sense for the entire community. I have been appalled at how it has been stripped of its teeth and intention every time a new developer comes along. This needs to stop now, or we will no longer have a community to be proud of.

Judy Bauer, Camas