By Meg Olson
Skagit County Superior Court Judge Susan K. Cook has upheld Whatcom County’s denial of an application by BBC Broadcasting to build an array of AM radio towers in Point Roberts.
“She ruled in our favor from the bench. We won,” said Mark Robbins, one of several dozen members of the Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Towers who attended the October 7 trial.
BBC Broadcasting, Inc. had filed the appeal in Washington State Superior Court, challenging Whatcom County’s interpretation of land use rules in denying their application to build an array of five 150-foot-tall transmission towers on the corner of Tyee Drive and McKenzie Way. The county hearing examiner denied the application in November 2014 because the towers did not meet height restrictions and no exemption to those rules exists in county code for an AM radio transmission facility. Whatcom County Council upheld that decision in January 2015.
The judge heard three hours of argument from lawyers for BBC Broadcasting, Whatcom County and the coalition, and surprised all three parties when she announced she was prepared to rule on the spot.
“When she said that we knew she had read everything,” said coalition member Arthur Reber, referring to the documents submitted by parties beforehand. “She went through nine or 10 points raised by the BBC and in every case found them not sufficiently strong. The hearing examiner’s initial decision and its affirmation by county council were reaffirmed by the superior court.”
If the broadcaster plans to continue to challenge the decision, it has 30 days to file with the state court of appeals. Company representatives were not available to comment on future plans.