A party to retire debt in style

By Meg Olson

The Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Towers will celebrate their victory and try to raise funds to pay off their legal bill with a party at the Reef Tavern.

The Saturday, March 5 event will feature music by singer/songwriter KK and comedy by Lucy Williams. Headliners The Neon Stars will play three sets of early country, hillbilly swing and traditional honky-
tonk music.

Admission is by donation, with a suggested donation of $20, which includes a “no towers” hat while supplies last. There will be a silent auction, a 50/50 draw and a jellybean guessing game. A 50” Smart television system will be raffled off, with 200 tickets for sale for $20 each.

The coalition was formed in 2013 to stop a proposal for an array of five BBC Broadcasting Inc. 150’ AM radio transmission towers at the corner of Tyee Drive and McKenzie Way.

Opposing both the conditional use permit at the county level and BBC Broadcasting’s license renewal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the coalition racked up almost $250,000 in legal bills.

“We still need about $14,000 to pay our final obligations,” said treasurer Jennifer Urquhart.

Thanks to coalition efforts, the hearing examiner denied the application to the county, a decision upheld in subsequent appeals. BBC Broadcasting abandoned the appeals process. “Once BBC decided not to pursue their case with the County any further, resulting in their staying in Ferndale, the FCC ruled that they could renew their license,” Urquhart said.

The December 23 FCC order puts an end to their investigation into allegations raised in a formal petition to deny from the Point Roberts Taxpayers Association and a number of informal objections, including one from the coalition and one from Whidbey Telephone Company, based on changed the circumstances. The agreement between the FCC and BBC for termination of the investigation includes a $10,000 “voluntary payment.”

“The FCC construction permit cannot be renewed and BBC will never be permitted to build their towers in Point Roberts,” Urquhart said. “The fact that the FCC slapped a fine on them is, apparently, unusual. We are told the last time the FCC did anything but approve a license renewal as a matter of course was in the 1960s.”

The March 5 event starts at 6 p.m., with the raffle draw at 10 p.m.

“We are hoping that the party, along with any donations made on our website, crowdfunding site etc., will allow us to close the books on this battle,”
Urquhart said.

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