County planners are reviewing several dozen public comments regarding an application to add a microwave dish to the Verizon cell phone tower now under construction.
“I’ve gotten equal comments in support of and against it,” said Nick Smith, with Whatcom County Planning and Development
Services. “A lot of it is against the tower in general, so that’s not really about this approval.”
The application is to add a six-foot microwave dish and an equipment shed to the monopole tower, which is already approved for an array of 12 antennas. The microwave dish is to improve data transmissions in the absence of a fiber optic connection.
“Fiber is a common thread connecting many wireless cell sites,” said Verizon representative Scott Charleston. “Where there is no fiber connection, as is the case in many rural areas, a microwave link is often used to complete the link. Right now, the site does not have a fiber connection.”
Smith said the public comment period will close December 27. Once the project is determined to be in compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act, Smith said he will decide whether to issue an administrative approval of the change. “I will try to get a decision by mid-January.”
Crews from Eagle Communication Services began construction of the tower on December 10. Documents filed with the county state construction is expected to be complete by March 7.