10 story cell tower proposed for Whidbey neighborhood




Posted on June 13, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 13 at 5:47 PM

NancyJo Dzubay’s home sits surrounded by wildlife, in the shade of tall pine trees, but soon it could be overshadowed by something far less comforting.

"It’s all business, business, business. That’s all anybody cares about anymore," she says.

AT&T wants to build a massive, 110-foot cell phone tower just over the property line of Dzubay's North Whidbey Island home.

"I could throw a rock and hit it," said Dzubay.

Dzubay worries she’ll never be able to sell her home with the ominous hum of a 10 story tall tower constantly in the air.

"It’s no longer our little piece of acreage. It’s a house next to a big, ugly, hideous, noisemaking tower."

Becky Moss lives on the other side of the property in question, where trees are already marked to come down. Her biggest concern is the fact that the tower would stand in the flight path to NAS Whidbey.  It’s an area deemed an “Accident Potential  Zone” by the Navy, meaning homes are already at risk of a plane crash, and she believes a 10 story tower would only make that worse.

"If it hits, the shrapnel could go anywhere," she worries.

90% of American adults currently have cell phones. As that number grows, cell companies are fighting for those customers. Right now on Whidbey Island, AT&T is losing that battle.

"Most people use Sprint and Verizon," said JD SSimeroth.

The Sprint customer says hardly anyone on the island uses AT&T because the coverage is so bad.

"Only about a quarter of the island has AT&T service."

Becky Moss is actually an AT&T customer. Her coverage is so bad she uses a signal booster in her home, but she says better reception isn’t worth the risk.

"Whose house is it going to land on? Whose son, daughter, mother, sister is it going to kill?"

An AT&T spokesperson says cell towers do not pose safety hazards to neighbors on the ground. The Navy says it has not been notified of a potential cell tower, but it would need to be cleared by the FAA.

The two moms say they will not be intimidated by the cell phone giant, and that AT&T had better prepare for a fight. 

"They’re messing with the wrong neighborhood," said Dzubay.

AT&T released the following statement:

"AT&T is always looking for ways to upgrade our network in response to customer demand. Our customers at the Naval Air Station Whidbey and nearby residential neighborhoods have asked for 4G LTE so they can have access to the best, most reliable service with fewer coverage gaps.  This tower makes that possible."