Letters to the Editor, July 14, 2021

Fostering further freeway fluidity

I agree the realignment being constructed at the connection of U.S. Highway 101 northbound to State Route 299 eastbound will improve the merging movement and reduce accidents, but I also believe the merging of traffic from SR299 westbound to US 101 on the opposite side of the overcrossing is as dangerous as the one being improved. 

The merge lane needs to be lengthened so that vehicles merging onto the northbound US 101 from SR 299 and the northbound US 101 traffic have more time to react. Presently, northbound US 101 traffic in the slow lane is required to brake hard or swerve suddenly into the fast lane to avoid the merging traffic from SR 299.

Hopefully, this is being considered. 

Scott R. Baker

Tell the BOS to move slowly and carefully

As we await the Board of Supervisors final decision on whether to approve Sun Valley’s proposed large industrial cannabis grow, I am filled with anxiety as I consider the long term consequences of the proposed grow on this fragile burgeoning neighborhood. 

These products they propose using to control odors (Ecosorb, Carbon Scrubbling) are at the center of a large lawsuit in Carpenteria because they have shown to trigger respiratory problems for many local residents and impair growth of many gardens underneath the falling spray. (See newsmakerswuthjr.com podcast from July 2,2021: Melinda Burns – people on the ground left to fend for themselves). 

Secondarily, this is a typical Arcata Bottom day in the summer, 61 degrees, cloudy, windy, unconducive to a crop that needs heat and dry conditions. So there will be fans, many fans, 24/7. The sound will change our environment forever. The native birds, the sound of frogs, crickets, neighbors, ocean, will be drowned out by the sound of fans. 

 If you care, please care, please advise the BOS to move slowly and carefully. Our neighborhood has more than 900 residents and it is in the process of further development. This will impact many families. 

The BOS represent ALL of us and they are stewards of the future of our precious greenbelts and our precious county. Please start small, one acre max, to examine the true impact on the neighborhood. This also protects against a big failed investment 

The health and safety of the residents matters.

Joan Edwards

Cell towers need better regulation

June 28, 2021

Dear Humboldt County Planning Commissioners,

Re: New Cingular Wireless PCS, Special Permit and PWM Inc. Conditional Use Permit and Special Permit Record Numbers PLN-2020-16754 and PLN-2021-17005

I am opposed to the approval of any of the two cell towers proposed for the Arcata Bottom off Foster Avenue.

The Board of Supervisors denied a similar project in 2003 and the follow up to this was that the County would develop an ordinance that would flesh out the issues identified during this controversy, many of them specific to the Arcata Bottom.

As a result of the discussions that happened around this issue, the recently approved 2017 Humboldt County General Plan identified a commitment to increasing fiber optic broadband as a solution to an endless demand for less reliable cell towers that are intrusive, potentially harmful, property value diminishing and damaging to birds and in the case of agricultural regions, damaging to prime agricultural land and the productivity of dairy cows.

In the recently approved 2017 Humboldt County General Plan’s Telecommunications Chapter the number one Implementation Measure listed is the Telecommunications Ordinance, but it has not been achieved and therefore approving any cell towers for the Arcata Bottom would be premature in it’s absence.

1. T-IM1. Communications Facilities Ordinance. Adopt a Communications Facilities Ordinance that ensures compatibility of communications facilities with nearby land uses, is proactive in the design and siting of wireless communications facilities, provides incentives for unobtrusive and compatible wireless antennas, and establishes clear standards for such facilities.

A number of issues that came up in the prior project that was denied are still relevant today and would best be explored through the development of this ordinance, are:

1) Setbacks to residences, schools, hospitals, and daycare centers and places of work.

2) Impacts to biological resources, including migratory birds, often found moving through the landscape on the Arcata Bottom,

3) Impacts to prime agricultural soils and dairy cow productivity.

4) Development of wireless free quiet zones for those suffering from electro-sensitivity, a recognized disability.

5) Development of Monitoring requirements of ambient microwave radiation and analysis of microwave effects.

6) Identification of areas best suited for accommodating cell tower placement throughout the County.

Until the County implements the development of this ordinance, any towers approved on the Arcata Bottom would be an insult to the public trust bestowed upon you as Planning Commissioners.

Lisa Brown

DEADLY DISCARDS This fox died a terrible death. Photo via Dana Utman

Help reduce the cruelty of waste

While biking on Bayside Road in Arcata on Wednesday I came across this dead grey or gray fox with his head stuck in a plastic container. It looked as though his head was also run over. 

It’s not uncommon for animals to meet their fate this way. In fact, it is so common that they are sometimes called trash-heads. Animals can be attracted to the smell of food in a plastic or glass receptacle and end up suffering because they can’t free themselves. 

But there are some things we can do. Reduce waste, cut plastic rings, rinse containers to get rid of the smells and keep garbage bin lids tight to prevent animals from getting into them. 

We can’t prevent all animals from suffering from our waste, but we can mitigate it.

Dana Utman

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