No to Donax cell tower
December 22, 2010
To the editor,
Is it really possible that a 149-foot tall Verizon cell tower eyesore could rise on Sanibel, and in the middle of the densely populated Donax Street residential community? This falls within the "What Were We Thinking?" category of potential City Council disastrous mistakes. This is doubly so as the community tries to raise funds to save from development the Bailey property on Periwinkle Way at the north end of Donax Street, very near the proposed tower site. Supporters of the newly planned Bailey sanctuary will be sorely disappointed to learn that our local government may permit an intrusive man-made structure to loom over it.
Sanibel's uniqueness as a sanctuary island exists in great part due to our heightened sensitivity to environmental pollution in the broadest sense. This long-time protective tradition extends beyond the obvious environmental measures we've taken to include our low speed limits and our dark skies regulations. In this context, the suggestion made to "disguise" such a visually polluting structure as a tree — while well-intended under the circumstances — is insulting to the residents of a truly natural setting.
How could anyone who is mindful of Sanibel's spirit of preservation of natural beauty even contemplate allowing this cell tower to proceed? If this tower is in fact really needed, the council should exhaust every possibility of placing the tower on the even further eastern newly acquired Lighthouse Park property. While such visual degradation is just as distasteful to contemplate at the Lighthouse, at least it's further removed from a residential setting.
Consideration of the cell tower issue has been tabled until February. During that time, I urge the City Council to think the unthinkable: Do we really need this structure at all? Is this the kind of "progress" Sanibel's residents and visitors want? Would life as we know it on our island come to a halt if Verizon didn't have its tower?
Roger L. Levey and Julie Tan