Vinland: They can hear you now

Randy and Bridget Hitchcock take an early-morning stroll in Vinland Crest with their son Connor, 15 months. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Randy and Bridget Hitchcock take an early-morning stroll in Vinland Crest with their son Connor, 15 months.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

t Controversial Verizon tower

in Vinland

neighborhood now offering increased cell coverage.

POULSBO — A contentious Poulsbo cell phone tower is now providing increased wireless coverage to area residents.

The Verizon cell tower, a 120-foot structure in the Vinland neighborhood, went live last month, according to Verizon Wireless media representative Georgia Taylor.

And the effects are starting to get noticed.

Vinland Crest resident Mike Cain said for the first time since he’s owned a cell phone, he can make calls from home — and he’s owned a cell since 1996.

Usually, he said his calls would drop after 10-15 seconds.

“Before the tower went in, I was lucky to get one or two bars on my phone,” he said.

Now, all four reception bars light up without fail.

Cain said the sight of the Verizon tower is something residents can easily get used to and he applauded the wireless phone company’s job.

He said the apparatus fits in nicely with its surroundings, instead of sticking out like a sore thumb.

The cell tower is near trees, is painted green to blend in, and is in an enclosed area. It sits on a 3,000-square-foot piece of property just north of Vinland Elementary School on the east side of Rhododendron Lane.

Its main function is to improve call signals and meet projected area increases in wireless demand.

“I think it’s great,” Cain said. “They did a nice job to make it as environmentally friendly as possible.”

Some area residents were not enthused at the prospect of having a cell tower take residence in their neighborhood. Some cited worries of declining property values, others questioned the unknown long-term health effects of having a cell tower so close to homes.

Ultimately, their hard-fought cause was lost.

“It’s pretty unwelcome, but we did all we could,” said neighborhood resident Amy Hoffman. She and 19 other area residents appealed the Poulsbo City Council’s 4-3 October 2006 decision to overturn a Hearing Examiner ruling and allow Verizon to build the tower.

In May 2007, the final Kitsap Superior Court judgement allowed its construction.

Hoffman said residents will have to live with the tower, which she said is “’bout as big of one as I’ve ever seen.”

She added residents fighting against the structure’s placement weren’t looking to kick Verizon out of their neighborhood to make it a problem for someone else, but were just trying to come to a compromise so that the situation was a good one for all involved.

“This is an incredibly beautiful area up here, you fight to protect what you really love,” she said.

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