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For the week of April 18 through April 24, 2001

High-tech’s visual impact

Anyone who enjoys the efficiency as well as the frustrations of high-tech on the blink knows that 21st century gadgets have Janus-like faces.

This has become clear to Bellevue’s City Council as it grapples with the arrival of eight wireless communications companies seeking sites for their transmission antennae.

On the one hand, wireless transmission antennae mean the benefits of more communications links for businesses and consumers who rely on the marvels of speedy wireless services.

But antennae could also mean excessively tall strobe-lighted towers that mar the area’s sensitive landscape.

Sensible planning for the future requires that Bellevue’s council members, as well as policymakers throughout the Wood River Valley, give weight to the visual impact of any proposed structure and protect the valley’s vistas.

Of two suggested antennae siting plans in Bellevue, the one requiring installation of separate antennae on existing utility poles in light industrial areas is the most reasonable and less objectionable. The antennae will blend with existing poles.

The idea of a single, large site for a cluster of antennae has its obvious visual drawbacks.

If, in time, utility poles are removed in Bellevue and service placed underground, the likelihood is that a new generation of wireless technology will have developed an even less ugly transmission device to replace today’s antennae.

That’s the principal strength of American technology: when confronted with problems, wizards think of creative new solutions—especially when they must.



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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.