After discussing it for almost three hours, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted Feb. 13, to delay its final vote on the proposed Lazor Broadcast radio tower at Wildwood Canyon State Park in Yucaipa.
A strong citizens group has attempted to block the 43-foot pole/radio tower for over a decade. Time and time again, the Citizens for Preservation of Rural Living of Yucaipa have been successful in halting the project. The group shows up at every county planning commission and board of supervisors meeting to voice its opposition.
Over the years, many opponents noted the project would ruin the aesthetic feel of Wildwood Canyon Park and create a catastrophic fire hazard.
Seven alternative sites were proposed to Lazer representatives, but it opposed the plea, stating the current site is ideal, and to move it would not be cost effective, among other reasons.
John K. Mirau spoke before and after the meeting. “Instead of building a tower in a high risk fire safety zone, we are asking Lazer Broadcasting to choose one of the seven alternative locations that a highly respected FCC engineer recommended. Lazer now admits that six of those seven sites satisfy FCC rules and regulations. Five of those locations would increase their current radio power by more than 400 percent and two of the locations would increase their broadcasting power by more than 450 percent.”
Yucaipa resident and Yucaipa Valley Conservancy President David Miller said, “Today we are gathered here, again, to see if democracy actually works, or if it is just the rhetoric of politicians,” said Miller.
“This is not a pro-business versus anti-business confrontation, as was implied the last time we were here, this is an exercise in political will. Twice, the very pro-business city council of Yucaipa has voted unanimously against this proposal. They heard the overwhelming voices of their fellow citizens and experts, and recognized the inherent dangers this proposal contained. ”
Overall, a couple dozen spoke in opposition to the project and many others left the meeting after a couple hours, to return to work or other business.
Mark Miller, former CAL FIRE Captain spoke on fire dangers inside the state park, from firsthand experience.
The site is deemed a “Let it Burn” area, inaccessible to the fire department.
Yucaipa City Councilman Dick Riddell also spoke at the meeting, “I have served on the city council for a quarter of a century, and on the planning commission and in all my time in public service, there has never
been an issue that has disturbed people and has upset people as much as this radio pole.”
After listening to public comments and testimony, the board voted to hold the item. Vice-chair Curt Hagman said he wanted more time to evaluate the alternative sites. Supervisor James Ramos suggested there’s value in listening to the local people. Chair Robert Lovingood said the board has relied heavily on local councils to advise on these types of
issues. Public comment is officially closed but the board will revisit the item on March 20, for its final decision.