DUPONT, Wash. - People in DuPont are angry. They claim their neighborhood was targeted for a new communications tower without their knowledge, and they told KIRO 7’s Amy Clancy they believe it’s because their neighborhood is full of military families.
The brand new communications tower in the Hoffman Hill area is 125 feet tall and was built last month to strengthen police and fire 911 response in the area.
It’s also right behind the backyard of homeowner Robert Hayes who says he, and many others on Foreman Road, were blindsided by the whole project.
“I received no notification” he told KIRO 7 on Friday.
Mechelle Winder said, “the first time I realized it was going up was when I walked outside my front door and saw it poking up.”
Winder bought her house, in part with money she received after her husband Nathan -- a green beret medic based at Fort Lewis -- was killed in Afghanistan. She fears the new tower in plain view from her front window will make it impossible to sell her home for anything but a huge loss.
“I have to get special permission to do anything to my home on the outside that will affect the neighborhood,” Winder said about local homeowner’s association regulations, “and we weren’t consulted about putting the tower up.”
But the city of DuPont , which owns the land, and Pierce County Emergency Management, which owns the tower sent out two notices [PDF: Town hall meeting notice] [PDF: Pierce County Dept of Emergency Mgt Notice of Land Use] a year before construction started.
“We mailed out flyers to homeowners,” acting City Manager Ted Danek told Clancy. “We had public hearings, and in fact, we had a town hall meeting here in DuPont just to talk about the siting of the tower.”
Notices both Hayes, a retired Army medic and Winder say they missed. They both told KIRO 7 that other military families on the street also missed the notices because of deployments or re-assignments.
“Very heavy military footprint here, so I’m figuring that they just thought they could pull one over on us,” Hayes said.
Winder has hired a lawyer and may sue. Hayes is considering legal action, too.
Meanwhile, City Manager Danek acknowledged that with so many active duty military personnel in DuPont, the next time the city has a project it will explore new ways to make sure everybody, even deployed military, are notified.