Nature versus commerce. That's the issue residents of the valley have who are upset with the Mat-Su Borough assembly for allowing Verizon to erect an 85 foot tower right in their backyards.
Neighbors we spoke with all say they moved here for the view but in the past month they’re looking up towards a tower instead of trees and they aren't happy.
Brenda Lampton says, “We've lived here we've raised our kids. This is our home and it's like your being pushed out of it.”
Neighbor Brenda Lampton has lived in this home for over 20 years, but the newest addition to her landscape isn’t welcome. Her neighbor recently contracted a deal with Verizon to allow the tower to be built. It now stands just 16 feet from her property line and she says it’s devaluing her house among other things.
Lampton says, "There’s so much raw land... Nobody knows the unknown of those towers there's such a controversy."
Despite health concerns Lampton is also upset that the Mat-Su Borough assembly board would allow this to happen. They repealed an ordinance about tall towers being erected. KTUU tried to contact assembly members who voted in favor of that but was only able to get a hold of the assembly member who is on the same side as these neighbors.
Warren Keogh says, "There's been this frequent mantra of the borough that were open for business, well I think we've gone a bit overboard on that and the result is the public interest is not well served."
For that reason assembly board member Warren Keogh is introducing new ordinance at the next assembly meeting.
Keogh says, “So I'll be pushing to see if we can reinstitute local government regulatory authority over the erection of tall towers so we don't have issues like this.”
Keogh says he wants to introduce a new ordinance regarding tall towers at the next assembly meeting and is bringing forward a tall tower ordinance to the Planning Commission for its action.
But it could be too late for this neighborhood. No word on when the Verizon tower goes active or how many people the tower will provide reception for.
The next assembly meeting is Tuesday 21th at 6 p.m. and it’s open to the public.
Editor’s Note: Added details about Assembly Member Keogh’s plan.