Man to take out 2nd mortgage to battle proposed cell tower

Man to take out 2nd mortgage to battle proposed cell tower
NEAR CLINTON, Wash. -- A proposed cell phone tower is drawing an unusual idea from those trying to block it: money, and lots of it

Clyde Monma wants to turn acres of his forested land into a park. But a proposed cell phone tower would loom over his house.

"These are the trees they're planning to take out for the tower itself and so the trucks can get in to build the tower," he said pointing to the trees near the proposed location.

The Port of South Whidbey owns much of the beachfront, and the land going up the hill links to more port-owned land where commissioners are considering letting AT&T build the cellphone tower.

The tower will stand 145 feet tall -- taller than the trees nearby. The port would earn $1,100 a month for a period between five years and 20 years.

Monma knows money talks. So he's considering making his own offer to the port to the tune of $250,000.

"We're going to get a second mortgage," he said. "And we're going to take money out of our retirement fund. But we believe it will all work out in the end, somehow."

Monma says his offer is good -- better, he says, than AT&T's. He is now just waiting for the port to bite.

"That amount of money (offered by AT&T) won't even add p to the $250,000 we're offering, so we're just puzzled by what they're trying to do," he said. "It's just really sad what they're doing, you know ... They're neighbors, too."

Hundreds have joined Monma's fight against the tower. They believe a park should not be sacrificed to marginally improve cell phone reception.

The port commissioners will likely meet in December to consider the offer. If they reject it, Monma vows to fight the cell tower as it seeks all its necessary permits.