Friday, October 19, 2012

Reprieve for Umunhum’s Tower (for now)

Mt Umunhum's skyline will feature the "cube"

This is late news by now, but I will go ahead and follow up on it. Midpeninsula’s public meeting on the evening of October 17 to vote on a resolution concerning Mt Umunhum’s radar tower was well attended and productive. Sue and I both attended, but didn’t stay until the end. I had an early morning ahead, and couldn’t help wondering what was happening with the Giants in the playoffs. I would estimate that 25 to 30 people in all got up and gave their comments which were limited to 2 minutes. Sue decided to get up and speak, and I declined. Of course the majority of the speakers were indeed a vocal minority in favor of preserving the cube, and for “going all in” on the idea of saving the cube; which was the phrase they seems to rally around, which basically translated into; You people at MidPen should quit messing around and just do whatever we ask, and by the way, you should also pay for it regardless of cost. According to a survey conducted by the board of the district constituents, about 1/3 of respondents were in favor of keeping the tower. The rest were split between the other 2 options, so the meeting attendance was obviously not truly representative of prevailing public opinion. Even still the meeting was polite and respectful, and eventually had a very productive outcome. The option decided on was to adopt what was called interim action A. The district will do temporary repairs on the tower in order to arrest decay and mostly preserve the tower for a period of 5 years. During that time the proponents of the save-the-cube petition will have time to raise the funding for doing a better job of permanently preserving the tower. There are already some pledges of support, and the County Historic Heritage Commission sent the board a letter stating it is willing to work with the board to designate it on the county inventory for landmarks, which would make it eligible for grant funding. But the best part is that in the interim, the district can go forward with plans to open the site for public access.

I am quite happy with this outcome. My biggest dread was that all this wrangling would further delay the opening, but now it appears it won’t. I am also actually happy that there is a way forward that provides for preserving the radar tower without burdening the district with the additional costs. In my opinion this seems like a win-win scenario, and is fair for the very reasons I stated in my last post. I am expecting that the deal will eventually come together to preserve the tower, and that the cube is now here to stay.

Click here to read the article posted in the San Jose Mercury News dated 10/18.
Click here to see MidPen’s updated project page.

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