The water tower as it looks now. | Images from Planning Commission staff report.

The Eureka water tower may soon be decorated with more than the bold letters reminding us that we are in “EUREKA - Home of the Loggers.” At a meeting next week the Planning Commission will consider approving the installation of a Verizon wireless telecommunication facility (or “WTF” — No, really) on the 134 foot tower.

Design plans include eight antennas and 12 remote radio heads to be installed toward the top of the tower to help improve mobile service in the area. If you’re worried about the impacts this project might have on the appearance of the familiar structure, images from the staff report may reassure you. The installations are pretty darn small.

Rendering of the proposed installations on the water tower.

Apparently, some folks are concerned about the potential impacts of the proposed project. According to the city staff report, project applicants Verizon and Epic Wireless held a mandatory public meeting in June, which eight community members attended. Concerns raised included potential health impacts and radio frequency emission levels.

But the applicants assure that the facility is compliant with the FCC’s radio frequency guidelines. The report also states that the 1996 Telecommunications Act “prevents local jurisdictions from denying a WTF based on potential or perceived health hazards if the project meets radio frequency emission thresholds set by the FCC.”

If you’re still not convinced and have strong feelings about this project, the planning commission meeting is a perfect place for you to voice your concerns!


In other business, the commission will be reviewing a couple of cannabis retail and on-site consumption permits, including one for Heirloom Organics on Summer Street, near WinCo Foods Grocery Outlet (which the staff report map mislabels as WinCo.) The conditional use permit will allow cannabis consumption, including smoking and vaping, not only for the current business, but for future businesses as well.

Eureka Development Services Director Rob Holmlund explained to the Outpost that this is the way all on-site consumption permits will work. All conditional use permits, whether for an office, a restaurant, or smoking weed, stay with the building or parcel, rather than following the business if it chooses to move.

The Heirloom Organics space, 627 Summer Street. Building labeled WinCo is actually Grocery Outlet.

The permit for the Heirloom Organics space will also be the first the city has officially approved since legalizing smoking lounges earlier this year. “Heirloom is the first of what we expect to be many,” Holmlund said.

Holmlund felt that, as more smoking lounges continue to be approved in Eureka, it is important to point out that this city is being very thoughtful about issuing the permits. There are many requirements all cannabis businesses must adhere to, including ensuring that smoking lounges are separate from the rest of the business and well sealed to prevent employees secondhand smoke exposure, being properly ventilated and making sure no odor can be sensed from outside and making sure employees are properly trained on consumption.

Businesses are also required to take certain measures to discourage driving under the influence, including posting bus schedules and maps and information on taxis, Uber and Lyft options.

“We’re not going all willy-nilly with on-site consumption,” Holmlund told the Outpost. “We’re going about it in a cautious and thoughtful way.”

The Eureka Planning Commission meets on Monday, August 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Eureka City Hall —  531 K Street. You can view the full agenda here.