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Facebook buys vacant residential land on Oregon coast to bury ultra high-speed fiber line

Residents that live next to the property worry about the precedent this could set and the noise it will bring.

TIERRA DEL MAR, Ore. — UPDATE: The Tillamook County Planning Commission approved the permit application.

Original story below.

In the small, quiet community of Tierra del Mar, residents worry about a piece of land owned by a subsidiary of the social media giant, Facebook.

Tierra del Mar is about a four-mile drive north of Pacific City.

Edge Cable Holdings, USA LLC, purchased the vacant land in November 2018 for $495,000. The previous owner said that it had been on the market for about 18 months. 

The small parcel has direct access to the Pacific Ocean. In an application filing with Tillamook County, Edge Cable Holdings says it wants to install the JUPITER Submarine Cable System. JUPITER is described as an ultra-high-speed fiber-optic cable line.

In March of 2019, the county received a Conditional Use Permit application. The paperwork states that the cable will stretch from Asia to Oregon, 8,700 miles, and land at lot 3200 in Tierra del Mar. In order to reach the cable in the ocean, crews will drill down and then bore a hole a half mile into the ocean. Since the beach is public land, Edge Cable Holding had to get permits approved by Oregon Parks.

The Tillamook County Planning Commission will hold a hearing on Thursday, November 14, to vote on whether or not to approve the permit application.

Credit: unknown

Neighbors worry about the noise levels for the amount of time it takes to drill the hole.

"It's gonna be destructive and noisy," says Candace Churchley "We're 200 feet from it I know we're gonna hear it. At the coast I know sound travels a lot differently then it does, say, in a city."

She and others worry about Sand Lake Road, the two-lane road leading into and out of Tierra del Mar.

"If there's a tsunami or an emergency to get out of here, I know that road's gonna be crowded."

Churchley said she worries about the precedent this could set.

"I'm kind of scared that once this sets up, it will be a precedent, and they could start going off of any property of the Oregon Coast."

Churchley said she hopes Facebook makes other plans for the property.

"What they need to do is sell that property if they want, or keep it and move somewhere else. That's what I'd like."

An e-mail sent to Facebook's press e-mail address was not returned on Wednesday. 

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