Glenbeulah Village Board approves cell tower with reservations

Sabrina Nucciarone
Review Correspondent

GLENBEULAH — At the June Village Board meeting, trustees voted to approve the building permit for the construction of a cell tower on privately owned land in the village, contingent upon the clarification of two topics.

Those topics — indemnification of the village (to hold harmless should anything occur on the site) and specific landscaping requests — were among five others already settled.

As a third concern, the Planning Commission determined that the generator was part of the principal site and has to comply with the ordinance for setback distance so there was no action the board needed to take on that matter.

With communication volleying between trustees, Village Attorney Michael Bauer and the legal representation for PI Towers and Verizon elsewhere, the trustees have been diligently trying to move the project forward in spite of the delay in timing.

Before the vote, Bauer reviewed the contentious items to clarify the terms and to represent the wishes of the board accurately. The first, landscaping using 45 arbor vitae, the board understood it to be per side, not the total. The board wants it to be 45 per side.

The second, indemnification for the village to be held harmless — should any type of accident occur as a result of the tower being sited, constructed, or existing — needs to be understood. With its job to review and approve or disapprove building permits as presented, the board wanted to make sure in writing that they are held harmless for making the decision to approve a building permit for the placement, construction, and existence of a cell tower located on private property.

Moving ahead in good faith, the attorney and board briefly reviewed the basic progression of the topic: being shown the search ring range, that there was no other location tall enough to co-locate equipment for cellular service, that the village did not own any property where the cell tower could be placed and the subsequent decisions that needed to be made to follow state statutes.

Any alternate decision that would further stall the project on the part of the board (as representatives of the village on the whole) could result in litigation. “I don’t think they are bluffing.” Bauer said, referring to the entities representing the cell tower project.

Village President Douglas Daun expressed disappointment that representatives from PI Towers or Verizon were scarce at meetings. Other than one attorney who was present early on, then another one who was present last month, there hasn’t been any visible participation on the part of those waiting for the approval of the building permit. “They said they would work with us and we haven’t seen anyone,” he said.

Through murmurs of discussion among the gallery visitors, the board determined that approving the building permit contingent upon clarification of the two issues specifically, the project could move forward.

The old high school building was recently purchased by Vern Romanesko of Appleton. Daun said he spoke with Romanesko and told him that inspection was needed to move forward with any ideas Romanesko would have to develop the site.

Daun said Romanesko would like to see the building become an art gallery, converting some classrooms to sleeping rooms that would serve as a weekend retreat for artists. Daun said that he told Romanesko that the board only issues building permits and that he would have to contact the state inspector to see what is possible and how to proceed.

Trustee Dan Grunewald has been researching the replacement of the village emergency siren. Grunewald said he contacted three companies about their products with only one, in Colorado, that returned his request for information.

The company in Colorado quoted approximately $6,300 for the siren, plus installation costs.

Still wanting to gather more information from other companies and other towns to see what their experiences have been, there are two options — analog and digital.

Digital would be connected to software related to the National Weather Service and the siren would sound automatically. However, that option is cost prohibitive; the software alone is $20,000.

The remaining option is what has been done all along — when notification of an emergency comes in, someone physically goes to the siren to sound it.

Commenting on if there are any standards involved in the sounding of a siren, “the standard is that you have to be able to notify everyone,” Grunewald said. There is a standard of how the siren should sound depending on the emergency, but other than reaching everyone in the village, there is nothing else that he was aware of.

A family recently requested to have a memorial bench placed near the mill pond in Glenbeulah. Unfortunately, the Department of Natural Resources indicated to the village that the family would have to look for an alternate location away from the water. Any risk of flooding would compromise the waterway and having “man-made” debris complicates the flow.

Trustees spoke about other locations that would benefit from a bench and would make those suggestions to the family.

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