Sunday, July 21, 2013

Move over Beer, Cheese, and Tourism. The State's New Symbol? Cellphone Towers.

Republicans love big government, and now conservative communities are about to get a taste of it, and they’re not going to like it. In a one size fits all rage, Scott Walker signed away local control, a revenue producer, and what will be an aesthetics nightmare for cities and villages all over the state.

Conservative and liberal areas alike are affected, bowing to corporate power and donations. A wish list come true for an entire industry.

Hold onto your seats, this non-budget gift to wireless carriers slipped in without debate, is stunning:
Nicer looking than Wind Turbines?
jsonline: Ed Virnig and his neighbors are angry about plans for a 130-foot cellphone tower that Verizon Wireless wants to build on the edge of their yards in Brookfield, saying it would lower their property values and could be dangerous … would increase the risk of lightning strikes, and that chunks of falling ice and debris could injure or kill children.

Local governments can no longer deny wireless tower permits solely for aesthetic reasons, limit the height of towers to under 200 feet, or require that antennas and structures such as water towers be placed on public property. The service providers complained that local governments required them to put antennas on water towers and other public property, and then charged them thousands of dollars a month to lease the space … local government officials who stand to lose a steady stream of revenue if wireless companies are no longer required to use municipal property for antennas and towers. The new regulations require municipalities to rule on a wireless tower permit application within 90 days or the application will be considered approved … local governments may not enact ordinances prohibiting the placement of wireless towers in particular locations, and they may not impose environmental testing and monitoring requirements for radio frequency emissions.
And yet Republicans are writing bills protecting people from “smart meters” and inaudible wind turbine frequencies. They're the party of “principles?”  
The Village of River Hills, one of the wealthiest suburbs in Milwaukee County, may challenge the new rules in court, said Village President Robert Brunner. “We want to prevent towers and antennas from being put on schools, churches and other locations," Brunner said, adding that the village receives more than $200,000 a year in lease fees from wireless providers.

The new regulations were included in the recently passed state budget when municipalities were under siege with other issues brought on by the Legislature, according to Barry Orton, a telecommunications professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

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