VERNON COUNTY - Bug Tussel, a company which is building a network of 300-foot cell towers through Richland and Vernon counties, has been in an extended process with the Town of Whitestown, seeking to place a cell tower in the township. The town has denied an initial request, and now the company is seeking to re-open the dialogue with an alternative location. This location was proposed by one of the neighbors to the first proposed location who felt that the site would be too close to his home.
As part of the process, the company has worked with the Ho-Chunk Nation to seek approval for the location. In an article published in the Independent-Scout in the January 2, 2020 issue, text was quoted from a letter sent by Bug Tussel employee Chris Henshue to the Town of Whitestown. In that letter, Henshue described a meeting with representatives of the Ho-Chunk Nation at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. In that letter, Henshue implied that the Nation had expressed approval of the new proposed location of the tower.
Now, on January 9, 2020, Whitestown town chairman George Wilbur, has received a letter apologizing for Henshue’s characterization of the Ho-Chunk position on the proposed tower location. The text of that letter is as follows:
“Dear Mr. George Wilbur:
I received a copy of the letter that Chris Henshue sent to the Town of Whitestown a few weeks ago to solicit input for our proposed cell tower location in Whitestown. On behalf of Bug Tussel I would like to rescind Chris's letter because the letter could be read to Imply that the Ho Chunk Nation and/or Bill Quackenbush was in favor of the tower which is a mischaracterization of the Ho Chunk Nation's position. We have no basis to believe that the Ho Chunk Nation is either for or against the tower because they have not yet been asked to provide a position. Chris was wrong to suggest otherwise so thank you for disregarding the Henshue letter. Please accept our apology for any confusion this has caused. I am copying Bill Quackenbush with this because we owe him an apology as well. He will be perfectly capable of speaking for himself when and if the time comes for a formal review by the Ho Chunk Nation.
“We do remain very interested in this tower and we have worked hard to balance that interest with the concerns that have been shared with us by the various local stakeholders. Going forward, Chris Henshue will no longer represent us with respect to this tower. Lee Larsen will do that. He is a great guy and I think you will find him very fair to deal with. I have suggested to Lee Larsen that he take whatever approach to this site he thinks is best- which I'm sure will include soliciting input from the Town at the appropriate time. We look forward to working with you.
“Very truly yours, Jason G. Wied, COO & General Counsel Bug Tussel Wireless, LLC (920) 940-0144”
According to Wilbur, the agenda for the Tuesday, Jan. 14 meeting of the Whitestown Town Board calls for a discussion of the proposed cell tower location.
Wilbur attended the Jan. 14 meeting of the Vernon County Zoning Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 14. At that meeting he learned that the committee might act on a permit for the tower proposed for the Town of Whitestown at their February meeting. The Vernon County Zoning Department meeting will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 8:30 a.m. At issue will be whether the county can issue the permit despite the fact that the town has comprehensive planning, and has not yet agreed to issue a permit.
At the Town of Whitestown meeting, the board and residents present agreed to continue to oppose the tower. According to an article by Lonnie Muller in the Jan. 21 issue of the Episcope, Eric Turner stated that “Bug Tussel was pretty shady in what they are trying to do.”
The Episcope article stated that “it appears Bug Tussel still prefers a town site next to Dutch Hollow Road, and that the alternative site that has been explored is on the same property as the first site proposed, but further off the road. A neighboring landowner complained that if the tower went on the alternative site, the guy wires would be 10 feet from his property line.”Finally, the Episcope article detailed that the town board “ultimately agreed to hire an attorney. Another group of private citizens specified that they too were seeking legal counsel.”