HARMONY TOWNSHIP - Vernon County’s Town of Harmony Board voted unanimously to uphold the unanimous recommendation of the town’s zoning committee to deny Bug Tussel the conditional use permit needed to construct a 300-foot, guy-wired cell phone tower on the Todd Whistler property adjacent to Fauske Lane.
At the Wednesday, July 17 meeting of the Town of Harmony Zoning Committee, Bug Tussel’s Chris Henshue, Business Representative for Site Acquisition in Vernon and LaCrosse counties, spoke to the committee in favor of them granting the conditional use permit. He gave a brief description of the proposed tower and the value it would provide to the region.
Following Henshue’s comments, 13 residents from the Town of Harmony and one person from outside the township, spoke against granting the conditional use permit. Their concerns included:
• a decline in property values in the vicinity of a tower of the type proposed;
• health concerns related to the tower’s output of radiation;
• visual blight of the high tower and its associated lights; and
• disruption of migrating birds.
Two letters were submitted to the committee by realtors Bill Brooke of Bill Brooke Realty in Viroqua, and Karen Innis with Century 21 in Viroqua. In their letters, the two realtors made it clear that any residential property adjacent to or in proximity of a mile or less to a cell tower will experience a 10-40 percent decline in its value, depending on how close it is to the tower and how visible the tower is from the property.
In addition to the in-person testimony, 24 letters were submitted to the zoning committee, all expressing opposition to granting the conditional use permit. In addition, eight names were signed on a petition expressing opposition to granting the permit.
The five members of the Town of Harmony Zoning Committee voted unanimously to advise the Harmony Town Board to decline the issuance of a conditional use permit to Bug Tussel Wireless to construct a tower on the Todd Whistler property adjacent to Fauske Lane.