State Law Changes Local Input On Tower Sitings

Mar 27, 2014

Cell phone tower

How would you react to the construction of a communications tower near your home?

Before the Wisconsin legislature changed the rules, you could have voiced your thoughts at a public hearing BEFORE the tower went up.

That’s no longer the case, as confirmed by Vilas County Corporation Counsel Martha Milanowski at Tuesday’s meeting of the Vilas county board of supervisors:


" may not be something we agree with, but it is something we must follow...."


Under the new state law, counties are no longer allowed to hold public hearings when some entity applies to construction a communications tower. You may complain after the tower is erected…but not before…a provision that Supervisor Jim Behling said makes no sense:


".....I don't see where we are obligated to support an ordinance the is bad for the county and this sounds pretty lousy. So what is the consequence if we don't have an ordinance? It sounds to me like the state regulation rules anyway...this makes no sense...."

Behling ended up voting for the new Vilas County Wireless Communications ordinance. Three other supervisors voted "no", in spite of Milanowski’s advice that the county had no option but to follow state mandate.

The new state budget also contains provisions to restrict municipalities’ decision-making authority to limit the height of cell towers or deny permits based on aesthetic reasons.