‘Nobody's happy up here:' Cell tower's planned location prompts concern

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BARNEVELD, Wis. - A Wisconsin company is looking at shifting the location of a planned cell tower in Barneveld after neighbors expressed concern it was too close to their homes.

Bug Tussel Wireless made an agreement with a property owner to build the 195-foot tower on Ty Trail to expand high-speed internet rurally. Longtime neighborhood resident Sydney Crook knew earlier this year the tower would be built, but until the stakes went up she had no idea just how close to her home it would be.

“I was not happy,” Crook said. “Nobody’s happy up here.”

The location is right next door to her home of 20 years.

“To have something that tall that close to your house, it just doesn’t seem safe,” she said. “The guys who came to dig, they were shocked too. They said they’ve done hundreds of these and never done one this close to a residence.”

Neighbors down the road echo concerns, saying Big Tussel hasn’t done a good job communicating its plans for the tower.

"What's this going to do to our property values? How's it going to affect the health and safety of not only my family, but the rest of the subdivision here?" neighborhood resident Aaron Danielski said. “We don’t know what’s going on.”

Big Tussel’s CEO Steve Schneider said the company sent out the required notifications about the tower, and any safety and well-being concerns are unfounded. He said in the rare case a tower would fall, it would fold onto itself, and there are no demonstrated health effects.

"I appreciate people don't like towers in their backyard, but the bottom line is they've got to be somewhere,” Schneider said. "I think if people had participated earlier on, we probably would've chosen one of the other spots up front.

Law changes that came with 2013’s state budget mean municipalities have little say over where cell towers can go. Village officials said the project is out of their hands.

Schneider said that local support is important, and he’s spoken with village officials and is working with the property owner to select a different location for the tower farther away from the houses in the neighborhood.

"We're going to pay extra for this tower because we're going to move it and try to work with the community,” Schneider said.