A property owner who lives near the site of the construction of a new communications tower in the town of Minocqua wants Oneida County to revoke a conditional use permit (CUP) granted to allow the construction.
Central States Tower (CST) is constructing the new cellular communications tower along U.S Highway 51 near Cornerstone Custom Builders. The location is just a few hundred feet away from another communications tower owned by NRG Media on which Verizon leases space for its cellular equipment.
County officials granted CST the CUP late last year to allow construction of the new tower after Verizon was unable to reach an agreement on a reasonable increase in renting its location on the NRG tower after it updates its equipment there.
Verizon wants to upgrade its equipment to 4G technology and felt the lease demands by NRG were “unreasonable” and above current market values.
After the county granted the CUP for CST to construct the new tower, nearby property owner Steven Zoellner, who lives at 9936 Ridgewood Drive, requested the county revoke NRG Media’s CUP for its tower because it did not reach an agreement Verizon felt was reasonable to co-locate on the NRG tower.
Shortly after the start of the new year, the necessary zoning and building permits, as well as the CUP, were provided to CST and construction of the new tower began and is still under way.
Granting of CUP
While granting the CUP for the CST tower the Oneida County Planning and Zoning Committee agreed, according to Zoellner, “the fees, costs or contractual provisions required by the owner of the existing communication structure ... are unreasonable relative to industry standards.”
Zoellner said that when he wanted to have NRG Media’s CUP revoked because of the committee’s earlier decision to grant the CUP for CST, he was told “the fees or contractual provisions” were reasonable. Zoellner said that because of that fact CST’s CUP for the new tower should be revoked.
Can’t have it both ways
Zoellner claims in a letter he sent to county officials dated Dec. 20 that Central States Tower “must again co-locate on an existing structure. On 12/15/12 you copied me a letter from NRG Media restating their position and now contending the existing structure is at full capacity.
“This now leads us to 9.54 (D) (2), ‘If a suitable location cannot be found for placement of an additional antenna and related equipment on an existing structure, any new structure shall be co-sited within 100 feet of an existing structure insofar as possible. In such case the owner of an existing structure shall allow placement of a new structure nearby on his site if space is available and at a reasonable cost. A CUP application to construct a new communications structure shall provide credible evidence as to why any existing structure cannot be used, or if to be located at a new site, why a site with an existing structure cannot be utilized for placement of an adjacent communications structure, to meet these requirements.’”
Zoellner claims CST no longer has “credible evidence” that NRG Media’s “fees, costs or contractual provisions” are unreasonable. Because of that, Zoellner claims CST must co-site by the NRG structure or provide ‘credible evidence’ as to why they cannot.”
Zoellner said in the letter “your committee cannot have it both ways. You are obligated to enforce our existing zoning ordinances.”
At earlier meetings Zoellner also said he doesn’t think its fair that he and other nearby property owners should have to see both towers from their property.
Future agenda topic?
Oneida County Planning and Zoning Director Karl Jennrich said the committee briefly discussed Zoellner’s position at Wednesday’s regular meeting. He said there was only enough discussion so they could decide later if they will put Zoellner’s request on the agenda for the committee’s next meeting Feb. 6.
Joe VanDeLaarschot may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.