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Neighbors fighting cell tower proposal

Posted at 9:32 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 13:09:04-05

GREEN BAY, WI -- A neighborhood on Green Bay's southeast side is fed up with plans for a 195-foot-high cell phone tower near some of their homes.

Tonight, they're weighing their options with city leaders, which seem to be limited at best.

Neighbors are clear, it's not the 195-foot tower they take issue with as much as where N.E.W. Lutheran High School, who is leasing the land, plans on allowing it to be built.

In Green Bay's Wilder Park neighborhood, "you have the schools, and the parks here, and you look around, and look at the houses," says Dist. 2 Alderman Tom De Wane. "They care what's in the neighborhood."
 
De Wane says talks with N.E.W. Lutheran leaders, and SBA Communications--who owns the tower--are dissolving. 
 
"Well it's been difficult, I have to tell you," adds De Wane.
 
Neighborhood association president Scott Vanidestine says neighbors feel betrayed.
 
 "'We're putting a cell phone tower here, and that's it! We're doing it, and we don't care what you say," says Vanidestine, describing the attitude he feels both parties are approaching the issue.
 
And they're worried the cell tower would only damage property values.
 
"If I were going to buy a new property, and I come up to the house, and I see a tower 50 feet from my house, I'm turning around," says De Wane.
 
Neighbors say they'd even welcome a tower further away from their homes.
 
"You know, move it back by the school," adds Vanidestine, describing the space that N.E.W. has to work with.
 
"To see that they're not willing to negotiate, and that it's all about money, makes it difficult for us," says De Wane.
 
Tonight neighbors are discussing their limited options, but the school declined to take part.
 
"I was told that they would not be there," says Vanidestine, "you know, we've tried talking with the school. I've personally called SBA and get no calls back."
 
The city can't block the tower, but de wane says neighbors might be able to in civil court. 
 
"I mean, we need our power back," says De Wane, "so, that's in process."
 
We reached out to Chris Nelson, N.E.W. Lutheran's executive director, for comment, but our requests were not returned by news time.