Bug Tussel Takes on Devil’s Lake and Loses

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The Sauk County Land Resources and Environment Committee unanimously denied a permit for Bug Tussel Wireless to build a 180-foot tower outside of Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin. The Baraboo News Republic reported that the tower would not only provide improved coverage for Bug Tussel users throughout the park but will also be equipped with AT&T FirstNet access. The proposed land for the tower is private property, which Bug Tussel plans to lease, per the News Republic. 

At the public hearing on Tuesday, there was only opposition to the project. Concerns included decreased property values, health issues, aesthetic worries, and the possible impact on wildlife and bird flight patterns throughout the park. 

“I’m trying to wrap my head around this whole issue,” said resident Steve Drexler. “Property values, obviously they are going to drop.” Drexler added that he “had absolutely no trouble calling emergency services” after encountering a major biking issue while in Devil’s Lake Park, so he’s not convinced a tower is necessary. 

A neighbor of the park, Jennifer Perkins, cited a German medical study indicating a higher likelihood of getting cancer when living near a tower. “My children have the right to live without three times the chance of cancer. I have the right to live without three times the increased chance of cancer,” said Perkins. “If this passes, I come home to look at a beacon of death behind my home.” 

Todd Persche, Baraboo Range Preservation Association Executive Director added, “I think they made a pretty strong statement that this is beyond aesthetics. You’re moving into a historical perspective that this a preservation of nature and peace and quiet and they felt this flew in the face of that.”

Jason Weid, an attorney for Bug Tussel, said he understood the public’s concerns and explained the company had been looking for tower location for nearly four years before determining the proposed site was the best option. “We are trying to find a spot after balancing these issues to put these towers that will provide the services we need,” said Weid. He also added that Bug Tussell might appeal the decision.

October 28, 2019

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