November 1st Richland Center City Council Meeting

The Richland Center City Council approved a pair of measures related to erecting mobile service facilities – namely cell phone, wireless data, and radio communication towers – in the Extraterritorial Zone.

Per Wisconsin state statute, a municipality or county has very limited authority in regulating the placement or usage of these towers. The council approved an ordinance that makes placing mobile service facilities and mobile service support structures a “conditional use” in the ETZ. The action effectively makes those seeking the structures go through the local zoning board and city council because it would no longer be a “permitted use.” The Richland Center City Council faced its first request per those guidelines Tuesday night. Bug Tussle Wireless – a high-speed internet provider for many parts of rural Wisconsin – was seeking a conditional use permit to construct a 255-foot tower in the Extraterritorial Zone just east of Pleasant Valley Drive and Mountain Lane. Members of the council raised several concerns about the project, but because the state laws curb a local government’s authority regarding placement, the permit request was approved on a 6-to- 2 vote with several conditions. The tower owner must repair local roads damaged in the construction process; the owner is responsible for maintaining the access road and control run-off; and it was requested that the owner consider allowing 10-feet of tower space and up to three antennas for emergency communications at no charge for life – however that request is non-binding. Mike Kauffman and John Collins cast the lone “no” votes to the conditional use permit request.

The City Council granted conceptual approval to Schreiber Foods’ nearly 97,000-square foot dry storage warehouse in the North Industrial Park. Brad Bierman of Epic Construction said the facility is planned for the corner of East Robb and West Robb Road. There is also enough space available on the lot to expand if that is needed in the future. The final developer’s agreement will be brought to the council at a future meeting. Bierman indicated that they would like to begin the construction process prior to winter.

Richland Center Alderpersons approved a bid from the Homesteader’s Store for a stainless steel Snowdogg snowplow for the Parks Department in the amount of $4,350. The purchase price – which is below the $5,000 that was budgeted for the plow – includes a 2-year warranty and installation.

In other action from the Richland Center City Council meeting Tuesday night, the city held a public hearing and ultimately approved an ordinance for flood plain zoning and a related floodplain map as required by state and federal law. The council approved Johnson Block to continue as the city’s auditor next year with a base rate of $11,500 – a slight increase from the prior contract. The city council also approved Peter Walsh to serve on the Police Commission for the term being vacated by Dr. Allen Kidd. Kidd resigned this week after 21 ½ years on the Police Commission. It was noted that during his tenure – which he most recently served as chairperson – Kidd was involved in hiring 39 members of the Richland Center Police Department. Finally, Mayor Paul Corcoran thanked everyone for volunteering and participating in last week’s Guinness World Record pumpkin event. He called it an “amazing family event.”