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Greendale residents angry over proposed cell tower

Proposal has tower on church property
Posted: 12:18 PM, Feb 07, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-07 21:20:14Z

Some residents of the Village of Greendale are speaking out against a proposal to erect a cell phone tower in a residential area, on the property of a church.

The village's Board of Trustees is expected to consider approving a special use permit for the tower at tonight's meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in the courtroom of the Greendale Safety Center - 5911 W. Grange Ave.

The 100-foot tower would be placed on the property of St. Stephen the Martyr Lutheran Church, which has agreed to lease part of its land to T-Mobile so the company can install the tower.

Some neighbors worry the tower will negatively impact property values.

Others are concerned about the possible health risks to nearby residents and students at nearby schools.

Kevin Svoboda, who lives 1.5 miles away from the proposed tower site, has children ages seven and four.

"This tower will be close to both of their schools," he said.

In a written statement, St. Stephen the Martyr Lutheran Church said data shows no definitive impact on property values or health linked to cell phone towers.

State law gives local governments little authority to block the cell phone towers as long as they meet basic safety requirements.

The church's pastor said passing up on the opportunity for extra revenue would only have lead to a nearby business agreeing a lease with T-Mobile instead.

"If the tower were to be built anyway, we felt routing the lease monies into the outreach and benevolence of a church was better than handing the funds over to a company," said Rev. Brian Hooper in a statement.

Hooper added the congregation "hears and respects" the issues raised nearby residents.

"The congregation has received some less vocal support from residents as well, stating that the tower will help improve emergency services (911, etc.) and will provide technology support," Hooper said in an email.

Svoboda is frustrated the village's trustees can't do more to block the agreement.

"By losing local control, we don't have the ability to limit what goes up in our communities. I think that's the real issue," he said.  

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