Proposal will come before the village board in September

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MENOMONEE FALLS — The plan commission unanimously voted against the installation of what would be the village's first cell tower on residential land and 22nd overall during its Wednesday, Aug. 9 meeting.

The cell tower, proposed for the northwest corner of Lilly Road and Appleton Avenue, was rejected by the panel in a matter of minutes after a nearly hour-long public hearing. 

RELATED: A first for Falls: Cell tower proposed on residential land

Ultimately, the commission rejected the plan, in part, "based upon adverse effects on property values and the location being in the gateway of the village, and the negative effects it will have on future developments.”

But Penney Waggoner, who lives across the street from the proposed tower, said the battle is far from over. 

The proposal will still come before the Menomonee Falls Village Board Sept. 5 for the final decision. 

In two-and-a-half weeks, Waggoner garnered 508 signatures for her petition that opposed the plans. 

"There's still much work to be done," Waggoner said. "The public still is not well informed in Menomonee Falls that this is even an issue."

The majority of residents who spoke and submitted written material to the plan commission opposed the cell tower. Twenty-three emails were also submitted to the plan commission. Of those, only two were in favor of the plans. 

"We received quite a lot of emails and letters in regards to this proposal," said Matt Carran, director of community development for the village. 

In an email that was read at the meeting, one Menomonee Falls resident said the village needed to consider approving the plans. 

"It is functionally and objectively a benefit to the entire village’s present and future residents, businesses, services and visitors.”

Restrictions on municipalities 

The village's legal department provided information to the plan commission on what grounds it can and cannot deny a cell tower proposal based on state law; the conditions are as follows: 

  • The village cannot prohibit telecommunication towers from particular locations within a municipality.
  • The village cannot disapprove an application for a new tower based solely on aesthetic concerns.
  • The village cannot require towers to be placed on property owned by the municipality, and it cannot disapprove an application solely based on the height or whether lighting is required.
  • The village cannot disapprove an application based on a municipality’s determination that other locations are suitable.
  • The village cannot limit the height of the tower to anything less than 200 feet.
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