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Resident worries about proposed radio tower

A public hearing about a commercial radio tower was held at the town of River Falls regular board meeting last Monday, Oct. 1.

Bob Bliss, who did not attend, had applied for a conditional-use permit to operate a commercial radio tower he bought within the town.

Julie Sponsler, a resident whose property at N7649 950the Street borders the plot where the tower sits, attended the hearing. She expressed concerns about granting Bliss the permit.

"I'm concerned with what Mr. Bliss is going to do with the tower and what is going to take place there," said Sponsler. "It's right on my property line."

The tower was constructed before the town had a law regulating radio towers.

It was "grandfathered in" for the original owner, but now it has changed hands to Bliss, so there is a gray area that needs to be clarified, according to Town Clerk Ruth Stern.

"The plan committee's recommendation is that some things need to be done before this permit can be granted," said Town Board Chairwoman Diana Smith. "We have an inspection of the tower, proof of insurance is provided, a fence is put up around the tower, and there is a clarification for what his license is for."

Since Bliss and Town Zoning Administrator Jerome Rodewald were not at the meeting, further discussion and action are planned for the next Town Board meeting Oct. 15.

After the hearing, the board continued to discuss replacing some trees that were inadvertently cut down on Terry Lorenz's property along 986th Street when a mower went beyond town property.

Since the last meeting, Lorenz had already done some landscaping to replace the trees.

"We are responsible to pay for a portion of the cost," said Smith. "It's about $90 to move each tree."

Several Chinese Elm trees were accidentally removed from Lorenz's land. Lorenz suggested putting up pine trees at last month's meeting.

"They can put in $90 pine trees if they'd like, but that goes beyond the town's obligation to replace those trees," said Supervisor Brad Mogen.

"I think we should just offer a cash settlement amount," suggested Supervisor Leroy Kusilek.

Board supervisors recommended different amounts to settle the issue and decided on offering $250 to settle the dispute.