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Waukesha County takes over tower talks in Lisbon

June 9, 2014

Lisbon — Town officials are no longer involved in negotiations over the acquisition of a small parcel of commercial property on Indian Grass Lane that is likely to become the site of a 250-foot-tall communication tower that will serve municipal emergency response calls in northern and eastern Waukesha County.

Town Clerk/Administrator Elizabeth Kraus said that officials from Waukesha County have taken over the negotiations with Bachman Enterprises and are proposing a land-use easement rather than purchasing the property.

Town Chairman Matt Gehrke said the town was about to reach a purchase agreement for the small tract of land with Bachman Enterprises late last year when Waukesha County officials decided they would prefer an easement negotiated between Bachman Enterprise and Waukesha County.

A better arrangement

Since Waukesha County was going to construct and operate the tower, it was more appropriate for the county to have a contractual relationship with Bachman Enterprises than the Town of Lisbon, according Waukesha County Corporate Counsel Tom Farley.

"All we need is use of the land, there is no need to purchase it. We would be satisfied with an easement and that is something the land owner would also prefer," Farley said.

Farley said he is optimistic that a final agreement on the easement will be reached but he does not know how soon.

County officials had hoped to have the Lisbon tower, as well as a new tower in Vernon, completed by the end of the last year. The construction of the towers, each costing about $1.2 million, is part of a an upgrade in the county wide communication system used by municipal emergency responders that includes converting signals from analogue to digital sound.

There have been delays in implementing the program, according to Farley.

Weak spots

New towers in Lisbon and Vernon are necessary because there are weak spots in radio transmissions in those communities in northern and southern Waukesha County. Initially, county officials said they wanted the new towers located on public land.

However, a proposal by Lisbon town officials to locate the tower adjacent to the town's fire station and public works garage located near the intersection of Good Hope and Woodside Roads encountered a firestorm of opposition.

Residents in surrounding neighborhoods said they did not want the tower located on town land near the intersection because it would be an eyesore, pose a safety hazard for children, and result in a reduction of property values in the neighborhoods.

The town board agreed it would seek an alternative site for the tower and later began negotiations with Bachman Enterprises, which owns commercial property along Indian Grass Lane, which is located near the northwest corner of the intersection of Highway VV (Silver Spring Drive) and Highway 164.

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