View of historic Holy Hill in jeopardy for some Town of Erin residents due to proposed tower

NOW: View of historic Holy Hill in jeopardy for some Town of Erin residents due to proposed tower


TOWN OF ERIN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Residents in the Town of Erin are up in arms over the proposal for a tall tower that would block their scenic view.

At a public hearing Wednesday night, Oct. 27, one woman said she felt like she was duped into buying property in the historic area where she never expected something like this.

"We felt assured that there would never be a tower there, because why, who would mar the landscape of Holy Hill?" said resident Linda Bailey.

Bailey was among a packed room of fired-up residents. At issue is whether Washington County can put up a 32-story tower at the center of Erin at the corner of 83 and 167.

"Town of Erin is a little odd, so we can't go much further south because Holy Hill would block the wavelength," said Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis. "We can't go much further north because city of Hartford already has a tower, so we're kind of in that window of where we have to be."

The sheriff actually would rather build the tower close to where the present tower is located, which residents know as "the pit."

The new tower would be a giant upgrade to Washington County sheriff's communications, which serves all municipalities throughout Washington County, but legally, right now, they can't.

"The Town of Erin has offered to lease them property in what they call the gravel pit, where there's another tower, so why litter the landscape? And the lease would be for 99 years, for a penny a year, and the county is refusing to lease the land, that land. They want to instead have plan b, which is purchasing a small land by our property, which would be looking right at Holy Hill," said Bailey.

There's also an issue with the company that presently leases land where the current tower's at for $48-thousand a year.

Board members said they can't put themselves in legal jeopardy, so that's why they're at a crossroad. 

"There's about 6.8 million transactions on the radio system every single year, so it's important to me that we have a reliable system," said Sheriff Schulteis.

The sheriff says it would cost roughly $400,000 to $600,000 to build the new tower. 

No action was taken by the board Wednesday night.

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