Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Wasted Day

Last week I dashed up to northern Wisconsin for what could be described as a non-traditional site trip. I had worked on a tower site in Woodboro in Oneida County over a year ago. It was memorable in that I placed a notice in the local paper soliciting comments pertaining to historic structures. I received at least four angry letters decrying the "cancer tower" and the "greedy bastards" who were spoiling the pristine views of northern Wisconsin. Now, I've put up some big towers, and I've put up some ugly towers. This site was neither. It was under 200' so it would be not lit, and it was a quarter mile back in the woods. I never understood what the fuss was about.

Well, this tower site kept plodding along, long after my work had been done. I didn't even realize that it was still awaiting approval. I was told that the locals had all rallied together and shouted the cell company rep down at the first several meetings. Finally, the rep agreed to have a actual tower simulation put up at the site so that concerned citizens could see for themselves what was being proposed.
That, my friends, is a crane. 188' to the tip. Bolted to the crane is a wooden mock-up painted neon orange. 193' to the top, exactly the height proposed. We hung a 300' tape from it to verify. I drove over three and a half hours to get to this site at 8:15 A.M. The zoning board and the concerned citizenry showed up around 10. My role was to answer any questions and take pictures. There were no questions. For the most part, the "tower" was completely screened from view. Only at one or two locations was the crane visible. Here's the most prominent I saw:See that little guy? No? Here's a zoomed shot:That's it. Like the sign? There was at least 30 of them throughout the area. The zoning meeting was at 1 that afternoon. I was told that not one of the anti-tower group bothered showing up after seeing what exactly it was they had opposed for a year. Of course, the tower was approved without any problems. Other than the absurdity of spending an entire day on site for the purpose of 15 minutes worth of pictures, the most interesting thing was the actual disappointment I saw on the faces of those people that had gotten so worked up over this tower. Not a single person that came out to the site expressed relief that the tower wouldn't be visible from their vacation cabins and homes. It's almost as if they wanted it to be big and ugly.