To the editor,

The streetscape in Monona is apparently in for a big change. TDS towers are coming. We have seen no coverage of this in any media, so we suspect few residents are aware of it. The Herald-independent website appears to have no story about TDS and Monona.

Some part of the front yard of nearly every residence in Monona belongs not to the homeowner who cares for it, but is instead city right of way. If our understanding is correct, TDS Telecom has been granted a permit to place a small tower in the city’s right of way in the front yard of every residential property in the city of Monona.

These towers are about 2 feet tall and a foot square. TDS hopes to put one in every yard in order to provide fiber optic telephone and internet service.

Bill Cole, Monona’s city attorney, tells us that TDS is a utility under Wisconsin’s statutes and that the statutes provide that utilities have an absolute right to place their infrastructure in public rights of way. Apparently, Monona had no discretion to deny this permit. Further, Monona is prohibited from charging TDS for the use of this right of way, so the city is in effect subsidizing this Fortune 1000 corporation.

The character of Monona streets will change significantly if every front yard gains one of these unsightly towers. Every yard will need to be disturbed so that the fiber optic cables can be installed. Landscaping, flower gardens and lawns are likely to be at risk, if not ruined. Will these be fully restored?

Imagine what the snowplows might do to these towers.

We believe these towers should be installed at the discretion of the homeowner and should be in the rear of residences, not in front on the streets.

As things stand now, Monona homeowners should not be surprised to wake up some day and find their yard disturbed and a tower being installed in a location chosen by TDS.

Peter McKeever and Marena Kehl


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