With construction on a WSUM student radio tower expected to be completed this fall, the town of Montrose has again filed suit in Dane County Circuit Court to stop the project.
The UW System Board of Regents was served with the lawsuit Aug. 29, but a hearing date has not yet been set, said attorney Laura Dulski, who is representing Montrose in the case.
The suit follows a unanimous July 26 decision by the Dane County Board of Adjustments upholding the validity of the university's conditional use permit for construction of the tower.
The town had argued that the permit had expired, citing statutes stating that conditional use permits must be acted on within one year of the date they are issued. The Dane County Zoning and Natural Resources board issued the permit in April 1998.
However, the Board of Adjustments agreed with the university's claim that the one-year expiration clock did not start ticking until the town finished its appeals of the permit to the county board and state courts. The state Court of Appeals ruled in August 2000 that the town could not block the tower's construction because it is for governmental use and the state Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal last March. In April, the County Board voted to uphold the issuance of the permit.
Dulski said she expects the Circuit Court to overturn the Board of Adjustments' decision, citing cases in other states in which courts have required organizations whose permits were appealed to renew their permits while their cases were pending.
'I cited a lot of cases [to the Board of Adjustments]'and the university cited none [in its favor]'to support our case that [the one-year] deadline is a strict deadline,' Dulski said. 'We feel we're on very, very solid ground here.'
Despite the town's newest appeal, UW-Madison still expects to build the tower this fall, said Lamarr Billups, special assistant to the chancellor.
'Until a court tells us to stop, we will proceed,' Billups said, adding that the tower should be built 'before the bad weather comes.'
Dulski said the town will seek an injunction to stop construction.
'They haven't started construction yet, but we certainly will [seek an injunction] if they attempt it,' Dulski said.
Billups said UW-Madison is confident that it will eventually succeed in building the tower.
'We believe we will prevail, but you never know what a court will decide,' he said.
Until the tower allowing it to broadcast over the airwaves is finished, students will continue to be able to hear WSUM through its Web site, WSUM general manager Dave Black said.
WSUM radio can be heard at .