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Developer uses drone video to demonstrate proposal

Aug. 19, 2014

A New Berlin electronics guru saved the day for a group of technology newbies in the city of Delafield last week.

"He always comes through for us," Delafield Mayor Michele DeYoe said of Mike Miles of Miles Pro Audio - Visual of New Berlin.

It rang particularly true last week when Miles bailed the Delafield Plan Commission and a Madison developer out of a electronic technology quagmire.

Without Miles, developer Joe McCormick probably would not have able to show the commission a video intended to illustrate how a line of trees will help block the view of three-story apartment buildings he wants to build on the west edge of the Village Square shopping center at Highways 83 and 16, on the northeast corner of the city.

Robert Borkowski, who lives on Vettelson Road which runs along the southern boundary of the shopping center, has vehemently objected to the project arguing that the apartment buildings will be an obtrusive view out of the windows of his home and the tenants in the upper floors of the apartment will be able to look into his home, invading his privacy.

McCormick had a radio-controlled drone equipped with a video camera flown at the various heights to illustrate the view tenants would have from the first, second and third floors of the proposed apartment buildings.

There was a line of trees between Borkowski's house and the site of the buildings in the video that appeared to obscure the view of the apartment buildings from Vettelson Road.

"I have never seen anything like it. Usually you have to take the developers word for something like that ... but with this commissioners can actually see and draw their own conclusions," DeYoe said later.

Borkowski rebutted that nearly all of the trees visible in the video he had planted and where on his property, not the shopping center's. And, he noted, those trees are bare during late fall, winter and early spring and will not block his view of the apartments or the tenants view of his home.

However, the video probably would have not been shown without Miles' electronic ingenuity. When McCormick arrived at city hall last Wednesday evening, he did not have the right equipment to link into the computerized audio and video system in the city's meeting room.

The system was installed when the new city hall was built in 2010. It includes multiple cameras, television monitors and large screens where Power Point presentations and planning maps and documents are often displayed for the benefit of the council, commission and citizens attending those meetings.

Miles is a part-time city consultant who operates the system from a small room in the back of the council/commission meeting room. The room, with its audio-video switching board and television monitors, resembles a small TV broadcast control room.

The stocky built, bearded Miles, who often wears wide suspenders, has become somewhat of a fixture at city hall. Shortly before each meeting, Miles briefs the citizens attending the meeting about how the audio-video system works.

He welcomes them to city hall, admonishes them not to voice "personal attacks" against the city officials, thanks them for participating in local government and then warns them to leave if they don't want to seen in public.

He explains that the meetings are repeatedly broadcast on the city's local government access channel and anyone in the room is likely to become part of that broadcast.

But, he also helps planners, engineers, lawyers, accountants, bureaucrats and others who testify before the commission or council load their Power Point presentations and other documents into the city hall system.

When it became apparent that McCormick did not have the right electronics last week, Miles went to work.

The video was loaded onto McCormick's lap top. Miles placed the lap top on a table in front of the commission. He adjusted one of the cameras mounted on the ceiling so it was focused on the lap top's screen.

From his control room, he televised the lap top screen as McCormick played the video. The image of McCormick's video was then broadcast on the large monitors in the room allowing commissioners and citizens to see the video.

Miles is no stranger to the art of broadcast productions. He used to work in radio and his father once produced a television show that featured local high school musicians.

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