Cell phone tower plan gets cool reaction in Channahon
By Jeanne Millsap Correspondent February 20, 2013 8:28AM
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:09AM
A cellular provider wants to lease space at the west end of Channahon’s Central Park to erect a 135-foot cell tower, but it looks as if neither the village board nor the grade school district is quite as eager to see the tower in their flagship green space.
The village board recently heard the request from National Wireless Ventures, which was representing AT&T. The need for wireless service is growing quickly, the firm’s representative said, with more people dropping land lines for cell phones and a bigger need for wireless service for gas meters, water meters, home security and the electric grid.
Service is also spotty in that particular area, as noted at the meeting by Trustee Debbie Militello, who said she is right in the middle of that dead zone.
But even with the dead zone, it’s the location that bothered most of the trustees.
The provider wants to locate the new tower within 1,200 feet of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, but that area is a residential one with close neighbors of two schools — N.B. Galloway School and Channahon Junior High — and the Channahon Park District’s Arrowhead Community Center, Tomahawk Aquatic Center, SK8 Zone and ball fields.
“We questioned what our parents and community would think about having this tower by Galloway School,” school Superintendent Karin Evans said in a phone interview. “We weren’t sure how everyone would feel about that … When you look at a cell tower and the closeness to a school, parents might ask if there is a better site. Those are our littlest students.”
The park site would be ideal, Bob Stapleton of National Wireless Ventures explained, as there are already fiber optic lines and electric running beneath.
Village laws would have to be modified, however, or a variance approved for the tower’s placement, as Channahon’s telecommunication ordinance specifies a maximum height of 80 feet and a setback of 150 percent of the tower’s height from any residentially zoned lot. The proposed tower would be 135 feet tall and adjacent to the Town Center Zoning District, which contains residential.
Park district Executive Director Chuck Szoke said his board has agreed “to the idea” of placing the tower on its property but hasn’t discussed the exact spot or height.
Trustee Judie Nash also noted that the tower would be right next to the memorial tree walk.
“I’d say find another location,” Trustee Scott Slocum said. “Parks are one of the reasons people move here. … More of an industrial location would be better.”
“I’d say let AT&T go back and find a way to adapt to our ordinances,” Village President Joe Cook said.