New Cell Tower Plans Put on Hold

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Verizon has hopes to construct a130-foot cell phone tower in Naperville, but those plans are on hold for a while.

The Naperville City Council voted to table the request for construction of the tower on the golf course near the Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve and Naper Aero Estates.

Ray Shinkle, a realtor representing Verizon, said the tower is necessary to fill this coverage gap in signal, a need that Councilwoman Judy Brodhead confirmed.

“I certainly see living in that part of town that there is a real need for better cell coverage. My worst cell coverage is in my own house,” Brodhead said.

But several people spoke out against the plan during public comment, saying more existing structures should be considered before constructing a tower.

“There are many existing man-made structures on 75th Street and Route 59 that could be utilized for a cell tower that would be less deleterious to wildlife and the aesthetic enjoyment of preserve users,” Wood Dale resident Ronald Skleney said.

Mary Lou Wehrli of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is also concerned about the aesthetic of the area.

“Recognize the incredible vista of 1800 acres of prairie in the center of our beautiful town, and what value do you place on that,” Wehrli said.

Several people also expressed concern that the tower could harm endangered wildlife living nearby, but Shinkle disagrees.

“We do have a no effect approval from the US Fish and Wildlife,” Shinkle said. “Based on the factors, a no effect determination is appropriate because the project will not remove suitable habitat for any listed species and/or no habitat disturbance is anticipated.”

Concerns have been raised that the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act requires the petitioner to consult with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources before moving forward.

Council tabled the vote for two weeks in order to determine if that consultation is required in addition to the US Fish and Wildlife approval.

Originally Verizon planned to light the tower after a request from Naper Aero Estates, but the request has since been withdrawn.

The Federal Aviation Administration does not require lighting the 130-foot tower.

Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.