The company proposing to construct a 110-foot cellphone tower at the Riverside Public Works facility may alter its plans after receiving a lukewarm response from the village’s Plan Commission on Aug. 18.
According to a spokesman for New Cingular Wireless, Tony Phillips, the company will reexamine its plans with respect to the height and location of the tower on the public works property and could decide to scrap the plan completely.
“We don’t know how it’s going to go based on the climate and the things we learned,” said Phillips, who works for SAC Wireless LLC and appeared before the Plan Commission on behalf of New Cingular Wireless.
“We don’t want to force something down everyone’s throat,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be in a location that’s acceptable to 90 percent of people.”
The Plan Commission will resume discussion of the proposed cell tower at its meeting scheduled for Sept. 15.
According to plans submitted to the Plan Commission, Cingular wants to build a cellphone tower and equipment shelter within a 26-by-30-foot area they would lease from the village.
Interim Village Manager Robin Weaver said that, if the tower were approved, Cingular would pay the village $2,500 per month for the lease. She also indicated that the tower, if it’s tall enough, might be able to accommodate another vendor’s antennae, which could produce additional income.
“The height may preclude others,” Weaver said. “If we want it to blend in with the tree line, only one [vendor] can make it.”
The site would be located in the southeast corner of the public works site, which is in Riverside Lawn south of the Des Plaines River. The area was converted into a public works facility in 2003 after serving for many years as a landfill for the village.
At their meeting last week, plan commissioners learned that the tower would be visible from Riverside Road in Riverside above the tree line. In addition, Cingular appeared to be unaware that the site was formerly a landfill and that it was in a flood plain. Those two factors could play a role in Cingular’s decision to locate the tower there.
“As presented, it’s not happening,” said Phillips of the plan presented to the Plan Commission last week. “As it is, it won’t fly. My recommendation is to make adjustments to the plan.”
The location of the tower also drew fire from Riverside Lawn resident James Bernash, who lives next door to the public works site on 39th Street.
“All I ask is that they put it behind the building where I can’t see it,” Bernash said. “They’ve got all that land and they put it right on the corner.”
Riverside Lawn is part of unincorporated Cook County. The public works site, while in Riverside Lawn, is considered village of Riverside property. Bernash would rather the tower be placed in Riverside proper.
“If your neighborhood is the 8,500 people in Riverside, don’t come over here,” Bernash said. “Put the tower where the people need it in Riverside. I don’t need it.”
Cingular already has a tower at Riverside-Brookfield High School. Another is needed, Phillips said, for additional wireless coverage and capacity.
“Our capacity lately is more of an issue,” Phillips said. “With iPhones and the amount of data being transmitted, there are areas where there’s a higher concentration of people and the antennas can only handle so many people at one time.”
Lyons has a cell tower at its public works facility at 7825 39th St., just a block away from Riverside’s proposed site, but it’s for a different vendor, T-Mobile.
According to Weaver, a study done by Cingular identified downtown Riverside as the ideal spot for a tower, but it wasn’t viable given the village’s historic landmark designation.
The public works site “was more tucked away, and because of the public works use, it makes a lot of sense.”
If Cingular determines it can’t build the tower at the Riverside public works site, said Phillips, the company would search for an alternate location within the roughly 1-square mile area it has identified as needing added service.