Riverside trustees last month gave the go ahead for a public hearing on building a 100-foot tall communications tower at its public works headquarters property, across the river in Riverside Lawn.

The tower is needed, officials say, to provide a data relay point for a proposed new remote-read water meter system as well as a faster way to transmit that data to the water billing department at the village offices in Riverside proper.

Riverside last overhauled its water meter system in 2004, when it replaced meters that had to be manually read with a remote-read system that still required someone to drive through the village and get readings from homes and businesses as they passed by.

That $800,000 program was funded by charging water customers an extra $235 fee on their water bills.

What’s being proposed for installation in 2021 is a remote-read system where data can be transmitted from individual meters throughout the village to a communications tower, eliminating the need for an employee to drive through the village to collect data.

The new system, officials say, will also allow customers to track their water usage and provide a better way for the village to monitor unusual spikes in usage and catch leaks before households receive extremely high water bills due to an undetected problem.

But to make the system work, the village has to have a communications tower tall enough to get a relay antenna above the tree canopy that surrounds the public works building.

Plans call for the tower, which would be a triangular-shaped structure made of galvanized steel that is tapered from bottom to top, to be located in the southwest corner of the public works property.

Such a tower on that property would require a special use permit, and village trustees on June 18 all agreed that the Planning and Zoning Commission convene a public hearing on the matter.

A public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to be held in late summer or early fall.

Trustees appeared satisfied that the tower would not be an eyesore to residents who live north of the Des Plaines River in Riverside, along Riverside Road, particularly when trees are in full leaf.

The tower no doubt will be quite visible to those living near the public works facility in Riverside Lawn, which is an unincorporated section of Riverside Township between the river and 39th Street. It will also be visible to those who live in Lyons immediately south of 39th Street.

The village is required to notify anyone who lives within 250 feet of the tower’s location of the public hearing. While that places anyone living in Riverside proper out of that radius, officials said they planned on sending notices to people who live within 250 feet of the Riverside Road right-of-way in Riverside.