Illinois Town Ponders its Vertical Future


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One cell tower in Northbrook, IL is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2023, but plans for a new tower are less concrete. The Daily Herald reports that trustees of the Northbrook Village Board met last week to consider their options.

The Board heard from a representative of Crown Castle and agreed to renew the special permit for the antenna that the company maintains near the Techny Prairie Activity Center. Crown Castle reminded the Board that when the lease expires in two years, the antenna will be removed.

The board also considered a proposal from Vertical Bridge to build a 120-foot cell tower in an industrial park on Techny Road. Vertical Bridge requested a special zoning permit after changing the placement of the tower site within the property, the Herald reported. Local building codes mandate that a new cell tower be at least 110 percent of the structure’s height away from surrounding buildings.

Trustee Muriel Collision summarized the Board’s dilemma, noting, “If you have a 120-foot tower, and the nearest building, which is not on the subject property, is 115 feet away – that doesn’t work for me.”

Also in attendance was LLC Telecom Services zoning director, Mike Bieniek. Bieniek advised the Trustees that cell towers are designed with an eye towards safety. If the cell tower were imperiled, he explained, the snap point is calculated to occur two thirds of the way down the structure. Internal cables anchor the broken portion to the base to keep the top section from falling outward and hitting surrounding buildings.

The Board has not yet reached a decision on whether to issue a special zoning permit.

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