Illinois Wireless Deployment Act Challenged in Chicago Suburb

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illinoisIllinois Senate Bill 2785 will create the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act, which would prevent municipal authorities from regulating mounting of facilities and networks on existing structures. The Illinois General Assembly’s last action on the introduced Bill was in July, when the Senate Committee stated that “a city, village, incorporated town, township, or county and each department or agency thereof, may not prohibit or regulate the collocation of small wireless facilities or small facility networks.” It also would provide that “small wireless facilities and small facility networks shall be a permitted use in all authority zoning districts.”  Inside Towers has been covering similar battles being waged in ConnecticutCaliforniaMinnesota and Kansas.

The Burr Ridge Village Board has taken a preemptive step to fight the proposed Bill, after Mobilitie’s proposal to put up 120-foot light poles in public rights-of-way in Burr Ridge. The light poles would allow multiple carriers to group two or three antennas for their services, according to the Chicago Tribune. While there is a growing need for small cell technology in communities, the Village Board unanimously passed an ordinance during this week’s meeting to limit both Mobilitie and other carriers’ antennas to seven feet above the utility pole or alternative structure, for a combined height of 35 feet.   

This resolution, according to the Tribune, is in direct opposition to the proposed Bill. The Village also intends to send letters to Governor Bruce Rauner, the Illinois House and Senate leaders, and to General Assembly members representing Burr Ridge’s opposition.

Village Administrator Steve Stricker told the Tribune that “wireless carriers will soon be coming to municipalities with requests for the small antennas” and that “villages are better off to have regulations in place stating where they will allow the technology devices.” He said that the Village’s ordinance is a “stopgap measure” until a reasonable compromise can be worked out with providers statewide.

Additionally, he said Mobilitie’s map of the 120-foot proposed towers is near Route 83 south of 91st Street, across from a senior living facility and Fallingwater Subdivision. They also are targeted for other locations throughout DuPage County, which he told the Tribune, is a major concern to every municipality. “Area municipal leaders are not looking to stop the devices,” he said “but it has to be done in the right way. We should, as a municipality, have the right to be able to regulate based on our community standards and the health, welfare and safety of our community.”

October 13, 2016

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