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Letters to the Editor

Letter: More critical context on proposed cell tower

To the editor:

I'm writing regarding the article that appeared on page 4 of the Aug. 24 Chronicle titled "Cell tower public hearing extended."

I attended the meeting and believe some clarification is needed.

The report states Central States Tower faces a problem as the current application was missing an escrow amount that would pay for any third party review of the cost estimates provided for sharing space on the AT&T tower or the costs for the construction of the Verizon tower.

Although this is true, the application also failed to consider FAA regulations regarding towers near an airport runway because, as the Central States Tower representative stated, there is no airport in the area. The gentleman was corrected. He has been negotiating with the city for over two years and has visited DeKalb at least three times. Due diligence would have alerted him to the necessity of complying with FAA regulations.

Next, the article says that public reaction during the meeting was mixed, with some residents critical of the company after its work in the past and others acknowledging that cell reception does drop in the surrounding area.

Yes, public reaction was mixed. On one hand, three people, the owner, the building manager, and a former tenant of the building on the proposed new tower site, were the ones who acknowledged that cell reception drops. Perhaps there is an issue with the building, which is over 30 years old?

The article continues with comments from Tarryn Thaden, warehouse manager at the proposed site. She said the proposed monopole would be minimal.

A 140-foot-tall cell tower is not minimal. Also, Thaden works for the company that will lease the land for the tower for $10,000 a year for 50 years. Thaden is entitled to speak on the issue, but she does not live in this neighborhood.

On the other hand, Dave Lehman gave a detailed account of the code requirements Central States Tower omitted or attempted to by-pass in its prior attempt to obtain the special-use permit.

At least eight neighborhood residents commented during public forum. Patrick Fagan, Fourth Ward alderman, noted he had received three supportive notes: one from the property owner who will lease the land, and one from a worker within the building, and nine negative votes from residents in his ward. One person spoke to the legality of some of the documents presented to the committee. Another gentleman suggested new technology could replace tall towers with data transmission equipment mounted on utility poles. Others questioned the need for another eyesore within a few yards of an existing tower, why other nearby sites could not be used for collocation of the Verizon antenna, or why a new tower could not be in the Park 88 district.

More could be said, but I believe these points should be mentioned to give a balanced view of the situation.

D’Ann Hamilton-White


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