AT&T proposes cellphone tower at Norge Ski Jump

FOX RIVER GROVE – A cell phone tower may soon be built next to the Norge Ski Jump.

AT&T wants to build a 140-foot cell phone tower at the Norge Ski Jump. A lightning rod at the top of the tower would bring the total height to 147 feet.

The company is asking for a special use permit from the Village Board, which is scheduled to vote on the matter on Feb. 6.

According to Norge's website, the top of the ski jump tower is 167 feet above street level.

Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said the tower would not be lit.

Robert Stapleton, who is the president of National Wireless Ventures, LLC, is a consultant for AT&T for this proposed project.

He said the investment for tower is close to $1 million, which will help provide data service to the area. About a third of houses have disconnected from landlines and have only wireless service, Stapleton said.

The tower would help meet the growing demand for data service as more people have multiple devices in their homes.

Stapleton said the tower will help enhance emergency communications, "especially for those who have dropped their landline phones."

Emergency 911 calls have to be handled by the nearest cell phone tower.

Stapleton said the tower will be able to hold additional carriers.

AT&T and Norge have entered into a long-term agreement and revenue from additional carriers will be split between AT&T and Norge, Stapleton said.

Norge already allows cell phone companies to place antennas on their ski jump tower. Stapleton said there would be too much of a load if AT&T decided to put antennas on the ski jump.

"It was decided the best way to do this and work with ski jump folks [was] to come up with our own tower," Stapleton said.

There is concern about how a tower would effect the view around the hill. AT&T has worked around other skylines and landmarks, Stapleton said.

"We try to have as little impact on a community as possible," Stapleton said. "We'll do our best to mitigate the impact to the community."

Stapleton said the company is working on providing photo simulations of the tower.

Village trustees are waiting for the renderings of the tower before making a final decision.

"I think seeing the simulations is a good thing, but I think probably upon seeing that, are certainly going to immediately have a reservation in regards to how it looks because it's different," said Trustee Steve Knar. "Unfortunately, this is progress... I would hate to deny our residents ... better cell service because that's where it's going."

Judy Mascolino, who lives near the ski jump club, objects to the proposed cell phone tower. She said she is worried about the aesthetics of the tower as well increased radio waves in the area.

"This tower is not a requirement for the village. It's not needed for police, it's not needed for safety," Mascolino said. "This is simply a money-making deal between two private entities. A private entity of AT&T and a private entity of a non-profit, which is the Norge Ski Jump. Why should we sully further the hill we have, a beautiful place, with this huge tower?"

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