FOX RIVER GROVE – A handful of residents who live near the Norge Ski Jump club have spoken out against a proposed 140-foot cell phone monopole that AT&T wants to build.
The tower would be located southeast of the ski jump on the club's property.
AT&T also would build a 12 by 28 foot shelter for a generator, fiber optic equipment, as part of the project would include AT&T bringing in fiber optic cable to the site.
The Village Board is scheduled to vote on whether to approve the cell tower at its March 20 meeting.
Residents who live near the ski jump club, who say they will have a view of the tower, asked whether the ski jump, which already has cell antennas on it, can accommodate AT&T's antennas.
AT&T and representatives from their consultants at National Wireless, say the ski tower cannot handle the additional weight.
Nearby resident Wayne Anderson said he would rather the ski jump be re-enforced to help accommodate more antennas.
"The structural question sounds like a good excuse to be able to instead to put a very large facility in place, ... that probably has more capability to bring many more vendors in, add more antennas to make more money for Norge," Anderson said.
Judy Mascolino and Jake Fleischmann pointed out that the village would receive no revenue from this tower.
"There are really zero benefits to the village of Fox River Grove," Fleischmann said. "If nothing else, it's going to be an eyesore for our community."
Mascolino had heath concerns of having a tower in the area.
"Why should we, ... be giving something away for free, and at the same time taking health risks in the mean time," Mascolino said. "I just see this is a lose-lose for Fox River Grove."
Pete Aimaro, a real estate agent with National Wireless said the company builds towers at least twice the height of the tower away from residential property. He added the electrical waves are more powerful closer to the antennas, and as you move away, they dissipate.
Andrew Flowers who is a real estate and construction manager for AT&T said the tower is needed to accommodate the increase demand on data and voice use on cell phones.
"Everybody wants their cell phone, but nobody wants to see the tower," Flowers said. "We haven't found that invisible paint yet."
The tower, which would be an investment of more than $500,000, would help improve coverage along Route 14 and Route 22, and up to the Fox River, he said.
He added that the tower would be able to accommodate other antennas, including those already on the ski jump.
"If someday something happened to that ski jump, they could move back to the tower and not have to build a plethora of other towers in the community," Flowers said.
Trustee Steve Knar said he supported approving the tower construction.
"Nobody thought we would be walking around with personal computers in our pocket and times have changed," Knar said. "This is the future, everybody has one these and needs to remain connected ... People will not have landlines any more.'"
Trustee Suzanne Blohm said she is torn on the issue. She has voted against moving the issue to the board for a final vote.
"I do have concerns about aesthetics [and], the height," Blohm said. "I also see the advantages."
Trustee Joanna Colletti said the additional fiber optic cable AT&T would bring in would benefit a lot of people and would increase the broadband and wireless capabilities in the village.
"Those are very expensive, we don't have the funds to be able to do that," Colletti said.