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updated: 8/2/2011 12:40 PM

Des Plaines residents win fight against 100-foot cell tower

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In a decision that pleased several citizens who showed up to protest, the Des Plaines City Council on Monday narrowly decided to deny T-Mobile a cell tower at 877 Central Road on property originally slated for a fire station.

The proposed 100-foot-tall tower was opposed by 144 families in the area who signed a petition expressing their disapproval. The vote was 5-3 in favor of a motion to deny.

Casting their vote with the majority were James Brookman, Matthew Bogusz, Dick Sayad, Mark Walsten and Dan Wilson. Those voting in the minority were Patricia Haugeberg, John Robinson and Michael Charewicz.

The vote came after a three-year fight and prior votes July 5 against and July 19 in favor of construction of the tower, both of which votes were on first reading and therefore were not final.

Brookman said his research has shown that a cell tower could cause property values to drop by as much as 20 percent.

He also said the safety of firefighters should be considered.

"If we, in fact, build a fire station there, which was the original plan, no one is going to be closer to the cell tower (and subject to possible harm) than the firefighters," said Brookman, a former firefighter. "They have enough exposure already. I couldn't vote for this, for that reason alone."

T-Mobile has been leasing the land for the last three years because the tower was initially part of the fire station plan, which was abandoned for the time being due to lack of funding.

Area resident Allison Ferrini, who said she has been involved in the issue for three years, spoke strongly against the tower. She argued that the tower would devalue surrounding properties, would be an eyesore and create a stigma because of the perceived health risks associated with cell towers.

She added, "Money to the city should not be a primary motivator for the approval of this tower, at the detriment of 125-plus homes. Honestly, $1.4 million over 25 years is peanuts by comparison to what Des Plaines will receive from the casino operations."

Another resident, John Grimaldi, addressed Mayor Martin Moylan, who was absent, and the council, saying, "If our voice is not heard, we will retaliate by next election."