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updated: 12/13/2011 6:10 AM

Glen Ellyn board says antennas can stay despite complaints

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  • Residents who live near a water tower in Glen Ellyn are upset about the height of antennas that have been installed on top of the tower, and they say the village violated its own ordinances when it approved the installations.

       Residents who live near a water tower in Glen Ellyn are upset about the height of antennas that have been installed on top of the tower, and they say the village violated its own ordinances when it approved the installations.
    SCOTT SANDERS | Staff Photographer

  • Residents who live near a water tower in Glen Ellyn are upset about the height of antennas that have been installed on top of the tower, and they say the village violated its own ordinances when it approved the installations.

       Residents who live near a water tower in Glen Ellyn are upset about the height of antennas that have been installed on top of the tower, and they say the village violated its own ordinances when it approved the installations.
    SCOTT SANDERS | Staff Photographer

 
 

Two antennas that have been installed on top of a water tower in Glen Ellyn will be staying put -- even though a group of nearby residents say the village isn't following its own ordinances by allowing them.

The village board voted 4-1 Monday to permit two existing DuPage Public Safety Communications antennas to remain on a village-owned water tower on Cottage Avenue, between Western and Pleasant avenues.

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Trustees also voted 4-1 to approve installation of a new antenna for the village's Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system, to be used to send radio signals to potable water production facilities and sanitary sewer lift stations in the village.

But a group of residents who filed suit against the village in 2008 have cited a 1991 village ordinance that states antennas on top of the 123-foot tall water tower are to be "kept to a minimum." The neighbors say they aren't opposed to the DuComm or SCADA antennae themselves -- but they don't like that the antennas are being attached to a T-Mobile cellular tripod, which was approved by the village and put on top of the tower in 2008.

The DuComm antennas, used for emergency police and fire communications in the surrounding area, were relocated to the top of the tripod in 2008, increasing their height from the base of the tower from 140 feet to just under 150 feet.

But village rules restrict the height to be no more than 140 feet, said Charles Chejfec, an attorney representing the residents in the suit. Chejfec also lives near the water tower.

"Our ordinances must be followed. No one is above them," Chejfec said at Monday's village board meeting. "The village has been willfully violating its own ordinances."

Barbara Ruisard Reber, one of the neighbors, said the village is putting up "an antenna farm," which is ruining property values in their residential neighborhood.

"It's just another antenna you're putting up and ruining our sight lines, and you're breaking the law to do it," she told trustees. "You're elected to serve us, not T-Mobile."

Village officials say both the circuit and appellate courts have denied the residents' contention that the village's decision to allow the T-Mobile antennas were in violation of any local ordinances or state law. They also said it would be up to the village to determine what "at a minimum" means in the 1991 ordinance.

The suit is expected to be heard at the district court level next month, during which Chejfec said he will again seek to have T-Mobile's equipment removed.

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