More than a dozen neighbors gathered in Palatine Sunday to discuss their issues with a cell tower in their neighborhood, which they say is too close to residential homes.
The cell tower, located on Crescent Avenue in a neighborhood near Palatine and Quentin roads, was built in 1988, before the homes were built and before the land was annexed into Palatine, said neighbor Vicki Wilson.
Because the cell tower was built on what was then unincorporated Cook County, it was considered a "pre-existing, nonconforming use" under Palatine village code when the village annexed the land.
In August, the contract between the private landowner, a Palatine resident, and American Tower Corp., who manages the tower, is up for renewal and neighbors are asking the only company with equipment on the tower, AT&T, to move to another location in hopes that the tower can be torn down.
"We're not here to complain. That won't get us anywhere. All we're asking is that they look into other options," Wilson said. "This is just not the right place for a cell tower."
The group of residents has reached out to village officials, who have in the past vetoed an expansion of the cell tower, but they don't have control over the renewal. So far, any attempt by the residents to talk to AT&T has not been successful, Wilson said.
Officials from AT&T, American Tower Corp., and the village of Palatine could not be reached Sunday.
"They are a communications company. We want to open the lines of communications," Wilson said.
Some residents have concerns about the safety of living so close to a tower after two nearby residents died of leukemia in recent years. Although the village and others have told the group that there is no American research linking cancer and living near a cell tower, Marek Ciborowski, whose wife died in 2010, is not convinced.
"There is nothing they can say to make me believe it's not dangerous," Ciborowski said.
The residents said they would like AT&T to work with the village to find another location in town and hope that the cell tower will eventually be torn down and the land sold to become another residential property in their neighborhood.
"We knew it was there when we moved in, we all acknowledge that," said Jennifer Macaluso Pautler. "But that doesn't mean it should stay."