Plan for cellular antenna opposed in Mundelein

  • The Chapel, a Mundelein church, where Verizon wants to erect a tall cellular communications antenna.

    The Chapel, a Mundelein church, where Verizon wants to erect a tall cellular communications antenna. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • Verizon wants to erect a cellular antenna at the Chapel, a Mundelein church.

    Verizon wants to erect a cellular antenna at the Chapel, a Mundelein church. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/20/2015 4:15 PM

A plan to erect a tall cellular communications antenna in Mundelein has drawn opposition from some local residents.

Cellular giant Verizon Wireless wants to erect the 81-foot-tall pole -- which could be topped with a large flag -- at the Chapel, a church at 1966 W. Hawley St. It would be located on the church's west side, near a playground, village officials said.

 

Verizon would rent the land needed for the antenna from the church.

The proposal has been opposed by Mark Decker, who lives in the nearby Tullamore neighborhood. He said the pole would be unsightly, and he is worried about the noise the flapping flag will create.

Decker also raised concerns about the potential impact on home values and other issues.

Decker said he's working with more than a dozen neighbors to oppose the project. He's also created an online petition that, as of Friday, had more than 275 supporters.

"The community is very dissatisfied and feels strongly about this issue," he said.

Tullamore resident Robin Miller is on Decker's side. She doesn't think the church should be allowed to benefit financially from a cellular tower because it's a nonprofit religious organization, among other concerns.

"(It) seems quite hypocritical," Miller said. "They will gain funds and use it as they see fit at my expense."

A Verizon spokeswoman couldn't be reached for comment.

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A pastor at the Chapel, the Rev. Thomas McArthur, said a land development company representing Verizon first proposed leasing land at the church for a cellular tower about two years ago.

Initial talks involved options church leaders thought were too visually obtrusive "to both the campus and the neighborhood," McArthur said.

In the current plan, Verizon's communications equipment would be contained within the pole, McArthur said.

The proposal includes a flag on the pole to show the structure can function as a flagpole, he said.

"The specifics of the size of flag or whether we will have a flag is yet to be determined," McArthur said.

McArthur said he didn't have information about the rent Verizon would pay the Chapel. The revenue would be used to bolster the church's local outreach programs, he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The church is in a residential area, so the pole would require a special municipal permit, Village Administrator John Lobaito said.

Mundelein's planning and zoning commission was scheduled to hold a public hearing about the proposal this week, but the meeting was canceled because the application was incomplete, Lobaito said. The discussion has not yet been rescheduled.

After the planning commission discusses the request, it'll be up to the village board to decide whether to grant that permit.

Lobaito is aware of the online petition opposing the antenna. If it's presented during the public hearing, the commission will consider those opinions in its deliberations, he said.

"Likewise, the village board always considers information provided by their constituents when making decisions on zoning requests," Lobaito said.

When asked his opinion of the antenna proposal, Lobaito declined to comment.

"It is inappropriate for us to comment outside the public hearing," he said.

McArthur said Chapel representatives have begun reaching out to neighbors to discuss the plan. He welcomed conversations on the subject.

"It is difficult to talk about something like this unless you know the specifics of exactly what is being proposed," McArthur said. "Now that we know the proposed details, such as height, look, and location, we can have the conversations about positive and negative impact."

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