T-Mobile still looking to build a cell tower in Champaign

T-Mobile still looking to build a cell tower in Champaign

Yes, T-Mobile still wants to put up a cell tower at Kirby and Mattis.

Mark Wilson, external affairs manager for T-Mobile's central region, told me this week that the technical crews in Champaign are still planning to put in an application with the city to build the tower behind Old Farm Shops, adjacent Carrie Busey Elementary and Wisegarver Park.

I was wondering, because it's been about a month and a half since the tower started getting some play in the media. City officials said they were expecting T-Mobile to file an application sometime after a May 10 neighborhood meeting, which dozens of area residents attended on a rainy night to express their disgust with T-Mobile and the proposal.

So expect this to become a hot issue with the city council (although there's really no telling when it might come up -- it could be weeks or months, all depending on when T-Mobile files that application). It became such an issue after Cingular made a similar request in 2005, that the city ended up putting a year-long moratorium on cell tower permits until officials wrote new rules on how to govern them.

This time, T-Mobile will be required to prove to the city that there is absolutely no other way to fill their coverage gap. If residents want to block it, they'll have to convince the plan commission or city council (the issue will come in front of both) that a cell tower would be detrimental to their property values. And they would have to do that with some solid evidence, like a professional appraisal.

Expect the cell tower proposal to charge some civic activism.

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