Phone company takes steps on cell tower near hospital

Phone company takes steps on cell tower near hospital

DANVILLE - AT&T Wireless officials are now planning to tether a balloon to visually show Danville aldermen the location of a proposed cellular tower in relation to the Provena United Samaritan Medical Center's emergency helicopter landing pad.

And, AT&T officials have agreed to light the top of the tower.

Alderman Bill Black, Ward 7, had placed on the city council's agenda Tuesday night a proposal to reconsider a decision that granted AT&T Wireless the authority to build a 199-foot cell tower northwest of the hospital's landing pad. The city's zoning board of appeals granted AT&T a variance to build the tower near the hospital on property it would be leasing from Aqua Illinois.

Black, some other aldermen and some members of the community have spoken out against the proposed cell tower, because they believe it could be a safety issue for the hospital's emergency helicopters.

But Black pulled consideration of his agenda item Tuesday night, explaining that he had spoken with John Quinn with AT&T, who proposed tethering a balloon in the exact spot of the proposed tower to visually demonstrate to Black and other aldermen the tower's location in relation to the helipad. Black said he would like to see that demonstration, which will be scheduled in the near future and all aldermen invited to witness it.

Quinn also attended Tuesday night's council meeting and told aldermen that he would ask that they reserve any judgment on the proposed tower until the visual balloon test can be done, showing them exactly where the tower will be. Quinn said the tower will be a monopole without wires extending from it. He said it would be 6-7 feet at the base and 24 inches at the top.

The proposed tower already fits zoning requirements in that area, and AT&T could build a 150-foot tower on that site without any approval from the city. But AT&T needs a 199-foot tower for it to be beneficial, and the extra 49 feet does require city approval for a variance from its zoning board of appeals, which was granted earlier this summer.

Although the variance was approved, the city still has not issued AT&T a building permit while city officials were seeking, and have received, approval of the tower's location by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

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