Elmhurst's Verizon Pact 'Fell Off Radar'

ELMHURST, IL – A year ago, Elmhurst aldermen took the first step toward allowing more Verizon Wireless equipment on the city’s westside water tower.

But they did not follow up with approving an ordinance to make the equipment a reality. That is usually done a couple of weeks later.

“It did take some time to get the contract going, and then for some reason, it fell off the radar as far as bringing the ordinance,” City Manager Jim Grabowski said at Monday’s City Council meeting.

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It was unclear how many antennas are now on the tower, which is southeast of Scott Street and St. Charles Road.

Alderman Rex Irby said there were a dozen, up from nine, which prompted Alderman Michael Bram to ask about the number.

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City Attorney Donald Storino said he thought nine were still on the tower, while City Manager Jim Grabowski said the city would be aware if Verizon attached more antennas.

“We would not let anybody have access to the tower without supervision,” he said.

Grabowski said he would follow up with the council on the status of the antennas. He also said he would make sure Verizon was paying its lease.

The City Council voted 11-1 for the agreement with Verizon. Irby was the dissenter, while aldermen Emily Bastedo and Brian Cahill were absent.

During a council discussion, Irby said he worried about the health effects of the emissions from the antennas.

“When you’re up in front of a radio tower or a cellphone tower, it has massive warning signs that if you get too close to it, you’ll be literally endangering yourself,” Irby said. “It’s unhealthy, kind of like a microwave, but they’re not quite the same.”

He said he did not have all the answers on the health issue, but would like more information.

Under the new arrangement, Verizon will pay the city $300 more a month, totaling $4,937.

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