Village “Back to Square One” on New Cell Tower

By Jeremy Coumbes on November 18, 2022 at 2:48pm

The Village of South Jacksonville may be at an impasse when it comes to helping bring better cell service into the village.

The Village Board of Trustees was updated last night on the continued discussion on a proposed new cellular tower AT&T wishes to erect on Village property.

Village President Dick Samples told the board that he feels the Village is back to square one after AT&T has given him and other officials a busy signal when it comes to continuing any new discussion about a new location.

They had canceled the last meeting we were going to have with them. They are still wanting to put it up on village ground. I have offered at least ten different locations, some very very close to where they want to have their location at, and in my opinion, we’re getting the runaround on that.”

In early May, the Village Board of Trustees unanimously rejected a proposal from AT&T to erect a new tower in the village. The proposal from AT&T would place the tower on village-owned ground adjacent to the village’s police and fire department building.

The Board of Trustees had issues with agreeing to put the tower in that location as a quick fix to the dead zone in the village that they say could hurt more in the long run by cutting off the possible expansion of the departments and future residential development. Concerns were also raised about possible interference the tower could pose to emergency communications.

Last month Chris Warwick, an AT&T representative, was scheduled to give a presentation during the board’s October committee of the whole meeting however the representative failed to show up with no notice given to the trustees.

Samples says he was contacted by AT&T the next week requesting a meeting, however, he had a conflict in his schedule for their suggested time and said he could meet with them later that afternoon. He says he was told that would not work for the representative and has not heard from AT&T since and calls to the representative now go unanswered.

AT&T met with the Village in the middle of the summer. Samples says since then, any further discussion has basically stalled out. He says now in his opinion, the cellular service carrier needs to find a new location for the tower on its own, and then bring that new proposal back to the Trustees.