Village Trustees Tell AT&T Try Again on Proposed Cell Tower Location

By Jeremy Coumbes on May 7, 2022 at 9:03am

The Village of South Jacksonville is working to improve cell service in the village, however, the Board of Trustees says a recent proposal for a new cell tower isn’t the answer.

That the was sentiment last night from members of the Board of Trustees before they unanimously voted down a proposal from cellular network provider AT&T to erect a 260-foot tall cellular tower in the Village.

AT&T proposed placing the tower at 1812 Sequoia Drive, directly south of the South Jacksonville Fire and Police Department complex. Trustee Todd Warrick raised concerns about both the placement of the tower and rental or lease fees proposed by AT&T at the Trustee’s Committee of the Whole meeting last week, and again last night during the regular meeting.

Following the vote, Warrick said as much as the Trustees want improved service in the village, there were more cons than pros to this offer. Warrick says he’s concerned about what the tower would do to property values in the immediate area, and the lots are in a prime area for the future development of a subdivision.

Warrick says it would cut off the possibility of the Fire and Police expanding their facility in the future or using the area for training. He says he is also concerned about the tower interfering with the complex’s communication tower as well as the proposed height of the tower.

The higher that the tower is, the more usage it’s going to get. So would that directly benefit this area around here, I don’t know because if it’s overused that when you start getting dropped calls and issues like that.

Also on that lot is the police and fire department emergency communications tower. If that structure was put up there, that would give a shadow to the RF waves coming in and out of our communications tower. The closer the tower is there, the bigger the shadow you’re going to get. So to me, yes we need a new tower around here for better service but that’s not a proper location for it.”

Warrick also thinks the offer for renting the ground was not acceptable given all of the concerns the Trustees have with the location. “AT&T was only wanting to give us seven to eight hundred dollars a month for the rent which I felt was kind of a slap in the face, especially if you look at your AT&T bill now and you look and see how much it costs for a new iPhone, a new Android phone, and its service. I don’t think the offer is fair at all.”

Village President Dick Samples says the Village will continue discussion with AT&T on placing a tower in the area to help alleviate the many complaints residents have about poor cell service but says it has to be in the right place that is not going to have an adverse effect on residents down the road.

I don’t want to pass something that people five, ten, twenty years from now have to live with. I think we need to vote on these responsibly and I think the trustees did tonight they did vote responsibly. But you just don’t put it in the middle of a field right south of our police department and kill any future thing you might want to do there. Because you can’t build underneath it, you can’t build around it. It has to be two hundred and sixty-five feet away from it.”

Warrick says he hopes the Village will continue talks about bringing a new tower into the area, however, he would like to see a location closer to Interstate 72, further away from heavily populated residential areas.