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Local News

Joliet cell tower location proves controversial

JOLIET – The Knights of Columbus is at odds with nearby neighbors over whether it should use available land for a cellular phone tower.

The Knights of Columbus said the deal to make land available for a cell tower will bring in revenue needed to keep its Infantry Drive building open.

Neighbors said it will spoil the view and their quality of life.

The Joliet City Council is scheduled to decide Tuesday on whether to let the cell tower be built.

Bob Schmitt, building manager for the Knights of Columbus hall, told the council at its Monday workshop meeting that the organization needs to use the land south of its building to raise revenue and keep operating. The alternative, he said, is to sell the land for commercial development. That, he said, would be worse for the neighbors.

“Instead of a cell tower thousands of feet away, there’s going to be light towers all over the place,” Schmitt said. “This is not a scare tactic. This is what we need to do to survive.”

Attorney Robert Kogen, representing the Golf View Estates and Inwood Terrace developments, told the council a cell tower would be “devastating” to the homeowners.

“The residents would be looking daily at that cell tower,” Kogen said. “They would be very upset by it.”

Residents also spoke against it.

Rosemary Breen from Golf View Estates said she was concerned the tower “could interfere with any electronic we have in our home.”

City staff has recommended against the location. But the Zoning Board of Appeals recommended approval of it.

Staff wants the cell tower operator to install the tower at Memorial Stadium, which is owned by the Joliet Park District. A representative from the company that located the Infantry Drive site said a 120-foot tower could not be built at the stadium because it is too close to the Joliet Park District airport.

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