For now, the matter of how tall smaller cell antennas and larger telecommunications antennas can be in Rolling Meadows is settled.
In recent months, pending state legislation regarding the towers, and a proposed 75-ft. telecommunications tower in Rolling Meadows’ Kimball Hill Park, prompted city council to consider amending the municipal code.
Aldermen Tuesday unanimously approved the second, final reading of an ordinance amending the code in regard to small towers, limiting their height to 45-ft. above ground level. Aldermen Laura Majikes (3d), John D’Astice (6th) and Tim Veenbaas (7th) were absent.
Small cell towers attached to existing poles or structures are limited in the ordinance to 10-ft. above “the tallest existing utility pole, other than a utility pole supporting only wireless facilities…that is located within 300 ft.” of the structure in the same right of way at the time of application.
Other regulations include a limit of two small cell towers per utility pole, specifications on the distance between towers and appearance as well as a $1,000 permit fee.
First reading of an ordinance that would have limited the height of larger antennas to 45-ft., postponed at the Dec. 19 city council meeting, was quashed by city council at its Tuesday meeting. City code already limits larger telecommunications antennas to 75 ft.
“This seems completely counterproductive,” said Ald. Mike Cannon (1st) of the ordinance. He said limiting the height would send a negative message from Rolling Meadows to the business community.
Larger antennas are intended to provide coverage to a wider area and eliminate the need for many small towers.
Ald. Joe Gallo (4th) also spoke out against the ordinance. “The industry has done a good job at setting standards,” he said. While the first hearing was postponed by city council, the planning and zoning commission held a meeting where members decided not to recommend approval of the ordinance.
Discussion of limiting the larger antenna height was prompted by a proposed 110-ft. Verizon tower in Kimball Hill Park. After complaints from nearby residents, the city requested Verizon lower the tower to 75-ft.
According to a Jan. 4 memorandum from city attorney Jim Macholl, Rolling Meadows also requested Verizon not place a flag on the antenna, that it not be illuminated and that it be moved 600 ft. from its proposed location in the park. Macholl said Verizon had not responded to the requests at the time the memorandum was drafted.