With the demolition of the Roos building, cellphone companies had to remove broadcasting and relay equipment from the 1919 factory’s multistory tower. Both CLEARwire Communications and Sprint sent letters to customers preparing them for service interruptions as the company looked for a new home 100 feet in the air. The village currently leases its two water towers to broadcasting and cellular companies.

As the Roos building came down, demand for a new private tower was building. The Forest Park Zoning Board of Appeals asked Village Planner Jo Ellen Charlton to submit a text amendment to cover private cell towers in Forest Park. The ZBA presented their recommendations to the village council Monday.

The new rules prohibit cell towers in residential neighborhoods. Only neighborhoods zoned B-1 or 2 (business districts) or I-1 or 2 (industrial districts) are permitted to build monopoles or attach antennas to a roof. Only one tower is permitted per zoning lot. The towers can be no more than 20 feet taller than an existing roof line or no taller than 20 feet higher than the existing zoning district permits. In the B-1 business district, the maximum height would be 80 feet. In the other zones, it would be 95 feet.

Towers must be set back 10 feet from the property line in industrial or business zones. If a tower is adjacent to a residential zone, the setback must be the height of the tower, the new rules say. Other details: towers must be painted a neutral color, the only lighting may be that required by the FAA for aircraft signaling. Towers need to sit in landscaped, fenced lots and cannot contain any billboard or commercial sign. No tower can be installed less than 500 feet from another tower. Each tower must be equipped with anti-climbing devices. If a tower is not in operation for one year, it will be considered abandoned, the proposed rules said. The council voted Monday to pass the amended ordinance.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...