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Antenna Case Against Village Returns to Circuit Court

Residents seek injunction forcing Glen Ellyn to comply with its own ordinance.

Residents upset over cell phone antennas on the Glen Ellyn water tower want a DuPage County judge to hit the village with an injunction requiring officials to comply with their own ordinance.

Last year, the 2nd Appellate District kept alive portions of a 2008 lawsuit brought by 14 residents against Glen Ellyn claiming a variety of problems with the village's approval of new antennas on the tower. The case's surviving parts—twice dismissed in DuPage County before the appellate court stepped in—involved illegal antenna height and other violations of Village Ordinance 5606.

Seeking enforcement of the ordinance, the residents filed an injunction request requiring compliance with Ordinance 5606.

Attorney Charles Chejfec, who represents the residents, could not immediately be reached for comment this week. Previously, he stated the village has acknowledged there are antenna that exceed the ordinance's limit. In an earlier interview, Stewart Diamond, an attorney for Glen Ellyn, suggested the case could be resolved by amending the ordinance. Diamond declined to comment on the case via email.

The village has until later this month to respond to the injunction request, with March 14 set as the next scheduled hearing date.

Residents originally sued the village and T-Mobile in 2008, alleging the addition of new antennas to the water tower violated zoning ordinances, would cause diminished property values and lead to a potential health hazard.

Judge Bonnie Wheaton struck down the initial six-count lawsuit in April 2009, but allowed the group to file amended allegations. They did so a month later.

In the revised lawsuit, the residents offered a similar argument that the village broke its own zoning rules when it allowed T-Mobile to add nine antennae on top of the tower in 2007.

At the time, Village and T-Mobile attorneys argued the residents had essentially recycled their first complaint, and Wheaton appeared to agree by dismissing all six counts again.

The appellate court sided with Wheaton on half of her rulings, but found the residents had enough substance on three counts for the case to be returned to the circuit court.

Andrew Van Gorp February 07, 2011 at 05:55 PM
What health issues are we talking about? How will this diminish property values? I feel ignorant but I can't correlate the two with cell phone antennas.
Richard Saunders February 08, 2011 at 06:31 PM
As a Glen Ellyn resident who resides in the area of the water tower I ask "What are these 14 people talking about"? This is an unfortunate waste of the Village's time and money. I can only surmise that these 14 people all own and operate cell phones. Everyone wants reception, service, 4G, and data capabilities. These services don't happen unless an infrastructure is in place to support them. Kinda like the water tower. The water tower is there as a element of the city's water service. It doesnt look pretty but it serves a purpose that benefits all. Please stop wasting village and county money.
Matthew Hendrickson February 08, 2011 at 08:32 PM
Thanks for the comment Richard. It's great to hear from someone in the area. How do your neighbors feel about it? Do they share your bewilderment?
Richard Saunders February 09, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Matthew. I typically try to avoid commenting for others. I'll meet you half way though. The majority of the residents understand the need to update and improve the infrastructure. I myself try to base everything on a "reasonableness standard". If the cell receivers are removed from an already existing free standing structure "water tower", then they'll have to be relocated somewhere. Typically somewhere is a piece of property in the NEARBY area where a free standing tower would be constructed (see cell tower on cresent at DuPage river for example) to house the receievers. These towers are everywhere. These receivers are everywhere as well. Check any tall structure in Dupage Co and there is a strong likelyhood they have color matched receivers mounted to them. This is why we have the quality cell service we've come to expect in the DuPage Co area. Instead of paying to fight a lawsuit like this Id rather see the money spent on an extra public works employee to operate a plow truck, an extra police officer to patrol my neighborhood, or a residential street improved. Thanks for the local coverage.
Matthew Hendrickson February 09, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Thanks for the answer Richard! Any neighbors out there who participated in the lawsuit want to voice why they've joined?
Lisa July 26, 2011 at 02:58 PM
This is something similar to the Naperville smart meters and the residents' concerns about health risks. Don't blow this off as ridiculous. New studys are coming in all the time, including risks nvolved wth cell phones and towers. Read more here: http://www.napervillesmartmeterawareness.org/

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