In a four-to-three vote, the Planning and Zoning Commission gave a positive recommendation for the construction of a 130-foot Verizon cell tower on the Springbrook Golf Course, near the Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve and Naper Aero Estates.
Though the tower is not tall enough to require lighting under FAA guidelines, Naper Aero requested the tower be lit for pilot safety.
“They were kind enough to agree to put a light on the tower to help us out, to help mitigate the risk,” said Mike Pastore, President of the Naper Aero Estates board.
The proposed tower was met with concern from residents and the Forest Preserve District of Dupage County, who think it would hurt the aesthetic of the prairie and that it could pose a danger to birds – which are drawn to lights on towers in low-visibility conditions and crash into them.
“It is home to many significant bird species, raptors such as northern harriers which is an Illinois endangered species, short-eared owls, also endangered, and long-eared owls are found here,” said Mary Lou Wehrli, a commissioner of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
The tie-breaking vote came to Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman Kamala Martinez who feels that the tower is necessary because Naperville’s emergency services use Verizon and coverage is lacking in the area.
“I’d hate to think that one of our residents needed help and couldn’t get it. So as much as I hate this aesthetically, I’m going to be supporting it because of the safety issue,” said Martinez.
The proposed tower now goes to city council for final approval.
Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.
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