Oak Lawn resident loses fight against taller tower
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org September 1, 2014 9:10PM
Pat Macke, of Oak Lawn, lives next door to the firehouse at 103rd Street and Kostner Avenue in Oak Lawn, and she is no fan of a plan to make larger a cellular tower looming over her home. | Steve Metsch/Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 2, 2014 2:08AM
It’s a done deal, but Pat Macke says that won’t stop her from her mission to oppose larger cellular towers in Oak Lawn.
The cell tower next to Macke’s bi-level house in Oak Lawn is going to be replaced with a taller version, and a new service building will be at the base.
The current tower, located on village land behind the firehouse at 103rd Street and Kostner Avenue, looms over her house and back yard.
Macke doesn’t like looking at it, worries that such towers pose potential health hazards and is sounding the alarm for other residents who may find themselves in her situation one day.
“I’d like to think I’m a good neighbor, and they’re a good neighbor. But this is my house. My taxes. I’ll do what it takes to protect me. If I had a bad neighbor, I’d speak up about that,” she said. “You have to be vocal. This is our community. These are our homes.”
Macke appeared Aug. 12 before the Oak Lawn Village Board and voiced her concerns, as she did at a prior meeting of the planning and development commission. But trustees approved the taller tower by a 6-0 vote.
The new tower’s height will increase from 85 to 108 feet, and it will produce $20,000 per month for the village.
“That’s a big number,” village manager Larry Deetjen said of the income.
Macke conceded that “every community needs revenue, especially in today’s economy with all the closed businesses. I get that. It’s good revenue coming in for the village, but don’t push to the side the health of the residents or the health of the firemen who are there 24/7. No one has addressed that.”
Macke expressed disappointment over the village’s approval process for the taller tower, saying it “felt like a done deal” all along. She had suggested that there were better sites for it, such as 111th Street and Cicero Avenue by the Mariano’s supermarket, but village officials said the current site was the best.
Deetjen said Oak Lawn several years ago addressed the issue of cell tower locations, and the village limits their number and has certain regulations to “make them more attractive.”
Macke was relieved to hear that under village ordinance the height of the new tower cannot be increased beyond the 108 feet.
Deetjen said the village “is not going to please everybody” with cell towers.
“We provide village-owned properties to any cell carrier that comes to the village. You work with those sites first unless (the companies) can show us (their) technology won’t work there,” he said.