Is Cell Tower Next for Crystal Lake South High School?
City of Crystal Lake received a JULIE locate request for soil boring tests at Crystal Lake South High School for a cell tower foundation. District 155 officials say there are no plans for cellular tower at South.
Crystal Lake officials want District 155 leaders to know that if they decide to install a cellular phone tower at Crystal Lake South High School, the plans need to go before the city first.
At the City Council's regular meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Aaron Shepley said the city on Oct. 3 received a "JULIE" locate request from a digging company looking to test soil borings for a possible cell tower foundation at CL South High School, 1200 S. McHenry Ave., Crystal Lake.
"JULIE" (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators) locate notices are automated requests, and the city receives several every day.
The digging company often performs work for AT&T Cellular and requested the city mark off utility lines in a 50-square-foot area at the northwest corner of the JTA Bus Depot and parking lot located at CL South High School, said Michelle Rentzsch, director of planning and economic development.
"We sent the contact person at the cell tower company, District 155 Superintendent Johnnie Thomas and Jeff Carr (District 155 operations manager) a letter on Oct. 11 notifying them they would be required to go through the city process if they are planning to put up a cell tower," Rentzsch said.
Jeff Puma, director of communications for Community High School District 155, said Wednesday there are no plans for a cellular tower at Crystal Lake South or any other District 155 school.
Puma said the district was approached by an outside company to test the soil at the site to see if it is feasible for a cell tower, but he was adamant no cell tower project is in place.
"There is no cell tower project," Puma said. "We gave a company permission to do a feasibility study, nothing further. There is no proposal at this point. We are only looking into what sort of benefits it could have for the taxpayers. We are only doing our due diligence."
The city of Crystal Lake has a cell tower at its Waste Water Treatment Plant across the street from Crystal Lake South. That tower doubles as a giant flag pole that can be seen from Randall and Rakow roads.
Crystal Lake Deputy City Manager George Koczwara said he was contacted by District 155 in the spring and, following that conversation, gave the school district instructions on what process they would need to follow if considering allowing such a tower.
That process would require public hearings, he said. Soil boring testing also is needed because the cell towers go very deep into the ground.