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Illinois towns prepare for new small cell towers

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Fifth Generation (5G) data service may soon be coming to Illinois. Adding 5G should provide another leap in speed and reliability to internet service around the state. But the new technology requires new physical infrastructure. Unlike the giant cell towers used be previous generations, 5G uses “small cell” towers to provide coverage. Small cell towers take up just a few cubic feet of space. Because of their size, these towers can be placed on existing utility poles and other structures.

In April, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law to help facilitate the rollout of the new technology. This bill greatly constrains the ability of municipalities to restrict how and where the small cell towers could be installed. It also capped the fees that municipalities could charge cell providers to use their poles. These caps preempted existing ordinances, including those in Springfield and Chatham.

The timer starts

The new law became effective on June 1st. Even though the old ordinances had been preempted, cities were only given two months to draft new ordinances. According to Jacksonville’s City Attorney Daniel Beard, the time constrains add another challenge to an already complex issue. Fortunately, the Illinois Municipal League has helped by providing a sample ordinance for cities to work off of.

Both the Jacksonville City Council and Chatham Village Board discussed this issue at their last meetings. Jacksonville approved drafting the new rules, and should be discussing them at their next meeting. Chatham is likewise actively looking to replace their old ordinance. They should have little trouble adopting a new ordinance by the deadline.

But Springfield may be less prepared on this issue. While several aldermen I spoke with were aware that Springfield’s old rules had been preempted, they were not aware of any new ordinance coming through the pipeline. Mayor Jim Langfelder explained that Springfield has a complex relationship with cell provider AT&T, which has delayed adopting new rules. He assured me that new rules are being drafted, and thinks they should be ready before the August 1st deadline.

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Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

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LIVE | Springfield City Council Committee of the Whole April 9th

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council committee of the whole meeting. The council will be discussing proposals to allow businesses to access the local fiber optic network. Fiber optic connections can dramatically increase network speeds over other technologies.

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Announcements

City branch pickup starts tomorrow in the Northwest Quadrant

Staff Contributor

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Springfield’s spring branch pickup program starts Monday, April 8th. Each quadrant of the city will have two pickup dates, one in April and one in May. Crews will only visit each quadrant once per month. The first pickup will be in the Northwest Quadrant.

Size of Branch Piles

Branches must meet the following standards to be picked up:

  • No larger than 3 foot in height, 4 foot in depth, and 10 feet in length;
  • Piles larger than a small pickup load will not be picked up by the city;
  • The program is for branches only, no logs will be accepted
  • Branches/limbs trimmed by a commercial contractor will not be picked up; and
  • Branches must be placed on the curb not obstructing the street or sidewalk.

Small branches may also be broken up and put into yard waste bags for pick up by your waste hauler.

Year-Round Residential Branch Drop Off

Residents may drop off branches, free of charge year-round, to Evans Recycling with proof of residency. This service is not for commercial contractors but for city residents only. Evans Recycling is located at 2100 J. David Jones Parkway and is open Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, 7:00 a.m. – 12-noon. Contact number is 217.391.0886.

Pickup schedule

Week of April 8th & May 6th

  • Northwest Quadrant – area north of South Grand Avenue and Old Jacksonville Road.  West of Walnut Street/J David Jones Parkway.

Week of April 15th & May 13

  • Southwest Quadrant – area south of South Grand Avenue and Old Jacksonville Road.  West of Walnut Street.

Week of April 22nd & May 20th

  • Southeast Quadrant– area south of South Grand Avenue and east of Walnut Street, including the properties around Lake Springfield.

Week of April 29th & May 27th

  • Northeast Quadrant – area north of South Grand Avenue and east of Walnut/J. David Jones Parkway.

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LIVE | Springfield City Council Meeting April 3rd

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council meeting for April 3rd, 2019. This meeting was moved for the April 2nd, election. There will be a presentation by Public Works on yard waste pickup service in the city. They also discussed providing funding for the Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corporation.

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