DeKalb City Council approves T-Mobile upgrade

Smoking ordinance vote delayed; changes to Safe Streets OK’d

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith speaks during the Committee of the Whole meeting Monday at the DeKalb Municipal Building.[]

DeKALB – A special use permit request to upgrade T-Mobile equipment on the roof of the 16-story Taylor Street Plaza, 507 E. Taylor St., which is expected to enhance coverage, was approved without opposition Monday by the DeKalb City Council.

Council had no discussion on the proposal, waived a second reading and approved the ordinance by a 7-0 vote. Second Ward Alderman Bill Finucane was absent.

To reduce visibility of the new equipment, a special concealment tape will be used on the antennas. During the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting where the request was recommended to council, Principal Planner Dan Olson suggested having city staff look at alternate ways to conceal the cell tower cabinet. Staff settled on the use of a brick film that will blend in with the exterior of the building.

A similar request was approved last year for U.S. Cellular, which also operates on the roof of Taylor Street Plaza. Olson said this work has yet to be performed.

With Finucane being absent from the meeting because of illness, the council agreed to remove from the agenda a first reading vote on amending an ordinance to allow smoking on outdoor patios 15 feet from any entrance, exit, window that can be opened or ventilation intake for a bar or restaurant.

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith said he was proud of the council for unanimously approving the removal of the vote to allow each member the chance voice their opinion on the ordinance regardless of whether the measure could be passed Monday.

The council did approve an ordinance that would clarify language used in the first phase of the Safe Streets Initiative passed in December, which would not allow parking between
10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Russell Road and Crane Drive and resident parking by permit only on an adjacent section of the neighborhood.

The ordinance provided an opportunity for some residents to voice their concerns with the initiative.

DeKalb resident Mark Charvat disagreed with charging residents in affected areas $25 annually for a parking permit, calling it a cash grab by the city. He instead suggested charging a higher fee for violators of the initiative instead of charging those who live in the community.