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Local

DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission approves T-Mobile service upgrade

Emergency personnel respond to a call about a body found Tuesday at Taylor Street Plaza in DeKalb.
Emergency personnel respond to a call about a body found Tuesday at Taylor Street Plaza in DeKalb.

DeKALB – Wireless provider T-Mobile is a step closer to upgrading its communication equipment on the roof of the 16-story Taylor Street Plaza at 507 E. Taylor St. after the DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission authorized a special use permit for the work.

The request, which will include the installation of an 11-foot antenna, was made by Amanda Wegrzyn of NTP Wireless on behalf of T-Mobile. It was approved without opposition by a 4-0 vote during the commission’s meeting Wednesday. Commissioners Matthew Crull, Deborah Nier and Katharina Barbe were absent.

In order to reduce visibility of the new equipment, Wegrzyn said a special concealment tape would be used on the antennas. She added that the tape is manufactured to help reduce the intensity of the sunlight and does not pose a risk to birds.

Although this was favored by commissioners, Principal Planner Dan Olson proposed an amendment to the request, asking that the company work with city staff to consider alternative ways to conceal the cell tower cabinet if the tape doesn’t work on it.

Chairwoman Christina Atherton asked how long the concealment tape would stay up before it would start to peel from the weather and how often T-Mobile would inspect the antennas.

Wegrzyn said the tape’s performance life is about 10 years, and on average, antennas are inspected every few months.

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.

The matter will be taken to the DeKalb City Council at a future meeting.

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