Geneva panel says no to 85-foot Verizon tower near Eagle Brook (2024)

After a three-hour public hearing May 23, the Geneva Planning and Zoning Commission voted not to recommend a special-use permit to allow an 85-foot Verizon cell tower in a strip mall at 1749 S. Randall Road.

Petitioner Doug Dolan of Dolan Realty Advisors and president of DRA Properties, the company that will own the cell site, testified that the tower meets all conditions required for a special use. The tower would be light gray in color, unobtrusive and blending in with its surroundings with all antennas and hardware hidden inside, the real estate appraiser reports showed it would not have an effect on property values and the tower is necessary to prevent a gap in Verizon’s cellphone coverage, Dolan said.

Dolan said it was a revamped version of a 2021 proposal that did not get approval.

“Our need with Verizon Wireless is very strong for a cell site here,” Dolan said. “We plan to demonstrate why this site is the best site. ... The proposed use of the specified location is consistent with the comprehensive plan. ... Cell towers are permitted in this [zoning] district if you meet the standards of the special use.”

Dolan said Verizon needed the additional tower to fill a coverage gap as the system was almost at capacity.

About a dozen residents of the nearby Eagle Brook subdivision challenged the accuracy and integrity of all the documents provided, as well as Dolan’s testimony.

The presentation by resident Emily McCafferty, who lives on Eldorado Drive, slammed Verizon’s reports that cell towers do not have a negative impact on property values.

McCafferty gave a full-scale PowerPoint that compared sales of homes near a proposed cell tower in Eagle Brook to a subdivision in Wheaton built by the same developer, Keim Custom Homes.

Geneva panel says no to 85-foot Verizon tower near Eagle Brook (1)

In slide after slide, McCafferty narrated a decline in the value of home sale prices impacted by a cell tower.

The total projected decline in value for 83 Eagle Brook homes nearest the tower – were the tower to be approved – would be more than $3 million, according to McCafferty’s research.

“This is what these residents stand to lose and what the city of Geneva stands to lose to the benefit of Mr. Dolan and the benefit of Verizon,” McCafferty said. “This tower belongs in an industrial or commercial area that is not closely surrounded by residential homes.”

Other residents weighed in.

Dale Rathunde, who lives on Crystal Tree Court, presented a petition with 136 names of residents who opposed the cell tower. Those residents’ streets connect to Bent Tree – the street in back of where the cell tower is proposed.

Rathunde challenged Dolan’s assertion of the need for more cell tower connections, saying cellphone ownership has plateaued since 2021.

“He has not shown any evidence of exponential growth that was to occur or soon to occur in the area,” Rathunde said.

Rathunde challenged the affidavit from Verizon’s engineer that stated the existing towers were almost at capacity and users would experience dropped calls.

“If this was the case, Verizon would be able to show an increase in the dropped call rates over time, especially during busy hours,” Rathunde said. “Without real evidence, the city does not know if the capacity issue was even genuine.”

Rathunde said Verizon was pushing this tower close to residential neighborhoods to support its home internet product to get people to ditch cable and switch.

Resident Cheryl Reis, who lives on Eldorado Drive, echoed Rathunde’s assertion, citing the 1976 movie “All the President’s Men” and the famous line of “Follow the money.”

“Just follow the money to see who benefits,” Reis said. “In our case, with this proposal, if we follow the money, it’s actually quite obvious. Ironically, there is nothing secretive or clandestine about it. The only one who benefits is Mr. Dolan and his real estate company.”

Resident Don Manikes, who also lives on Eldorado Drive, challenged the petitioner’s report that a cell tower could improve the property values of homes nearest to it.

“As a real estate attorney with 30 years of experience, I can tell you this is not credible,” Manikes said. “No serious person would assert or believe that ... homes closest to the tower will benefit [from] an increase in value from that.”

Amanda Driscoll, who is not a resident of Eagle Brook, said she bought a home in Geneva in 2021 during the pandemic.

“I can’t tell you how many homes that I passed up because ... when I drove up to the home, there was a massive cell tower,” Driscoll said. “I didn’t even step inside. ... It really matters to new homebuyers.”

Dolan responded that the cell tower would “be a significant asset for this area.”

Dolan cited the report from the real estate appraiser that cell towers have no impact on property values.

“My testimony is as good as anybody else’s,” Dolan said. “The condition that you not be able to see them [cell towers] is an unrealistic condition.”

In voting to recommend denial of the application for a special use, commissioners cited McCafferty’s presentation and the lack of specific information from Verizon about its system being almost at capacity.

Dolan said company information is proprietary and would be provided to the City Council, but it would have to be kept confidential.

“The network is not busted yet,” Dolan said. “Network engineers are patching right now. ... Tactics used to keep the network in peak efficiency, those are failing. So that’s our testimony.”

In voting 6-0 to recommend denial, the commission cited the special-use standards that affect property values and neighborhood character.

The commission also recommended that before Dolan takes the application before the City Council that he have a signed lease from Verizon for the tower, a structural design plan for the foundation and tower, a review from the National Environmental Policy Act regarding tower siting and construction and information showing the system is at capacity.

Geneva panel says no to 85-foot Verizon tower near Eagle Brook (2024)


Geneva panel says no to 85-foot Verizon tower near Eagle Brook? ›

Geneva panel says no to 85-foot Verizon tower near Eagle Brook. After a three-hour public hearing May 23, the Geneva Planning and Zoning Commission voted not to recommend a special-use permit to allow an 85-foot Verizon cell tower in a strip mall at 1749 S. Randall Road.

How do I connect to the nearest tower on Verizon? ›

Alternatively, you can simply dial “*288” and select “2” when prompted. This will cause your phone to update to local Verizon towers, which can take up to two minutes.

How do I contact Verizon about a cell phone tower? ›

Verizon Wireless Services

Contact Customer Service at 800-922-0204 or *611 from a cell phone and have them put in a trouble ticket.

How do I calibrate my Verizon cell phone towers? ›

Updating your phone's towers is so easy, you could probably do it with one eye closed (though we recommend keeping both eyes open for optimal performance). Here's how: Dial It In: Simply dial *228 from your Verizon phone and press the call button. This number is your golden ticket to updating your towers.

How to connect to the closest cell tower? ›

You can also download a cell tower locator app on your phone to help in your search. A few apps you can try including: Cell Tower Locator: This Android app offers an approximate cell tower location on a generated map.

How much does Verizon pay you to put a cell tower on your property? ›

Verizon's average cell tower lease rate in our database is $1,250/month or $15,000/year. Please note that this average includes both new leases and older leases that have escalated over time.

How do you update your towers for Verizon? ›

Basic Phones

Dial *228, option 1 to reprogram the phone to the network and dial * 228, option 2 to update the Preferred Roaming List (PRL).

How do I reconnect my Verizon phone to towers? ›

From a web browser, sign in to My Verizon. next to the phone number to be reconnected. Select the option to reconnect service: Selected when black dot present.

How do I reset my Verizon phone to the nearest tower? ›

A simple reboot of the phone forces the phone to refresh its connection with the network and updates the preferred tower list.

Does Verizon still use *228? ›

Yes that is correct! Only our 3G capable phones would need to dial *228 (send) option 1 to activate, or 2 to update roaming capabilities. 4G phones, however, do not need to do this option and auto update based on the sim card and power cycling the phone. If you have any further questions, please let me know.

How do I update my phone to the nearest tower? ›

However, the most common method that works with many services is to turn your signal off and on again. When your phone or your signal service reboots, it will try to latch onto the nearest signal source, which may not be where it previously was.

How do I reconnect my phone to the tower? ›

The simplest way to re-register to a cellular base station is by turning on airplane mode. And then turning it back off. It would be the same as if you left the coverage area, and then traveled back in.

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