Small Cell Wireless Technology

Update on Proposed Small Cell Locations

2/24/23 – The Village Board meeting on February 21st included an agenda item for consideration of a Settlement Agreement with Crown Castle that would clarify the terms for placement of Small Cell devices in public rights-of-way.  No action was taken because the terms of the proposed Settlement were not complete in time for the meeting.  The item is now expected to be considered at the Village Board meeting on March 6th.

The general outline of the proposed Settlement is expected to include an acknowledgement that virtually all the new sites (about 42) would be installed on existing ComEd infrastructure, or in place of existing infrastructure.  This meets the Village’s long-term goal of avoiding proliferation of new structures on our streets.  The overall settlement would also meet the goal of avoiding fruitless and expensive litigation.  As a reminder, the Village has limited authority under Federal and State law to regulate small cell facilities and NO authority to regulate radio frequency emissions.

10/31/2022 - The Village responded to the 9/13/2022 response letter from Crown Castle Fiber LLC.  The Village's second response letter can be found at the following link: 10/31/2022 Village second response letter

9/13/2022 - The Village received a response from Crown Castle Fiber LLC, to the Village's July 20, 2022 response letter. The response can be found at the following link:  9/13/22 Crown Castle response to Village 7/20/22 comment letter

7/22/2022 - The Village responded to the small cell facility permit application from Crown Castle LLC on 7/20/22 per the attached. 7-20-22 comment letter link

6/24/2022 - The Village received a small cell facility permit application from Crown Castle LLC. See application here.

12/30/2020 – Village President signs new Executive Order regarding small cell wireless applications.  This Order “tolls” (delays) the existing legislated time frames for permit submission based on the State of Emergency in effect due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  This delay runs for 180 days from adoption (December 14) or the expiration or repeal of the COVID-19 Disaster Declarations, whichever comes first.  The Order can be read (here). In a related matter, Verizon confirmed in November that they are continuing to delay applications “at this time”. This confirms the status reached in neighboring communities.

10/14/2020 - The Village approved approved Permit 2020-0179 for a small wireless facility to be co-located on an existing ComEd utility pole at the northeast corner of Burlington Avenue and Arthur Avenue. The application, submitted on August  14, 2020 (see below), was reviewed by Village Consultant Municipal Services Associates, and found to be in compliance with established by State Statute and Local Ordinance. The pole will include a new canister-shaped radome antenna, three (3) antenna/radio units, an antenna mount, two (2) power units, diplexers, a breaker box, new secondary power service wires, a fiber optic cable, and a fiber optic cable interfaces box. The project also allows for two future combination antenna/radio units, two (2) remote radio units (RRU's), a radio mount, and additional diplexer. The permit was issued conditional upon 1) compliance with the conditions and comments listed in MSA's 10/6/2020 report; 2) the installed equipment be painted a neutral color to blend with the surrounding environment; 3) the installer provide the Village with a traffic safety plan during construction; and 4) other conditions typically associated with the issuance of a permit. A copy of the issued permit and associated documentation can be viewed by clicking [here].

8/14/2020 - The Village has pledged to advise the public when/if a small cell wireless permit application is submitted.  The following link includes information from an applicant to install devices on an existing pole at the corner of Arthur and Burlington Avenues.  This is actually a re-submittal of a permit that was granted almost 2-years ago (2019-0006).  That permit subsequently expired, and this new submittal was required. The application is being reviewed by the Village’s consultant and will be processed based on the existing standards

4/7/2020 - Village adopts Ordinance 20-04-15, an Ordinance amending various sections of the Village's Municipal Code relative to the permitting, regulation and deployment of small wireless facilities, utility noise and construction of utility facilities in the right of way.

3/25/2020 - The Village Manager, along with representatives from surrounding communities, tried to participate in a conference call with Verizon, but due to ‘technical difficulties’ on Verizon’s end, the Verizon representatives said the call was cancelled and would be scheduled for a later date. Before the call ended, however, the Village Managers engaged in a brief discussion with Verizon representatives regarding their intent to submit permit applications, and demanded that these requests be put on hold. The representatives responded by committing to everyone on the call that Verizon will not submit applications related to 5G installation until after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. See letter from President Austin regarding this conference call.

3/13/2020 - Discussions have continued regarding this issue, including an internal meeting with a small group of concerned residents on Tuesday evening. Several items are included on the agenda for Monday’s Board Meeting for discussion. We are very concerned, however, regarding an invitation that was sent out to at least 100 people urging them to attend our meeting to discuss this issue. Given the Coronavirus crisis, we are concerned about the potential public health issue. Given this, I am considering asking several department heads to NOT attend the meeting. I am hopeful that our residents will consider this existing public health emergency when determining whether to attend this meeting or not. As always, I am willing to discuss this issue with any interested party.

2/25/2020 - The Village received JULIE locate requests from a known Verizon surveyor for about a dozen locations throughout town. This is common practice to conduct while design/engineering is ongoing and does not necessarily mean anything is imminent. 

2/18/20 morning - Manager Barr attending a regional meeting with staff from Western Springs, Hinsdale, La Grange, La Grange Park, Riverside, Berkeley, River Forest, Glen Ellyn, and Brookfield to discuss small cell wireless sites.  As a working group, we continue to develop strategies and share information about the issue.

2/18/20 afternoon - Manager Barr, Director Ungerleider, Director McLaughlin, and Assistant to the Village Manager Creer, met with our newly hired small cell consultant.  We reviewed the new standards and discussed what comparable communities are doing, how other small cell rollouts are progressing and protocols for if we receive an application for small cell wireless facilities.  

2/18/20 Night - The Village Board passed two resolutions one supporting Federal Bill H.R.530, and S. 2012 to restore local control in 5G/Broadband Deployment and another resolution calling for an amendment of the Illinois Small Wireless Facility Deployment Act to return control of Local right-of-ways to local municipalities or, in the alternative, repeal of the Act. Additionally, the Board formally approved a temporary contract with Strategia for communications/lobbying services with direction to provide additional options and strategies for communicating the small cell issue.

2/19/20 - Village Manager Barr met with the Strategia to discuss messaging strategies.

2/14/2020 - Village President Austin and Village Manager Kevin Barr attended a Town Hall Meeting sponsored by the Village of Western Springs on Thursday night.  Other than Senator Glowiak and Representative Mazzochi most of the invited guests, including representatives of the telecommunication companies, did not attend.  

Related to the above, the DMMC Executive Board endorsed potential legislation that would serve to increase our ability to colocation of potential small cell sites on existing structures.

The Village Board is scheduled, at its Meeting on Tuesday 2/18/20, to consider two (2) resolutions supporting potential legislation that would return some level of local control on these issues. 

Thank you to the above-mentioned representatives for sponsoring these items. The Board will also be discussing the Communication-Lobbying consulting that has been brought on to assist as needed. 

Related to the above-mentioned legislation, our representatives asked that interested residents considering filing a “witness slip” to state their opinion. SB3298 is the bill proposed by local representatives. They have asked interested supporters to submit a witness slip. Instructions are available here.

2/11/2020 - The Village has signed an hourly services contract for communications and lobbying efforts to assist with the small cell wireless (5G) issue with Strategia, a company that specializes in assisting governments with these types of issues. Strategia’s previous work includes a communication strategy for the recent Sterigenics ethylene oxide emission case in Willowbrook. Their work is intended to augment ongoing efforts by Village staff and joint efforts between the Village’s of Hinsdale, Western Springs and Clarendon Hills to address 5G siting issues.

2/07/2020 - This evening Verizon Wireless (VW) notified the Village that surveyors will be on the following streets: Sheridan, Terrace, Jackson, Middaugh, Golf and Walker.  VW also informed the Village that the stake in front of 207 Walker is is a monument marker, not a pole marker. 

2/05/2020 - This afternoon Verizon Wireless notified the Village that they plan to have a survey visit 6 locations in the Village over the next few days. The specific locations to be visited were not provided.

2/05/2020 - At the February 3rd board meeting, the Village Board adopted enhanced standards for the sighting of 5G equipment. These standards were written to minimize the aesthetic impacts of the equipment to protect the character of our town while taking into account what is admissible under Illinois state law. Additionally, the Village Board authorized hiring a consultant with expertise in Small Cell technologies to review any permit applications. Currently, no permits have been submitted; however, the Village is proactively preparing as the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act (the “Act”) sets strict response standards in the event an application is submitted.

1/30/2020 - The Village strives to provide accurate information for the public. For this reason, we will not generally publish DRAFT documents, in part because they are most likely subject to future change. Doing otherwise will almost certainly lead to confusion, especially in regards to items of strong public concern. 

Regarding the small cell issue, a map was distributed on January 29, 2020, purporting to show proposed sites for small cell wireless poles in Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale and Western Springs. To be clear, the locations shown, especially for Clarendon Hills, are not accurate and are not based on a formal permit application for locations. The Clarendon Hills portion of the map, as best we can tell, shows locations that are not close to the number being discussed. It appears the “extra” locations may be existing ComEd poles, Village light poles, and other facilities.

In order to help clarify this issue, below is a DRAFT location map, based on OLD information provided by Verizon Wireless that we anticipate to be distinctly different than we will see when, and if, a formal permit is presented. We urge the public NOT to assume that the locations shown here are final. We do assume, however, that the number of locations on this map reflects what we will see with a final permit application. As we have discussed publicly in the past, we anticipate about 40-45 pole locations to be requested.Proposed Verizon Pole Drops 9/27/2019 Opens in new window

When (if) a formal permit is received, the Village plans to post the actual application on our website.

What is 5G?

5G is an advanced wireless technology that has begun wide deployment in 2019. 5G networks are digital cellular networks, in which the service area covered by providers is divided into small geographical areas called cells. Analog signals representing sounds and images are digitized in the telephone, converted by an analog to digital converter and transmitted as a stream of bits. All the 5G wireless devices in a cell communicate by radio waves with a local antenna array and low power automated transceiver (transmitter and receiver) in the cell, over frequency channels assigned by the transceiver from a pool of frequencies that are reused in other cells. The local antennas are connected with the telephone network and the Internet by a high bandwidth optical fiber or wireless backhaul connection. As in other cell networks, a mobile device crossing from one cell to another is automatically "handed off" seamlessly to the new cell.

Verizon and a few others are using millimeter waves. Millimeter waves have a shorter range than microwaves, therefore the cells are limited to a smaller size. Millimeter waves also have more trouble passing through building walls. Millimeter-wave antennas are smaller than the large antennas used in previous cellular networks. They are only a few inches (several centimeters) long. Another technique used for increasing the data rate is massive MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output). Each cell will have multiple antennas communicating with the wireless device, received by multiple antennas in the device, thus multiple bitstreams of data will be transmitted simultaneously, in parallel. In a technique called, beamforming, the base station computer will continuously calculate the best route for radio waves to reach each wireless device and will organize multiple antennas to work together as phased arrays to create beams of millimeter waves to reach the device.

Over 20 networks are deployed using the mid-band spectrum, from 2.4 to 4.2 GHz. Mid-band networks have better reach, bringing the cost close to the cost of 4G. T-Mobile USA and AT&T are announcing low-band 5G in December 2019. The performance, reach, and cost will be similar to 4G in the same band when the 5G systems are fully developed and can access more carrier frequencies.

The new 5G wireless devices also have 4G LTE capability, as the new networks use 4G for initially establishing the connection with the cell, as well as in locations where 5G access is not available. 5G can support up to a million devices per square kilometer, while 4G supports only up to 100,000 devices per square kilometer.


Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act:

The Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act (the “Act”), 50 ILCS 840/1 et seq., which was signed into law on April 12, 2018, as Public Act 100-0585, provides the regulations and process for permitting and deploying small wireless facilities within rights-of-way and on private property throughout Illinois (excluding Chicago). Small wireless facilities, also known as a “small cell,” are most often attached to utility or other poles. This Act imposes certain additional requirements on municipalities, including the Village of Clarendon Hills.

Information about the legislative sponsors of the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act – which is designated as Public Act 100-0585 and can be found under the “100th General Assembly” and “SB 1451” –  are below:

Senate Sponsors
Sen. Terry Link - Bill Cunningham - Donne E. Trotter - John J. Cullerton, Jil Tracy, and Michael E. Hastings

House Sponsors

Rep. Kelly M. Burke - Peter Breen - Mike Fortner - Fred Crespo - Robert Martwick and William Davis

Contact information for state and federal representatives can be found here.

Federal Communications Act of 1934:

There is a provision of federal law (the “Communications Act of 1934) that limits authority over radio frequency emissions.

47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(iv) - No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radiofrequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s regulations concerning such emissions.