Tallmadge lights may be spared in wireless pole deals

A small cell site infographic from wireless infrastructure provider Crown Castle.

Evanston aldermen this week approved agreements with two mobile phone providers to place small cell sites on city street light and traffic signal poles.

A state law that went into effect last June sharply limits municipal regulation of small wireless facilities, overriding an ordinance the city adopted in 2016.

Evanston adopted updated regulations to comply with the new state law last August, and the master pole agreements with Cingular Wireless and Verizon approved Monday are the first to be proposed under those rules.

Apparently nothing in the state law would bar cell companies from placing the new equipment on the city's historic Tallmadge street light poles, but Assistant City Attorney Hugh DuBose says the city "is currently working with the cellular companies to avoid using Tallmadge poles."


A Tallmadge street light being repaired in 2016.

"So far our collaboration has been successful, and our permitting department has worked to find alternatives to Tallmadge poles that provide similar coverage," DuBose told Evanston Now.

"It is possible that the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act will compel the future use of a Tallmadge pole or placement of a similar decorative pole near a Tallmadge pole," DuBose says, "but the city is committed to working with the carriers to avoid this situation."

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