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Normal cell tower approved on Fort Jesse CNCopy

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NORMAL — Another cell tower is coming to Normal.

A tower will be built at 1324 Fort Jesse Road after the City Council approved construction last Monday.

Discussion was very different from when the council last approved a new tower, at 1101 N. Main St., 6-1 in March. That decision touched off a long dialogue about the appearance and safety of the structures, which are becoming more common in Normal as streaming video and other cellular data gains popularity.

In the past year, the council also has approved towers at 2200 W. College Ave. and at the intersection of Route 66 and Paperchase Street north of town.

Council member Scott Preston asked last Monday about the appearance of a six-foot fence to be erected around the new tower, and Town Planner Mercy Davison said it will be hidden by landscaping. The measure passed with no further discussion.

“We always look for places to locate these towers that provide the access needed but reduce the adverse impact on surrounding properties,” said City Manager Mark Peterson of cell towers last month.

In other business, the council:

• Approved preparation of the town's property tax levy, will which return to the council for final approval.

Officials project the town's tax rate will fall from $1.3577 per $100 equalized assessed valuation to $1.3554 — a savings of $1.13 on a town tax bill of about $745 for the owner of a home valued at $165,000. Its property tax levy will increase 2.33 percent — from $11.25 million to $11.51 million — but that is expected to be offset by a 2.5 percent increase in the EAV, the total taxable value of property in the town.

• Approved a final version of the town's Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

The document lays out which improvements, repairs and other projects the town should prioritize in the parks system. Some projects listed are likely to be funded through the town's 1-cent-per-dollar sales tax increase starting Jan. 1.

• Approved a $62,000 roof replacement at the Community Activity Center.

• Approved a one-year contract extension for Peterson through March 31, 2018. He will make $183,000 each year, a $4,550 increase.

Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh


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