The Pontiac City Council reviewed an ordinance to implement regulation related to “small wireless facilities” at its meeting Monday night. Small wireless facilities are defined as small cells capable of better transmitting data and wireless information that can be attached on utility and street light poles.
    The ordinance language was drafted by the Illinois Municipal League for the use of towns and cities statewide following Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signing of the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act into law earlier in April. The council hoped to have its own version suiting its needs prepared for its next meeting two weeks from Monday.
    According to the boilerplate language in the IML draft, wireless providers or other applicants are charged $650 for the collocation of a single small wireless facility, or $350 for each small wireless facility addressed in a consolidated application. If the installation of one of these devices requires the building of a new utility pole, the application fee is $1,000.
    The council discussed modifications to the municipal league’s version in order to tailor it specifically to the body’s preference; however, City Administrator Bob Karls and City Attorney Alan Schrock cautioned against making too many changes, as a greater uniformity among all state municipalities was to everyone’s benefit.
    “I think the important point is that most municipalities are going to be adopting this,” Karls said.
    “I would adopt it this way, then give it a couple months and compare to the other ordinances online and see if they followed the same (fee) schedule, and if we find a lot of variance, fees higher than ours, we can go back and amend it and change our fee schedule,” said Schrock. “I agree with Bob: one of the municipal league’s goals of having these model ordinances is to have some level of uniformity among different cities.
    “It’s extremely difficult with municipal ordinances when you vary so much on these statewide type of things.”
    In a separate matter, the council examined a recommendation from the city’s planning and zoning board pertaining to the zoning classification for solar farms ahead of the planned solar array project near the Pontiac Municipal Airport. As noted in the minutes from the June 28 zoning meeting, the city had not previously had a provision for solar farms in its zoning ordinance.
    The planning and zoning board ultimately motioned to recommend the city follow suit with Livingston County’s solar farm ordinance allowing for such projects to be built as special use on A-1 agriculturally zoned land, with the conditions that there be no minimum lot size requirement and that the Route 23 corridor and its interchange with I-55 be preserved via a 1,500-foot setback to allow for potential commercial development.
    After some debate about the inclusion of special uses for solar farms in areas zoned M-1 limited manufacture (which includes the municipal airport), the council opted to table the matter so that the language could be further smoothed out.
    On the action agenda, the council approved a bid for the proposed overhaul of Cleary Street. The city awarded the contract to Opperman Construction Company, who offered the lowest bid of $579,483.30. The bid from H.J. Eppel & Co. for the project was $692,344.19, while the bid from Tobey’s Cartage and Construction was $752,879.75.