LA GRANGE – AT&T’s installation of a handful of equipment boxes for its digital TV and Internet service U-verse on public parkways has resident Don Johnston angered.
“The village has worked hard in many ways to make the village look nice,” said Johnston, of the 200 block of La Grange Road, at a Village Board meeting last month. ”These don’t look nice.”
The village finds itself in a tricky position: A state law allows communications companies like AT&T to place equipment on public parkways, but La Grange prides itself on its residential character, which, to residents like Johnston, leaves no room for bulky gray metal boxes.
“This is not consistent with what we’ve been trying to do to make a more [attractive] community,” Johnston said.
About five boxes have already been placed on village parkways, and a few more have received approval to be installed. The village has denied two permits as it attempts to stand up for residents who don’t want the boxes outside their homes.
“We want to balance being business friendly and offering technology to as many of our residents as possible,” Village President Tom Livingston said.
In order to place the equipment on village parkways, AT&T has to pay for landscaping, which is then maintained by the village.
The company and village must notify residents living directly in front of spots where AT&T is considering installing a box. If a resident objects, the village works with the company to try to find another solution, like creating a private easement to place the equipment between yards or another location altogether.
“The village is definitely trying to balance those issues,” Assistant Village Manager Andrianna Peterson said. “We’re working directly with [AT&T] to try to come up with solutions that are hopefully going to work for everybody involved.”