Park Forest to Consider Expanding Protected Classes in Housing Ordinance, Cricket Wireless Antenna Lease

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Board of Trustees of the Village of Park Forest will consider two items for action at its Monday meeting. The first is a resolution approving a site lease with an option agreement between the Village of Park Forest and Denali Spectrum Operations, LLC. The second item involves amending an ordinance relating to discriminatory Real Estate and Housing Practices.

Denali Spectrum Operations, LLC, is better known as Cricket Wireless. If approved, Cricket plans to install a cellular/wireless antennas and associated equipment at the water tower site on Blackhawk Drive. The company will need a 10′ x 20′ platform to house their equipment and their antennas would be placed on top of the water tower.

Below are the economic highlights of the lease:

  • 5-year initial term with two 5-year renewals for a total duration of 15 years.
  • A one-time $2,000 payment to be paid to the Village at the inception of the lease.
  • $2,150 rent per month, to start when Cricket Wireless begins construction of the project.
  • 3% increase in rent with each year of the fifteen-year lease.
  • A clause for a not-to-exceed $7,500 payment to cover the Village’s engineering oversight costs.
  • A clause for a not-to-exceed $2,000 payment to cover the Village’s legal review costs.
  • A clause allowing for a not-to-exceed figure of $5,000 for the Village to make necessary landscaping improvements around the base of the Blackhawk Water Tower.

The second item for action comes from Cook County. The Cook County Department of Planning and Development recently requested that the Village amend its fair housing ordinance to expand the list of protected classes to include parental status, gender identity, and housing status. The Village’s fair housing ordinance also must prohibit any activity that aids and/or abets housing discrimination, or retaliation against any person for the exercise of any rights under the Village’s fair housing ordinance, or the willful interference with the exercise of any rights under the Village’s fair housing ordinance.

According to the ordinance, gender identity means the actual or perceived appearance, expression, identity, or behavior of a person as being male or female, whether or not that appearance, expression, identity or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s designated sex at birth.

Housing status means the type of housing in which an individual resides, whether publicly or privately owned; an individual’s ownership status with respect to the individual’s residence; or the status of having or not having a fixed residence.

Parental status means the status of living with one or more dependent minors or disabled children.

If passed, discrimination in the housing ordinance will mean to treat any person differently from others because of race, color, religion sex, physical or mental disability, familial status, national origin, creed, marital status, military discharge status, sexual orientation, age, source of income, or ancestry, parental status, gender identity, or housing status, or to aid and/or abet such discrimination or to retaliate against any person for the exercise of any rights under this article or any other applicable fair housing law or regulation or willfully interfere with the exercise of any rights under this article or any other applicable fair housing law or regulation. These classifications comprise the “protected classes” of this ordinance.

In his request to the Village, the Director of the Department of Planning and Development noted that “it is a requirement that municipalities receiving federal funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, administered by the County, have an updated ordinance on file.” In order to ensure that the Village continues to be eligible for CDBG funds administered by Cook County, the Ordinance has been drafted for consideration by the Mayor and Board of Trustees. The Village Attorney has reviewed this Ordinance.

The Village Board discussed both of these items at last week’s Rules Meeting.

The writer is a Village Trustee in Park Forest.