Highland Park, News

HP fire department to get new comms system; Council to tighten tent regulations

Highland Park City Council passed an ordinance to improve communications systems for its fire department on Oct. 10.

Councilmembers approved a contract with Chicago Communications, of Elmhurst, for Starcom DAS systems at a price not to exceed $64,004.

The request for council action in the agenda packet cited reliability issues in the current communication systems at Highland Park’s fire stations and emphasized the need for an up-to-date system.

The council waived a bidding requirements and agreed to an ordinance to purchase and install the systems at Fire Station 32 and 34, as well as antennas for Fire Stations 32, 33 and 34, according to the agenda packet. 

Chicago Communications sells communication and radio equipment to emergency dispatchers in the Chicago area. The company installed the alerting system in the new Ravinia Fire Station, according to the agenda packet.

Regulation of tents and similar structures

Councilmembers also unanimously approved a resolution regulating tents and similar structures at last Tuesday’s meeting.

The resolution will move to the Plan and Design Commission for a public hearing and an amended resolution will return to the city council.

According to the agenda packet the issue arose following resident complaints about a large tent in a residential neighborhood that was installed during the pandemic. Permanent tents are not allowed in residential settings, and tents are considered permanent if they remain for more than six months, according to city documents. “Temporary” is not specifically defined in City code, and councilmembers are working to change that.

Councilmembers Annette Lidawer and Kim Stone supported shortening the length of time in which tents are allowed. They both believed that the 180-day period was too long and the PDC should consider shortening the length.

“I think we need some clear definition because this has been up for a very long time,” Lidawer said. “This is in order for us to have enforcement and in order for us to define it better to neighbors so they understand what is temporary, what is accessory and what is a permanent structure.”

Lidawer said 60 to 90 days seems more reasonable.

Stone pushed back on Lidawer’s request and said the time limit should be even shorter, potentially 30 days.

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Rosie Newmark

Rosie Newmark is a 2023 Record intern and an incoming senior studying journalism and history at Northwestern University. Rosie has written for multiple campus publications in addition to the Hyde Park Herald and American Libraries Magazine.

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