Potential cell tower locations to be reviewed Monday

In a workshop meeting Monday night, the Peachtree City Council will be presented with details on the exact parcels in the city which qualify for a new cell phone tower.

Last month, city staff outlined seven residential areas where three cell phone companies have indicated they need new towers to improve service.

In those areas there are few tracts of land available for new towers because of the city’s zoning and setback requirements, interim Community Development Director David Rast has said.

Most of the parcels where a tower could be located are owned by either the city or the Fayette County Board of Education, officials said.

The city has no obligation to lease city land for new cell towers, Rast told the Planning Commission in March.

The parcels which qualify for a cell tower per city ordinances will be highlighted at Monday’s meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Three cellphone companies: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, have met with city staff to suggest areas where they need new towers. Sprint and Clear Wireless have not met with the city to suggest potential areas for new expansion.

It takes roughly six acres of land to make room for a new cell tower, and the fenced compound at the base of the tower cannot be within 200 feet of any residential property line, city officials have said.

The meetings with the cell phone companies were sought by the city after city officials learned that the companies wanted to build new towers in residential areas of the city to improve service. The goal of the city’s inquiry started out to limit the number of towers in residential areas.

Currently the only zoning categories that qualify for a cell tower are general industrial, light industrial, agriculture reserve and open space.

In November, several residents lodged complaints with council when T-Mobile approached the city about possibly locating cell towers on city-owned recreation areas including Log House/Braelinn Park, Blue Smoke Park and Shakerag Knoll.

Council ultimately delayed acting on the request, instead directing city staff to continue gathering additional information on the subject.

It also was revealed that Verizon has approached St. Paul Lutheran Church about placing a cell tower on its property in Kedron Village. The church is located next to the Ardenlee subdivision and Crabapple Lane Elementary, and several Ardenlee residents have objected to the concept.

A proposal to rezone the St. Paul property for the tower was tabled in January by the Peachtree City Planning Commission.

Because the cell tower issue directly relates to city zoning, the planning commission will also be participating in Monday’s meeting.

Rast said recently that the cell carriers are looking to build monopole towers instead of the lattice-type structure most frequently seen in town.
American Tower company, which builds towers and leases space to cell phone companies, has also suggested that “stealth” towers could be built in a variety of ways to blend in with the area.