County to review cell tower rules
Concern cited over lack of notice for new tower applications
Wednesday afternoon, the Fayette County Board of Commissioners will discuss concerns about the county’s current ordinance regulating cellphone towers.
The discussion is a spinoff of the county’s recent approval of a tower on Crabapple Lane that is near the Kedron Hills subdivision in Peachtree City.
Kedron Hills residents have complained that they got no notice of the tower application by Site Concepts, Inc. of Georgia, which was approved by county staff March 11, a month after the application was filed.
County Commissioner Steve Brown is asking for the discussion, specifically on the notification matter to determine if neighboring properties should be notified of a celltower application within a specified distance.
The discussion will take place during the commission’s workshop meeting at 3:30 p.m. at the county’s Stonewall government complex in downtown Fayetteville.
Because SCI’s Crabapple Lane cell tower meets all county regulations and is more than 1.5 miles from other cell towers, it was approved by county officials before residents in the area even found out about the application. That’s because the county ordinance doesn’t require adjacent property owners to be notified of the application.
County Manager Jack Krakeel has recommended the county add notification requirements for adjacent property owners to the cell tower ordinance to make sure neighbors are made aware of future cell tower applications.
According to a memo from county staff, Brown also wants to discuss the possibility of creating distance requirements between a proposed cell tower and the boundaries of a municipality or other jurisdiction.
The SCI tower approved for Crabapple Lane resulted in county planning staff denying an application from Highwood Towers for a nearby tower on Farr Road.
County ordinances require that a new celltower must be at least 1.5 miles away from the nearest celltower, otherwise a public hearing must be scheduled on the matter. It was on the basis of that regulation that Highwood’s application was denied.
Highwood Towers has filed an appeal of that decision, arguing that SCI’s original application was deficient because it failed to include paperwork from the Federal Aviation Administration.
County staff later indicated that the current celltower ordinance does not have language that allows for a telecommunications tower application to be deemed void “due to its incomplete status.”
Highwood’s appeal is scheduled to be heard by the county’s zoning board of appeals Sept. 19.
Both SCI and Highwood are proposing monopole towers, which consist of a single pole stretching into the sky, unlike the older “lattice” style towers.
In other business, the commission is expected to approve the purchase of 164 computers and 60 printers for $171,000. The purchases are part of a plan to replace desktop computers, laptops, printers and scanners over time.
The commission is also expected to:
• Discuss spending $28,000 to update the county’s parks and recreation needs assessment. The current document, authored in 2003, lists expenditures upwards of $16 million, but there were concerns from elected officials that it overstated the county’s need for recreational program improvements, according to a county memo; and
• Hear a year-end report from the president and CEO of the Fayette County Development Authority on its annual activity.