Wednesday, January 10, 2001
Tower fight goes to commission Thursday
Residents of Rebekah Lakes and Surrey Park subdivisions off Ga. Highway 85 south of Fayetteville probably will be present Thursday when the Fayette County Commission considers BellSouth Mobility's request for a 253-foot communications tower near their neighborhoods.
The Planning Commission's Dec. 7 vote to recommend approval of the request elicited loud, angry protests from a crowd of about 30 residents of the two subdivisions.
Shouts of "Y'all did us wrong," and "A hundred and eighty of us people don't even count" rang through the commission meeting room following the vote.
Residents who had spoken during the public comment period attempted to interject more comments during the commission's discussion of the matter, and commission Chairman Bob Harbison at one point called on the county marshal's office to restore order and escort residents out of the meeting room.
BellSouth representatives said the tower, planned for a 150-acre site on Harp Road, will be surrounded by woods and not visible to most residents of the neighborhoods.
But five residents who rose to speak all pointed out that some day those woods will be cut down to make way for development, leaving the monopole tower more visible. Some opponents disputed BellSouth's claim, saying most of the land on the site is pasture.
The tower would be unsightly and harm neighborhood property values, the residents argued. "If you put that in there, that would be the end of any new development in that area," said Charles Myers of Rebekah Lakes.
Michael Tyler of BellSouth said the company needs the tower in that location and at that height to provide better coverage for its customers. Under county law, the company could erect a 180-foot tower without submitting to public hearings.
County commissioners will hear the request Thursday at 7 p.m. at the County Administrative Complex.
Also on the agenda will be Bertha Morris' request for rezoning to allow 23 single-family homes on 34.806 acres on Westbridge Road. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the request for a change from A-R, which requires minimum five-acre building lots, to R-50, which allows one-acre lots.
Planning Commission member Jim Graw voted against the motion to recommend the change. "I have a problem with the zoning when you look at the surrounding area," he said. The land is surrounded on three sides by land zoned for five-acre lots, with land zoned for one-acre development on two sides.
Staff also recommended denial.
County commissioners Thursday also will consider changes to the county's soil erosion and sedimentation control regulations, recommended by the Planning Commission.
The changes will bring the regulations in line with new state and federal regulations. Among new provisions are minimum fines for violations. Current law provides for maximum fines, but no minimums.