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Neighbors object to 400-ft. city-owned cell tower
by Joan Durbin
July 18, 2013 03:05 PM | 2958 views | 1 1 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A plan to erect a 400-foot cell tower across the road from an east Roswell subdivision has engendered strong opposition.

The tower is one of three judged necessary to implement the North Fulton Unified Radio System project, which will upgrade and enhance public safety radio capabilities for Roswell, Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Mountain Park and Milton.

As currently proposed, the towers would go on city-owned land at Roswell Fire Station No. 6 on Cox Road, on Fouts Road and at the fleet/transportation yard on Hembree Road.

It’s the Fouts Road location that has the Twelvestones community seeing red. The tower would be directly across the street from them.

“Keep in mind that we're not opposed to improving safety, but we just believe that this project was hastily put together under the radar,” said resident Bob Richardson. “No one here knew about the Fouts Road placement until your article in the [June 19] Neighbor.”

An online petition against the tower at had more than 100 signatures by midweek. On July 16, around 50 citizens attended an informational meeting about the tower to ask questions and express concerns.

One of those attendees, Twelvestones resident Joyce Ross, said several neighbors pointed out the fact that, with this project, the city is in violation of its own ordinance.

“There are strict guidelines in place regarding the height of a tower and proximity to homes and neighborhoods,” Ross said. “Roswell code states a tower ‘must be set back from the nearest residential lot line a distance equal to the height of the tower.’ This 400-foot tower is slated to be located 138 feet, measured off by two neighbors, from the street.”

One of the residents, Susan Booth, pointed out there are locations inside the adjacent East Roswell Park where city industrial equipment is being stored. Moving the tower to an industrial area inside the park would be in keeping with other the sites proposed, she said, and the tower would be much less of an issue in that area of the park.

In the June 19 story, City Administrator Kay Love said all three towers are needed to make the new unified system work. “Optimal coverage means towers must be strategically located at sites that provide the highest elevation and coverage of the local terrain,” she said.

And according to the city, the Fouts Road site is the best in that area, considering the elevation and the fact that they own the land, Richardson said. “They conceded that a larger tower on a lower elevation or two or more smaller towers at multiple locations would be acceptable, but they appeared determined to build the tower at the site they just purchased.”

Mayor Jere Wood, who was at the July 16 informational meeting, said the “I think the majority of the neighborhood acknowledges the need for a public safety radio system, but they had a lot of questions about this site for the tower, and I don’t think the city did a good job of explaining why we couldn’t put it somewhere else.

“And I have some questions myself about our options. An alternative that was mentioned but not discussed was why not move it to another location inside the park.”

Wood said he would like input from the recreation and parks department on that issue. The city council is slated to vote on sites for the three tower sites on Aug. 12.

“I believe the council has an open mind. They have not yet made a decision on this site,” the mayor said. “It’s a done deal that were going to put up the towers, but I’d like to hear more explanations as to why this is the best location. I anticipate objections to the tower wherever it goes.”

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