Monday, October 07, 2013

Verizon Wireless Told Oconee County It Wants To Postpone Decision On Cell Tower Request

Reconsider Options

Verizon Wireless has told county officials it will ask for a postponement of a decision on its request to put a 190-foot cell tower on farmland near the Eastville community.

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to take up the request for a special use permit for the cell tower at its meeting tomorrow night, but Jennifer Blackburn, attorney for Verizon Wireless, told Oconee County Planner Brad Callender on Wednesday afternoon that she would like to defer the decision.

Callender told me this afternoon that he told Blackburn that a representative of Verizon will have to show up tomorrow night at the scheduled public hearing before the BOC to make the request in person for the delay.

Blackburn told Callender that the delay is to allow for a reexamination of the possibility that the existing American Tower Corporation cell tower 1.25 miles west of the proposed site can be utilized to “substantially meet the primary service objectives of the proposed site.”

Revised Agenda

County Clerk Jane Greathouse this morning sent out a revised agenda for tomorrow night’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the courthouse in Watkinsville. Greathouse released the prior agenda on Friday afternoon.

Existing 190-Foot Tower
On Daniells Bridge Road

Unchanged is the public hearing on the request for the special use permit for the cell tower as well as hearings on two other zoning matters.

Added to the agenda are two change orders for the county’s contract with Moreland Altobelli Associates Inc., an engineering and program management firm. The county has a contract with the Norcross firm for both right of way acquisition and design for the Mars Hill Road widening.

The first change order is for an additional $74,908 and the second is for an additional $34,700.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has delayed for five months the letting of bids for the Mars Hill Road widening project because of a delay by the county in right of way acquisition.

Existing Cell Tower Option

The Planning Commission voted 6-4 not to recommend to the BOC that it approve the request for Verizon for a cell tower at 1571 Parker Creek Road, with several members saying Verizon should use instead an existing tower at 1330 Rocky Branch Road.

Blackburn told the Planning Commission that the Rocky Brand Road tower would not provide the coverage the company needed and would receive from the proposed tower on Parker Creek Road.

In an email message Blackburn sent Callender at 3:17 p.m. on Wednesday, she said that “While the existing tower would not service the entire coverage objective area, it may be able to work temporarily to allow Verizon to meet their immediate needs in this portion of the county.”

Callender told me this afternoon that the Rocky Branch Road tower has the capacity to handle four carriers, and, at present, only one carrier is using the tower.

Verizon has proposed to lease 14,400 square feet of land from Robert W. Strickland for the new tower.

Blackburn said Verizon would like the decision to be delayed for 60 days and be moved to the December BOC agenda.

No comments: