Coweta Commission

Cell tower approved on Old Corinth

by Sarah Fay Campbell

A new AT&T cell phone tower was approved with little opposition at Tuesday's meeting of the Coweta County Board of Commissioners.

The 146-foot tower, with a four-foot antenna, will be placed at 179 Old Corinth Road on property owned by Patsy Bishop. The tower, which will be built as a “mono-pine,” will be located approximately 524 feet off Old Corinth Road. Mono-pines are designed to look like pine trees, albeit very tall ones.

Kiersten Lurer spoke on behalf of AT&T.

“We have proven AT&T’s need for this site,” she said. “We worked very hard to choose the best location. This site will meet or exceed all local, state or federal regulations, and improve safety by providing much-needed service.”

Commissioner Tim Lassetter asked Lurer how they find locations for towers.

There are several factors, Lurer said. Radio frequency engineers look at deficiencies and “issue a search ring,” which is typically about a mile in diameter.

“Generally, they would accept anything that is in the ring,” she said, but there are some other factors, including elevation and zoning classification.

Each tower provides service for a mile-and-a-half to two miles in all directions. The closest AT&T tower to the new site is 1.66 miles away, she said.

Rick Bevington, who had previously sued Coweta County over the approval of a cell tower near his home just east of the Newnan city limits, spoke during the public hearing.

Bevington urged the commissioners to consider putting together a master plan for future cell tower locations rather than having them be put piecemeal all over the county.

“I think you guys do a good job planning roads, planning utility projects … this is simply a utility.”

Bevington said he doesn’t think tower applications should be approved so quickly and easily.

“I think there are a lot of questions,” he said. “I think there is the belief that you have to say yes to these things. That is not true.”

“I would hope that you would ask for more information before voting on this today, because I don’t think you have enough information sitting here to say this is the best decision we can make for the county.”

Lurer showed the 3-inch binder containing AT&T’s application. “It’s quite extensive,” she said.

Bevington also took issue with the fact the phone companies themselves pay for the consultants who consider each application.

The cost of the consultant’s work is included in the required fees that applicants have to pay.

If the applicant is the one paying the consultant, “how can he be the independent county consultant?" Bevington asked.

The applicants pay for the consulting work so that taxpayers don’t have to, said Commissioner Paul Poole.

No one else spoke in opposition to or in favor of the tower proposal.

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