The residents of Coweta County, GA, raised their voices loud enough to have forced the county planning board to deny Verizon’s request to erect a new tower. The Newnan-Times Herald reported it’s the first time the Coweta County Board of Commissioners has denied a tower proposal in many years. The push back against construction was led by residents of the Wellington Manor subdivision on Fischer Road, according to the Herald.
Occupants like Fran Siller expressed concerns about a cell tower in the neighborhood, saying approval would be,”condemning that area to decline and then decay, because why would people want to invest in improvements if they can’t sell them for what they are worth because there is a cell tower?”
Verizon has listened to those concerns and more and adapted plans to make the tower more palatable. Original plans called for a tower height of 199 feet. The revised plan lowered the height to 150 feet with a ten-foot lightning rod. The reduced height would not be as effective, noted Verizon representative Andrew Rotenstreich, but would address coverage needed in that area.
The proposed tower would occupy a 9.24 acre tract of land in the Fischer/Andrew Bailey area which currently experiences uneven coverage. Verizon’s goal, explained Rotenstreich, is in a consistently reliable network. The site was one of three under consideration, and subject to zoning ordinances. While the selected site is close to a housing development, it was deemed to best meet fall zone requirements and residential proximity concerns. “The signal dictates where we need to be,” stated Rotenstreich, “[It’s] not just us saying, ‘hey, this looks like a great spot.’”
Disgruntled residents in the Wellington Manor development have questioned the need for a cell tower at all, and argued about the road surface into the site. Just how much gravel or paving is needed was a topic of debate. Commissioner Rodney Brooks sided with the skeptics who have suggested that the tower location would not adequately cover the connectivity dead spots.
However, many local residents are in favor of better coverage and support Verizon’s petition to build. Residents like Joshua Richardson declared that his coverage is “poor and mediocre at best, especially as it relates to data.” He added that “A lot of people would benefit from this project.”
When put to a vote, the commissioners voted 4 – 1 in favor of denying Verizon’s application.