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PTC planners say OK to celltowers in shopping centers, office parks

The latest tweaks to Peachtree City’s new celltower ordinance will allow new towers in two new zoning categories currently not allowed by the existing ordinance. The city is opening up new towers for property zoned general commercial and office institutional as long as they meet the remainder of the city’s setback rules for new towers.

The reasoning behind this change is that cellphone companies can benefit from the strategic location of the city’s village shopping centers as a way to accomplish their goal of bringing cellular signals closer to the city’s residential areas.

Representatives of three cellular companies have said they lack coverage and have signal weakness issues in the city’s residential areas where under the existing ordinance no land is available to locate new towers.

Two such attorneys at Monday night’s planning commission meeting agreed that the addition of general commercial and office institutional lots will expand the number of potential celltower sites.

Currently the city only allows celltowers on property zoned open space, light industrial and general industrial. The commission voted unanimously to recommend adoption of the ordinance to the Peachtree City Council, which has the final say on the matter.

There may be one possible moving target remaining in the ordinance. The latest version of the ordinance requires a 250-foot setback from any residential lot, church, school or daycare facility.

There was some concern that a 100-foot setback from city roads and streets might supersede the larger 250-foot setback from homes, churches, schools and daycares the way the ordinance is written, so staff will be looking into that possibility.

When informed that the reasoning for the 250-foot setback from churches, schools and daycares was due to the congregation of children at those locations, resident Robert Brown asked how city recreation areas are any different.

Planning Commissioner Joe Frasar noted that children won’t be at recreation areas and sports fields for over four to six hours a day such as they would at a school, nursery or church daycare facility for example.

“Maybe,” Brown replied.

The new ordinance, which must ultimately be approved in some fashion by the Peachtree City Council, requires the removal of any celltower that goes unused for six months or more.

The city will require a performance bond for all new towers so there will be funds available for the city to demolish the tower if the celltower owner fails to do so.

The new ordinance also requires cellphone companies to prove they cannot locate on a nearby tower before the city approves any new celltower construction in a given area.

The city also may add language clarifying what constitutes use of a celltower, as Planning Commissioner Patrick Staples suggested that without the language a celltower owner could “slap something up there” just to avoid the cost of demolishing the tower.

Mary Giles, a south Peachtree City resident who has been critical of the possibility that celltowers could be built in city parks and recreation facilities, said she was particularly appreciative of the detailed example maps that showed the small areas on which celltowers could be built in a given park or recreation facility.

“This is exactly what a lot of us have been looking for,” Giles said, thanking planning staffers David Rast and Tony Bernard. “I think it’s awesome. Thanks so much for the work you have done.”



PTC Observer's picture

Now I know who Mary is too.

Interesting logic on the children exposure issue, flawed but interesting.

Seems like they think something could go very wrong with prolonged children exposure based on the setback requirements in the proposed ordinance. I guess kids that play in parks must be immune?

I didn't know that we have an expert on microwave radiation on our planning committee. If a tower is approved for a city park, I will certainly remember Joe's name for consultation.

So, one more rewrite and I guess it's up for council approval, sure hope they rethink setback requirements for parks. Or better yet just take parks out as a option altogether.

Maybe you could help with this?

Just read what the government has to say about the inconclusive nature of exposure, and nothing on children exposure at all. Shouldn’t we err on the side of our children?

Those overlay maps were present months ago...

The cell tower issue was hijacked by 2 people who were concerned with only their personal situations, nothing else...making a big deal and hiding behind the "parks and children issue". These 2 people attended meetings making threats, and improper statements, and all they needed to do was look at the overlay maps which were presented on 2 or 3 occassions.

If you have an issue with "children and exposure", then do your research. When you do, you find nothing except a European recommendation on exposure times.

The engineers made their presentations to confirm that tower risks are lower than keeping a cellphone on in your pants pocket!

There is no one working in PTC government wanting to do anything that harms the residents...Where I take offense is when people create issues to rally "the troops" and their motives are devious. What's worse is they post on this blog and mention elected & professional officials by name saying the most horrible things about them, making personal attacks...and everyone knows who they are.

That was part of what pushed my buttons into resigning from the Planning conjunction with the fact that we need real leadership.

How will this city ever move forward when a select few can hijack a process like the celltowers and play games with people like they do?

I praise the Planning Commission for doing an outstanding job. They are volunteers who work very hard, who spent time training in Atlanta at the Regional Commission to do the right thing....and bloggers come on here, nameless, ripping them to shreds and/or politicans who ignore the due process and try to undermine and/or sidetrack projects because it does meet they personal vision for the city.

PTC Observer's picture

call you Larry?

OK, that's fine I have no hidden agenda. My agenda is clear and I have stated it a number of times on this blog. We don’t need cell towers in our parks. That’s my opinion and I am willing to come out and become public the moment our council votes to put one in a city park.

Now, I am not "ripping anyone to shreds". I am simply pointing out that there is an inconsistency in setbacks for institutions vs. parks. This looks to be illogical. Now if Joe has some data to prove that there isn’t a problem in children exposure he should share that with us. If he doesn’t then we should have the same setbacks for both parks and institutions. We don’t need to be speculating with our children.

Larry I appreciate your service and the reasons for your resignation, but that is not the subject at hand. I also appreciate the service of the planning commission; however I don’t believe that random speculation by a member of the planning commission about exposure time should trump logic.

I don’t think he is qualified to make such an assessment.

Hopefully, you see this and I hope you can help change the construction of the proposed ordinance even though you are not on the planning commission any longer.

This is not personal.

BTW - The jury is still out on cell phone exposure for adults, I am certain your independent engineer told you this too.

Prior to resigning there was a indpendent engineer who discussed the issue of exposure.
No greater than having a cell phone....I believe the setbacks are there based upon the ground space for equipment and having them setback so its not visible.
If you are concerned, make sure your kids or grandkids don't use cell phones.
Also, look at the Federal Telecommunications Act carefully. The law is very clear and in favor of cell companies. The only way to avoid might be to buy a large farm in the woods where towers are not needed or you own the land to stop it.
If you disagree, speak with your congressman or senator on the Federal law.
Meanwhile, Planners did a great job protecting the citizens in light of Federal laws!

If you are not going to read the Federal Telecommunication Act let me clearly identify for you that it states that no city, town, etc can refuse a cell tower location/request based upon "health concerns".
I can not be anymore blunt about that.
Our past zoning worked for 10 years, the zoning rules that planning commission passed and council will reviee has has strict setback rules so Mary now feels comfortable and if you measure your park you will feel comfortable too.
As for parks, now that commerical has been approved, as you read in the article and probably heard last night at the meeting, that opens up the area for tower requests that will be commerical spaces, golf courses, etc.
As for parks...please stop pushing that issue as it relates to health concerns...READ THE FEDERAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT and move on.

Oh, Kevin...there was an engineer who presented information on cell tower safety...stop picking on Joe, his comments are not random.
Nothing personal

PTC Observer's picture

I can assure you that I am not Kevin and I have never met or spoken to Kevin.. I don't know Mary either. I am a real person though, this message is not computer generated.

I am simply saying the setback requirement should be consistent. It doesn't need to be a health issue if that is in conflict with FTA, simply make it 250 for both or better yet 500.

I am not worried about MY park, I am worried about OUR parks. If setbacks can help keep them out of our parks, I am OK with that. Look whether you believe me or not I simply think parks are part of our quality of life here in PTC and I am certain you believe this too. Let's don't ruin them with unsightly cell towers, which could also be potentially harmful to our kids.

Besides, the cell companies now have the private property option. Let them go pay real money to get what they want and stay out of our parks. I am certain they don't want the bad publicity that could come from such a request.

Pretty simple.

Read the Federal Telecommunications Act.

Best of luck to you...

PTC Observer's picture

Thank you, good luck to you too.

I hope we may meet one day, I'll keep my eye out for you....

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