Cell tower going up on farm after balloon test
by Rachel Gray
March 19, 2014 04:00 AM | 3228 views | 1 1 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Cobb County commissioners were relieved Tuesday when two previously contentious zoning requests were approved with support from the community.

In one case, Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who represents south Cobb, acknowledged the developer for being patient through a long process and thanked residents for actively participating in the decision.

The request for a special land-use permit to erect a 150-foot tall wireless communications tower in south Cobb, north of Hurt Road, was first reviewed by the board in December.

The location of the tower would be in the northwest corner of GB’s Stables, a family farm surrounded by residential subdivisions.

Chad Williams, 29, said the land was purchased by his grandfather, G.B. Williams, in 1949 for $5,000.

Now the G.B. Farm has a lake, stables for 50 horses and acres of woods inhabited by wild turkeys, ducks and deer.

Williams said he needs an influx of money to pay property taxes and high liability insurance for the activities at the farm, including birthday parties for Cobb children.

If the special land-use permit was not granted, Williams said he would be forced to cut down the trees, drain the lake and “put hundreds of hundreds of homes” on the land.

At a previous public hearing, concerned residents from Alexander Place, a subdivision that sits more than half a mile to the east of where the tower would be positioned, convinced the commissioners to delay a decision on the tower until a field test could be done to demonstrate the true height of the tower.

Tower height is put to the test

Before Tuesday’s meeting, an oblong red balloon, 5 feet deep and 15 feet long, was tethered to the ground with a 150-foot rope, allowing the balloon to rise to the same height as the future tower.

Moore said the balloon test was well attended by people from Alexander Place, as well as Cupid. Many photographs of the balloon were captured from several vantage points.

Moore showed the pictures to the board Tuesday and said the red dot was barely visible above the tops of the threes or through the wooded area.

“I think the balloon test accomplished what it was supposed to accomplish,” he said.

Still, one person spoke in opposition to the tower on Tuesday morning.

Michelle Gains lives off Wildwood Drive, which is directly north of the tower’s proposed location, where maintenance crews would access the structure.

Gains said the red balloon “eyesore” was easily seen from her living room window during the test.

“It is much closer to my home than I even realized,” Gains said. “It didn’t put any ease in my heart.”

But, when installed, the “stealth cellphone tower” will be fashioned with fake branches and vegetation to look like a gigantic evergreen tree.

Cupid said the tree design will blend in with the surroundings.

The board voted 4-0 to approve the request. It will be six months before the tower is erected.

Chairman Tim Lee was absent from Tuesday’s zoning hearing because he was at the Georgia State Capitol lobbying in favor of the split-penny SPLOST bill that would allow cities and counties to implement special purpose local option sales taxes of less than 1 cent on the dollar.

Developer, homeowners negotiate for approval

A second zoning case heard Tuesday benefited from a quicker process, but also faced opposition by neighbors before approval was granted.

Developer Richard Duncan of Kennesaw requested approval to build nine homes on 4.2 acres in northeast Cobb.

Duncan said the homes would have a minimum of 3,000 square feet of living space, with basements and three-car garages.

The idea of yet another residential subdivision on the north side of Mountain Road, between Outlook Place and Outlook Drive, prompted five people from the Highland Ridge subdivision to ask the Cobb Planning Commission on March 4 to delay construction for six months.

Kelley Reis lives on the far north side of Outlook Way, which is a horseshoe-shaped road that encircles the property being rezoned.

With the new houses being built along a ridge, Reis wanted a stipulation added to the plans that would require homes butting against the back of her property to be one-story. A larger elevation of a two-story home would allow the new residents to peer into Reis’ pool area.

Despite the initial opposition, Duncan was able to address the residents’ concerns in the two weeks before the Board of Commissioners meeting.

By Tuesday’s meeting, there was no opposition. A stipulation was added that the lot in the back would be a ranch-style home that would be low enough to not impede the view.

Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who represents the area, said the developer had “come a long way” since the Planning Commission meeting.

“I appreciate you working with everyone and I appreciate the neighbors coming out,” Birrell said.

Comments
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Harold Mize
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March 19, 2014
Chad, I am just across the road from where the

farm and tower are to be .

You have my support .

Good Luck .
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