News Column

City officials to gather more info on cellular tower

June 26, 2014

By Kim West, The News Courier, Athens, Ala.

June 26--City officials are pursuing additional information before the City Council votes in July on a special-use permit for an AT&T cell tower in southeastern Limestone County, Council President Harold Wales said.

The council held a public hearing Monday about the 190-foot tower, which Wales said is proposed at 1808 Linsey Lane. The three-family private drive runs south of the Winslow and Whitfield Colony subdivisions.

The address appearing on Monday's meeting agenda was incorrect because AT&T's permit application listed the tower site as "1808 Lindsey Lane." Linsey Lane bisects Lindsay Lane.

Additionally, city officials are trying to pinpoint the distance between the possible tower and the nearest residence, other than the property owner who has agreed to lease a 70-foot-by-70-foot site on the north end of the 1808 Linsey Lane property.

Mayor Ronnie Marks confirmed this week that AT&T attorney Andy Rotenstreich stated during the meeting that the distance between the tower site and nearest residence is 700 feet, as previously reported. However, Marks said the city is conducting an independent site location, using geographic information systems technology to determine the exact distance.

NASA contract engineer Sandy George spoke during the public hearing on behalf of her mother-in-law and Creighton Drive resident Linda George, whom she described as living 300 feet from the proposed tower. Sandy George said the tower should be built at least 1,500 feet from the nearest residence.

Frances Westrich, who lives in the Winslow subdivision, told The News Courier on Wednesday that a survey map provided by AT&T shows the distance as approximately 300 feet. The map was prepared by SMW Engineering Group in Birmingham.

City records show AT&T, which must pay a $5,000, nonrefundable application fee to build a new tower, has set up a $7,500 escrow account to pay for costs associated with the permitting process.

The city contracts with the Center for Municipal Solutions and CMS consultant Mignon Bowers "to make sure all the applications are done properly," Marks said.

Wales said the permit issue will not be voted on until the council's July 14 or July 28 meeting, adding affected residents will be notified.

-- Editor Adam Smith contributed to this report.


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Source: News Courier (Athens, AL)

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