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Commission OKs new South Hall cell tower

Stone, rock crushing business also approved

POSTED: February 12, 2009 11:49 p.m.

Cell phone users in South Hall can now look forward to better service.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners approved a Verizon Wireless telecommunications tower that could handle up to five different carriers.

At its Jan. 22 board meeting, Jennifer Blackburn, an attorney representing Verizon, told commissioners South

Hall needs another tower because customers receive little or no signal along Spout Springs and Friendship roads.

But the commission wasn’t sure another tower was necessary and asked Blackburn to return Thursday with a map of all the cell towers in the area, not just Verizon’s.

Blackburn produced the map, which showed an additional tower is necessary to improve service in the area.

Another advantage, Blackburn said, is that the county would be able to attach emergency equipment, such as tornado sirens, to the tower at no cost.

Doug Aiken of the Hall County Taxpayer Association spoke in opposition of the new tower, saying it could cause a safety hazard should it fall because of the many homes surrounding it. He also worried that granting 16 zoning variances for one cell tower would set a precedent for approving future tower requests.

The commission also approved a stone and rock crushing operation on West Ridge Road.

Many residents spoke against the project, expressing concerns about the noise and dust that could be produced. Others were concerned about safety and traffic. But the commission approved the operation with a number of conditions aimed to help protect residents.

Conditions included wetting the rock before it is crushed to reduce dust, not allowing company vehicles on Benson Drive and limiting hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Commissioner Ashley Bell, whose district will house the rock crushing operation, said it is often difficult to mediate zoning issues in areas that are both industrial and residential.

“A long time ago decisions were made to have this sort of mix between industrial and residential. And when those decisions were made a long time ago they may not have been the best and they’ve caused inconveniences for a lot of people over the years. But the industry is there and residents are there and it’s our job to do the best we can to make sure both sides can live and work without disturbing each other,” Bell said.

“Something we’ll have to look at is how to better that neighborhood.”



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