Walsh: Need more info to decide tower issue

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 4:05pm
By: Letters to the ...

At the PTC Council meeting on Nov. 5, there was a lot of passionate discussion about possible new cellphone towers in the city, so I thought I’d share my views on this hot issue.

My personal opinion is that most of the calls I receive are trivial, boring, and unnecessary, so I can do without them. I suggest we get rid of all the towers.

But then again, I occasionally make calls, which are always important and timely, and I’m sure a joy to the recipient, so maybe I’ll recommend we keep one tower near where I live in Planterra.

Who knows? If my neighborhood is the only one with cellphone reception, it might help property values here, too.

I’m sure that many other people also want cellphone coverage, so maybe cell towers should be viewed as necessary, but something that needs to be closely controlled.

There is a website — www.cellreception.com/towers/towers.php — that shows the locations of all the cell towers in the country, and I mapped out what Peachtree City has, and we apparently have 13 towers currently.

But nine of them are along the Ga. Highway 74 corridor, or parallel to it on Dividend Drive.

If you use that webpage and look at either Fayetteville or Newnan, you’ll see that in those towns the towers are much more uniformly dispersed.

I suspect this is because Peachtree City has done a good job of keeping towers out of residential areas, which we will continue to do.

But it also explains why cell reception is spotty in places, and why T-Mobile has requested additional towers.

I drove around the city looking at the existing towers, and it turns out they all don’t look the same, and most are in locations where they are not considered a visual blight.

OK, the one at City Hall can’t be considered attractive, but it somehow makes the government center look more important. I don’t mean to sound flippant — I wouldn’t want that in my backyard, and I would never vote to allow something like that near a residence.

But we get over $150,000 annually from fees for existing towers, and that is a revenue source we’ll need in coming years.

Maybe the current 13 towers are the exact right number, or maybe it’s 17, as T-Mobile proposes, or some other number (14, 15, 10?).

We cannot and should not approve T-Mobile’s request based on information available. There has been no proposal from T-Mobile on the design or height of the towers they want, or the specific locations, or the fees they are willing to pay to allow them.

We also don’t know what options exist for them to co-locate their antennae on existing towers, and that needs to be understood.

So I believe our next step needs to be to get all the details, and we then must have a well-publicized public forum. After that, I can make a decision on whether I can support more towers.

I’d like to know if there is a tower that you think is a blight to your neighborhood. Please email me at bobwalsh.ptcga@yahoo.com, so I can see it from your perspective. And if you want more details on my position, call my cell phone, 678-378-5091.

Bob Walsh

Candidate for PTC Council Post 3

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Submitted by PTC Observer on Mon, 11/23/2009 - 11:22am.

Here's the issue in the form of a quesiton.

Do we lease public parks to private interests for use for the construction of cell towers for private use and profit?

You say we need more research? Well do we?

What is your answer to the above question?

We need more research?

If this is your answer then you have no business running for public office in our city.

The question is a simple yes or no answer.

What say you Mr. Walsh?

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Mon, 11/23/2009 - 11:43am.

Peachtree City already has cell towers on publicly owned/City Owned land. I am not sure if it is worth the differentiation on a park vs city building. What about parks that have ball fields with lights? Or tennis courts with lights? Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I do not see those nice-to-have structures as beautiful. A cell tower at a ball field or tennis court center would detract that much. I am not sure of my vote on this, but we all have some biases and sacred cows.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 9:37am.

Bob Walsh-I think more research is in order on the number of cell towers in PTC. It is nowhere near what you claim. I also suggest all candidates who want to be informed on this talk to David Rast about zoning issues. He admits he is not knowledgeable on the subject, but he knows more than those of you do who claim it's simply a town hall meeting, what does it look like and how much money do we get issue.

And to Erik Imker, you have NO right to claim you talked down T-Mobile at the Rec. Comm. meeting, when you know you were one of the unanimous votes there that approved this issue to go beyond committee. Cyndi Plunkett, you were right there, too, and not one word has been documented that you had any concerns.

As far as the multiple comments by candidates about a vocal minority not representing the wishes of PTC? Well, well, well,....I just wouldn't be too sure of yourselves about that.

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