PTC sinks cell tower variance

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 9:57am
By: John Munford

A request for a variance to allow a 165-foot cellphone tower in the industrial park off Dividend Drive and Kelly Drive was denied by the Peachtree City Council Thursday night.

Without the variance, the tower height will be limited to 122 feet because the property is inside an airspace protection zone due to its proximity to Falcon Field Airport.

Property owner Tim Powers said the site isn’t near the airport and would not interfere with takeoffs or landings at Falcon Field. He also noted that the Federal Aviation Administration has determined a tower there would not pose a safety issue with airport operations.

The request was voted down unanimously after city staff and the airport authority, which operates Falcon Field, both recommended the variance be denied.
Interim Community Development Director David Rast said the city was concerned if the variance was approved that a precedence would be set to allow other such requests in the future.

The property is zoned general industrial so a rezoning is not necessary prior to a celltower being constructed as long as it meets the height requirements under the airspace protection zone, officials have said.
According to city staff, the site can accommodate a smaller tower at 122 feet and remain in compliance with the airspace protection zone regulations. Powers would not need a variance to build a tower of that height, officials said.
Powers told council that more cellphone towers will be necessary for the city’s future as cellphone usage continues to expand. In recent months several cellphone companies have approached the city about building new cellphone towers on property closer to residential neighborhoods.
Rast said the cellphone carriers have been providing the city with certain areas they would like to build towers to enhance coverage, but this tower site is not one of those areas they have suggested.

Resident Robert Brown said the city should allow the variance because they are more appropriate for industrially-zoned land than for residential areas of town.
Resident Jeff Whatley opposed the variance, saying that the height restrictions are a matter of safety at the airport.

Councilman Eric Imker said he agreed the tower height is a safety concern. He also suggested that in the next five to ten years that the airport’s takeoff and landing regulations will change.

Powers pointed out that an existing cell tower closer to the airport is apparently in violation of the height restrictions and was somehow allowed to build, thereby creating a precedent. Rast said the city will be following up with the owner of that tower about the matter.

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Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 12:14pm.

Takeoff and landing regulations changing? Are we speaking of redirecting the runway or perhaps adding another? It's obvious the FAA saw no problem taking the tower to 165 feet which, by the way, is not that much higher than the rooftops of homes in Planterra Ridge that are also within the airport protection zone.

Please explain

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 11:46am.

Why do airspace protection zone regulations even exist when the Federal Aviation Administration doesn't feel the need to enforce them?

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