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Proposed cell tower makes BOC’s March 3 agenda
BOC cell tower

After being tabled twice, a special-use permit for a Verizon Wireless cell tower at the northeastern edge of Dawson County is expected to again come up for a vote before the Board of Commissioners on Thursday, March 3. 

As of 2022, the board’s voting sessions immediately follow their work sessions, which start at 4 p.m. in the second-floor assembly room of the Dawson County Government Center. 

Representatives for Verizon are proposing a cell tower near the intersection of Ga. 52 and Wesley Chapel Road, close to the Dawson and Lumpkin County lines. 

During the Nov. 2021 Planning Commission meeting, neighbors of the proposed cell tower site complained that the structure would constitute visual blight and degrade their property values. 

Multiple people then said the picturesque landscape view was a key reason they bought property in the area. 

At the BOC’s Dec. 16 voting session, David Kirk, a lawyer for Verizon rep Greg Spence, reaffirmed the need for a cell tower in that area. He explained the tower would help ensure better indoor call quality and help provide better calling and data resources necessary for emergency communications. 

Kirk acknowledged neighbors’ complaints about the tower’s proximity to the road and announced that Verizon now intends to locate the structure an additional 300 feet back on the property. The new spot would also eliminate the need for his client’s previously-requested variance, he said. 

Previous plans for the tower’s precise spot had it positioned slightly less than the required three miles from an existing tower to the south. 

The new location would still have the tower at a height of under 200 feet, so it would not need lights that the FAA requires for taller towers. There would be room for three other cell carriers on the tower, as required in Dawson County’s ordinance. 

The BOC first tabled a vote on the matter at the Dec. 16 meeting, with Commissioner Chris Gaines suggesting that another balloon test be performed that he and the other commissioners could attend. 

Then, the measure was tabled again at the Feb. 3 voting session so that the planning department could get findings back from a third-party that was examining Verizon’s application.