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Norcross denies cell tower permit

NORCROSS - City Council members Monday voted unanimously to deny a special-use permit to allow Metro PCS to erect a 154-foot telecommunications tower at 5440 Buford Highway near Beaver Ruin Road.

Although the city's Planning and Zoning Board and the Downtown Development Authority recommended denial of the permit, Metro PCS's attorney Ellen Smith argued that "significant commercial development surrounds this property."

The proposed tower would have allowed Metro PCS to provide better coverage for customers on both sides of Beaver Ruin Road and other areas surrounding Norcross. In addition, Metro PCS would have been able to lease space on the tower to two other cell phone service providers.

"We've done the research, and there is no other location in Norcross to place a tower," Smith said.

The DDA denied a "certificate of appropriateness" for the proposed structure, and chairman Rob Buck explained why Monday night.

"This tower is not in compliance with all city regulations. It is too high for the Downtown Development District," Buck said. "We need to embrace and regulate what happens along Buford Highway in the DDD."

Several citizens, some real estate agents, also spoke against granting the permit based on belief that such a structure would detract from property values of surrounding homes.

Historic ordinance

voted down

Council members voted 4-1 not to adopt a Norcross Historic Preservation Ordinance in the works for a couple of years.

Chairwoman of Save Historic Norcross Ann Webb urged council members to adopt the ordinance because it would enhance property values.

"This ordinance sets a standard. Nothing is set in stone yet," Webb said.

Buck urged members not to adopt the ordinance, saying it would impose unfair restrictions on property owners whose homes lie within a designated historic district.

Councilman Michael Lovelady, who cast the only vote in favor of the ordinance, suggested it be sent back to the DDA for more research and extensive re-write. No one seconded the motion.

Councilman proposes

removing city attorney

Lovelady made a motion Monday night to remove Peter Boyce as the city's attorney.

"Mr. Boyce has led us into some questionable areas," Lovelady said. No one seconded Lovelady's motion.