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Snellville postpones cell tower vote

SNELLVILLE — A 3-3 tie vote among Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer and the Snellville City Council on Monday prompted council members to postpone a final decision regarding a proposed cell tower in the city.

The matter will be decided at the city’s Oct. 11 council meeting.

Applicant T-Mobile requested a conditional use permit be granted to build a 130 foot monopole cell tower and telecommunications facility on property located at 1851 Rockdale Circle. Attorney Michael Sullivan represented T-Mobile and argued that cell phones have become a necessity, adding that many households no longer have landlines and use their cell phones exclusively.

“Just about everyone has a cell phone, and they want it to work,” said Sullivan, who added that the phones will not work consistently in areas that have spotty or weak signals. “T-Mobile has a significant gap in service” in nearby areas and needs that location for a new tower, Sullivan said Monday.

The applicant’s representative also said that no other suitable areas in the city have been identified. The property in question is heavily wooded, and T-Mobile performed voluntary “balloon tests,” tests in which a red balloon is tethered to the site at a height of 130 ft. Dozens of photos of the balloon, taken from different angles and distances, were provided to city staff and elected officials.

Sullivan stated that the photos prove that a tower at that site would be unobtrusive to most area property owners. He further added that having a cell tower close to a home does not negatively affect that home’s or surrounding homes’ property values.

A few homeowners spoke in opposition to T-Mobile’s proposal Monday. Anna Harrison’s property abuts the proposed site, and she stated that she could clearly see the red balloon from her property.

“When they clear those trees, that’s all I’ll see,” said Harrison, referring to a 30-foot-wide access road that will have to be cut from the main road to the tower for maintenance.

Other homeowners suggested that T-Mobile should look for a suitable location on commercial property, but Sullivan reiterated that the proposed location is the most appropriate to increase service coverage in that area.

Snellville resident honored

Darla Dixon, artist and creator of My Snellville Blog was honored with “Darla Dixon Day” on Monday. Dixon has painted and auctioned several pieces of art, donating 100 percent of the proceeds to the Southeast Gwinnett co-op. Her paintings and drawings have been sold both locally and internationally.

Dixon was also on hand Monday to accept a proclamation declaring October “Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry Month” in the city and at the Snellville Farmers Market. Market patrons are urged to donate canned and boxed foods at Dixon’s booth on any Saturday in October to help meet the staggering need that the co-op is trying to fill.

Students filming meetings

Three students from the Grayson Technical Education Program filmed Monday’s council meeting as part of their video broadcasting class. Zachary Dorsett, Sebastian Saavedra and Josh Davey filmed the entire meeting on Monday, and the broadcast will be shown on Comcast Channel 25 next month.

Soccer steering committee

Snellville Parks and Recreation Board chair Gail Deal announced Monday that the soccer steering committee will meet next month to hear from 5 or 6 other area soccer clubs. The committee was commissioned to study and recommend whether Snellville should continue to run the city’s soccer program, or whether a private organization should take over the duty.

Deal said that the steering committee will meet again later in October and should be very close to reaching a recommendation, which will be heard by Oberholtzer and council members by the end of December.