ATLANTA -- Gwinnett officials found support in Atlanta Monday in their fight to stop a bill they say would take the government's control over the location of cell towers from becoming a law.
During a meeting of local members of the county's legislative delegation, leaders asked questions on the proposal which could come up for a vote in the House of Representatives this week.
But Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash told lawmakers there are few incidences anywhere in the state of local governments forcing cell phone providers to place towers on government land, an accusation from lobbyists she said the county does not practice.
County Attorney Van Stephens said there may be a good reason to look at a county property to buffer residents from a tower, but that the government does not require it. The bill, if passed, would prohibit the government from looking at a tower's search ring to consider other locations, even when neighbors object.
Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, said she knows the problems the government will face, as a former county commissioner herself.
"As Republicans, we run on local control. To usurp that power and take away the control of what happens literally in your backyard ... that's just wrong," Unterman said. "I'll take care of that when it gets to the Senate."
Commissioner Lynette Howard sent a letter to legislators and made her plea in person Monday.
"We want to find the best place to create good service but not have visual noise," she said, describing overhead utilities and signs in the Peachtree Corners community she lives in. "I have a lot of towers around (my house) but I still don't have service."
On Tuesday, commissioners are expected to officially ask for a $10 technology fee to be added to the traffic tickets in the Clerk of Recorder's Court office, and Nash said a provision will soon be introduced for the city of Peachtree Corners, which was incorporated last year. Few details were available Monday, but Nash said she wanted the city to be treated the same as other municipalities.
Lawmakers also heard from leaders in the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, who are pushing for business-friendly laws.
Jann Moore of the Chamber talked about the need for angel investment incentives, currently being considered in one bill, which could help up to 200 small companies in the county.
Moore talked about Appcelerator, a business created in Norcross five years ago that moved to California to allow an investor to take advantage of incentives there. The company now employs 550 people.