Source: NorthFulton.com

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AT&T pulls cell tower application in Milton
Working with the city to find an alternative

by CAROLYN RIDDER ASPENSON

March 19, 2013

MILTON, Ga. Last week, AT&T pulled its application to build a cell tower near Stars Soccer Club, 14295 Birmingham Hwy.

While members of the community opposed the new tower, Milton City Manager Chris Lagerbloom says AT&T withdrew their application without prejudice.

"They can come back with it at any moment," he said.

AT&T is looking to provide coverage for dead zones in their network.

The city is moving forward with Roswell, Alpharetta and Sandy Springs to build a $16 million emergency radio system, which will require the use of a cellphone tower.

Based on this new system and proposed House Bill 176, which would give the city only 150 days to review a cell tower application before it's automatically approved, city officials asked AT&T to work jointly to find an alternative solution.

There is currently one tower located off of Batesville Road and Birmingham Highway and the city has confirmed this is one of several possibilities.

"That location is one of several different options," Lagerbloom said. "We are exploring co-locations with AT&T right now and we may find we have to build a new tower, but it would be to replace an existing one."

Lagerbloom said he is cautiously optimistic about the situation.

"We left our meeting with a great interest to work together, but there are several technology hurdles to overcome in a short amount of time," he said.

Bob Corney, spokesperson for AT&T, agreed.

"We are working to provide the best service possible for our customers. With that in mind, we have requested a temporary deferral of this application pending ongoing conversations with the city of Milton," Corney said.

Aware of the community opposition, Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood believes both the city and AT&T are committed to finding a solution.

"I'm sure wireless carriers encounter opposition from communities like this often," he said, "but we are working together to determine if there is an alternative that would have a less negative impact on the community."

Lagerbloom said both the city and AT&T are researching the alternatives and that because of the emergency radio system situation, he expects things to move quickly.