The Columbia County Commission approved the rezoning of land for a new cell tower, but not its requested height.
During their regular meeting Tuesday night, commissioners approved rezoning a plot of land at 5030 High Meadow Drive from residential and special to special to allow the construction of the tower to service areas of Columbia Road and William Few Parkway.
TowerCom, the Jacksonville-based company building the tower, also had requested a height variance so it could build a 195-foot tower on the site. Current Columbia County codes limit towers to 110 feet.
David Kirk of the Atlanta-based law firm Troutman Sanders LLP, speaking on behalf of TowerCom, said the additional height would provide better service in the area and allow for multiple carriers. He said a 110-foot tower would increase service for a single carrier, but servicing multiple carriers would require the construction of more towers.
“It’s important to realize that what is transmitted to wireless devices today exceeds everything that was transmitted on the entire Internet 10 years ago,” he said.
Before voting on the motion to rezone the parcel, Commissioner Charles Allen noted that Columbia County staff members had assessed the service a 110-foot tower would provide and reported there would be no discernible difference. The tower passed – at 110 feet.
The commission also heard the request of Gordon Morin, whose son Corey was killed on Hereford Farm Road in June, that the speed limit on the road be reduced to 45 mph. He noted that only 1.2 miles of the road carry a 55 mph speed limit.
“I’m just trying to do what’s right,” a clearly emotional Morin said. “I can’t help my son now. He’s in good hands. But I can do what’s right.”
Commission Chairman Ron Cross said Morin’s proposal would be sent to committee with a recommendation for approval.
The Commission also gave final approval for Sunday package alcohol sales starting Sept. 1, and approved a resolution to recommend that the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia reconsider its decision to rename the combined Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University “Georgia Regents University.”
No alternative name was suggested in the resolution.