A 120-foot-tall cell phone tower will be built on Old Furys Ferry Road because the Columbia County Commission voted to rezone the site.
The commission approved the rezoning 3-1 at Tuesday's board meeting, changing 3940 Old Furys Ferry from Residential-2 to Special-1, which allows T-Mobile to construct a tower.
Commissioner Steve Brown was the lone dissenting vote, and Commissioner Lee Anderson was absent. Commission Chairman Ron Cross and Commissioners Diane Ford and Tommy Mercer voted in favor of the rezoning.
Lon Purvis, who lives near the site, said he feels another tower in the area would reduce his property value.
"Considering another tower will take away some of that beauty,'' he said.
Another neighbor also asked why a new tower was needed. Five other towers are in the vicinity, the neighbor said.
Sarran Marshall, a spokesman for T-Mobile, said the tower is necessary to provide the appropriate coverage to customers in that area. He said T-Mobile had made some compromises, agreeing to change the proposed height of the tower from 150 feet to 120 feet.
The commission was told that a new cell phone-tower ordinance, which was tabled Tuesday night, would limit towers to 110 feet, but commissioners are allowed to alter that height requirement in certain cases.
Marshall told commissioners the antenna on the new tower on Old Furys Ferry is actually 110 feet tall, but because the tower will have a stealth design to look like a pine tree, the tip of the faux tree construction will reach 10 feet above the antenna.
The commission tabled the tower ordinance after being advised that a first reading would be void because a second reading vote wouldn't take place before Steve Brown vacates his seat to recently elected Ron Thigpen at the start of the new year.
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