By Rachel Kellogg / Neighbor Newspapers
The Milton City Council approved an ordinance to establish guidelines for location, placement and leasing of cell towers and antennas within the city.
Three representatives from the cell phone industry came forward to speak in opposition of the ordinance’s definition of “radiof requency engineer” and the requirement for annual licensing fees, but city attorney Ken Jarrard said he felt the ordinance was a “solid” one.
“We have worked with the industry and spoken with them at length,” he said. “We think it’s a good ordinance…that I suspect is embedded as much as any telecommunications ordinance in the state.”
The representatives from AT&T, Verizon and the Georgia Wireless Association took issue with the fact that the licensing fees mentioned in the ordinance did not list a cost, but Jarrard predicted it would be about $1,000 or less each year.
Though Verizon attorney Jennifer Blackburn suggested tower owners could submit annual affidavits, council members kept the language in the ordinance the same, noting that tower owners would know in advance what the cost will be.
“[The cost of managing and maintaining the towers] needs to be shared by the industry,” said Councilwoman Julie Zahner Bailey.
In addition, the ordinance says tower owners must provide written certification and a technical analysis when requesting a permit for a new tower taller than 100 feet.
It also says new telecommunications towers cannot be located within 3,500 feet of any existing or permitted wireless telecommunications towers or facilities.
The ordinance, which was deferred twice in the past two months, passed unanimously with Mayor Joe Lockwood absent.