After voting at their Feb. 15 meeting to deny Verizon Wireless their plans to build a cell tower at 493 Antique Alley Dr., the Habersham County Commission has voted to settle the litigation Verizon raised against the county in March with construction.
Verizon raised litigation against the county on the grounds that the company believed the commission did not offer sufficient reasoning for blocking the development of a new telecom tower. The commission denied the construction of the tower in a 4-1 vote (Commissioner Bruce Palmer in favor) after hearing public comments regarding concerns that the telecom tower may emit unsafe radiation, as well as fears that the telecom tower may disrupt the views of the mountains in the Annandale Subdivision.
At their Apr. 19 meeting, the commission unanimously voted to settle that litigation by consent judgment. Verizon noted the radiation requirements and restrictions put forth by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which regulates the levels of radiation a telecom tower can emit to a safe level. They also noted that there are multiple other cell towers in the area to support their stance that a new tower will not defile the aesthetics of the area.
Citizens disagreed, coming forth at the public comment portion of the meeting once again to express their disappointment. A federal judge will issue an order for Habersham county to offer a permit for the cell tower.
WATCH THE FULL COMMISSION MEETING HERE.
The commission made progress in its long list of appointments, reappointing all but three members of the Board of Ethics. Kathy Nicholson was appointed to fill the position of Sylvia Prescott on the Board of Elections and Registration. Commissioner Bruce Harkness appointed Mariah Holbrooks to replace Deborah Densmore, who has resigned, on the Tax Assessors Board.
Commissioner Jimmy Tench nominated Joan Church, Habersham Tax Assesors’ Chief Appraiser, to serve on the Tax Assessors Board. Tench’s motion died due to lack of a second after the other commissioners, as well as Chairman Dustin Mealor, agreed that Church’s position may serve as a conflict of interest on the board. Tench did not have another nomination, and the matter will be revisited at next month’s meeting.
That next meeting will take place on May 17, 2021, at 6:00 pm. The commission will meet in person at the Habersham County Courthouse, and the meeting will also be available via livestream on their website.