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Roswell council approves radio tower on Fouts Road
by Nicole Dow
September 12, 2013 05:41 PM | 2815 views | 2 2 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite objections from neighbors in the nearby Twelvestones subdivision, the Roswell City Council voted Wednesday to approve a radio tower — not to exceed 350 feet — on city-owned property on Fouts Road by East Roswell Park.

The council was split in the decision, and Mayor Jere Wood had to break the tie. Council members Kent Igleheart, Betty Price and Jerry Orlans voted in opposition, wanting to defer the vote to get more information about possible alternatives to the proposed tower at that site.

Neighbors from Twelvestones also asked council to defer the vote.

“You don’t have enough information to make an educated vote,” said resident Susan Booth.

She said the tower would be a direct assault to the values of properties nearby.

Councilwoman Becky Wynn said although it was not an easy decision, she believed there had been enough waiting and plenty of information and options had been presented to council. The radio tower will be part of the new North Fulton Regional Radio System and used by first responders to provide vital public safety to residents.

“Every day that we delay, our first responders are in danger,” she said. “This is not just for first responders. This is for the safety for everybody that’s in Roswell.”

Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant said the current radio system failed three times during Labor Day weekend.

“It failed 11 times in the last 12 months,” he said.

Grant said the system is failing at a more frequent rate.

Councilwoman Nancy Diamond said council has spent countless hours mulling the decision.

“This is not something we just rushed into because we love spending money and upsetting our citizens,” she said.

Councilman Rich Dippolito said the changes to the Fouts Road plan are better than what was first proposed — a 400-foot tower near the road. The agreed upon height is for the tower not to exceed 350 feet and the location was pushed back from right by the road to closer to the park.

“I would like to see [the height] lowered,” he said. “I just don’t see it as possible.”

Chuck Bethea, vice president of operations at telecommunications consulting firm Commdex, presented the council with multiple scenarios for if the tower were shorter or relocated. He said a 200-foot tower would require two additional towers and there could still be areas that would experience issues with connectivity. Relocating the tower would present construction problems that would likely raise costs, Bethea said.

“[The 350-foot tower on Fouts Road] is better coverage and better for the public safety,” he said.

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Patsy Van Pelt
September 14, 2013
I am disappointed in your article and the one-sided coverage you provided on this issue. You mention one homeowner's comment yet ignore the factual issues raised by other homeowners who have researched this issue far more diligently than the Council and City Administrator.

Please report on the other issues - the cost born by Roswell versus that by the other participating cities; the lack of a clear comparison of alternate sites, including upfront cost, ongoing cost, environmental impact and residential impact. You should also ask the question about alternate locations that are being developed versus our already established neighborhoods.

You should ask what this holds for future decisions where the council decides it wants to violate the city zoning rules. Why was a specification sent out instead of asking for proposals to solve the problem? Why was only one vendor contacted to quote?

Why did the council decide to postpone the discussion of the Cox Road site when it is inextricably linked to the entire project? Is it because those homes are much more expensive?

We know that Fulton County had not been as responsive as the City wanted but just because there are obstacles, you don't take your ball and go home. Where was Mayor Wood's leadership there? Why did it take our homeowners to raise the issues, contact the parties and get everyone to the table? Maybe we should be getting part of his salary.

Please expand your coverage of this project. This has a truly long-term impact on the entire city and other property values besides ours.

We want what is best for our first responders but when certain members of the council and the mayor dig their collective heels in and refuse to admit they messed this project up from the beginning, we are not going to end up with the best system for public safety.

Our thanks to Council Members Igleheart, Orlans and Price for having the intelligence and integrity to see that moving so fast is not the best solution to our public safety issues. It is more important to get it right than get it fast.


Patsy Van Pelt
Joyce Cross
September 15, 2013
What the article fails to mention is the city officials in charge of this project refused to follow their own ordinance. Towers are supposed to be placed in commercial industrial areas in our city, not across from residential areas on property zoned residential.

Also, our city council gave up its voice on this project to the North Fulton Regional Radio System Authority which is now making decisions here in the city of Roswell. I don't remember electing anyone on the NFRRSA.

The City of Roswell single sourced this project to Motorola and did not put the radio dead zone problem out to bid like any responsible government.

I suspect some property located in our commercial corridor near a U-store facility was dismissed because it was near a soon to be started new home development and our fair mayor and city council couldn't do that to their big developer friend.

Also, Roswell city officials promised park officials the tower would not be put on East Roswell Park property so disc golf holes located in the commercial corridor were not considered for the tower. Our city leaders couldn't break that promise. Our elected leaders were really looking out for their friends and a big developer not the people who live here.

As for the tower, well here are some fun facts it is 45' taller than the Statue of Liberty, it comes complete with a big metal building, barbed wire fencing, "danger" warning signs and a loud generator. Two more of these gems will be located in West Roswell.

The East Roswell Tower will be going up on a "city owned" piece of property surrounded on three sides by the park with frontage on Fouts Road. A nice game of semantics with the mayor and council member Price took place when Dr. Price dare stated the obvious, "isn't it really park property?"

Then there is the nasty little fact that the design our city council voted "Yes" to was deemed "too risky" and not the best technology and lowest cost solution. Who made those statements? The Motorola radio frequency engineer hired by the NFRRSA and the city of Roswell. Since the city didn't like that answer the NFRRSA hired a consultant who would say what the city wanted him to say and kept that original Motorola guy under wraps so we never really heard from him.

During the September 3rd NFRRSA meeting, Fulton County 9-1-1 director, Angela Barret presented a power point stating that the multi-zone, one system proposed by Fulton County NOT the ISSI, two system solution voted on by city council is best and the least risky for our first responders. The ISSI two-system solution has "never been tried before on daily basis."

So much for the safety of first responders.

If this is the best we can do in terms of elected officials the city of Roswell is in a lot of trouble. There are elections in November and I will be voting Ms. Diamond out of office, she does not represent the people who elected her, in fact, in my opinion she is among the city council members who are unworthy to hold public office. The same can be said for Mayor Jere Wood who has no one running against him. I will be writing in council member, Betty Price’s name. As for Ms. Wynn and Mr.Dippolito we will have to wait a few more years but we will not forget, we’ll have a 350’ tower in our park and neighborhood to keep you always in our memories.

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