Where will all the towers go? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Where will all the towers go?

August 7, 2006

There are thousands of cellular towers throughout the country, and without them, communications would be crippled.  Today, they are needed for personal, professional and even emergency work, but not everyone wants a tower growing out of their back yard. 

Almost all of us use cell phones these days. Some people can't even make a phone call without looking in their phone directory for the number. And here in Dougherty County cell phones are used for law enforcement officers to contact each other, but if they can't get through, there could be major problems.  

Captain Tim Hannington of the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office uses his cell phone every day to contact other law enforcement officers.  "This linc tower would just better enable us to use our resources to not only contact our local agencies that currently use linc, and also state agencies that are using linc now," Hannington says.

But a tower would have to be built to allow that transmission to occur in certain parts of Southwest Dougherty County. "The drug enforcement agency in this county, the police, they all use this radio, and they need to be in constant contact as they go from point A to point B."

And that's why SouthernLinc contracted with Barinowski investment company to build a tower off Dyson Court, just off of 8 Mile Road. Martin Harris says it's a bad idea. "I'm concerned also about the fact that there are five families around the base of the tower."

He believes the tower could have negative health factors for women, children and the elderly. Mark Barinowski says that's just not true. "That's a non-issue. There have not been any proven studies that these cellular antennas affect human health, otherwise we would not be able to put them up." But Harris and his neighbors have another problem with the tower.

They're afraid the 400 foot tower, which would only be 300 feet away from their homes, could fall down on them. "They say it would be 400 feet, so I was concerned. We have a lot of bad weather in that area. So, I was concerned about it falling too," says Rosa Clark. 

"There are three miles either way, either side that have practically no population at all, no concentration that I'm sure could be available." "There's one tract that's over 1,000 acres and the land owner is not interested in having the tower there. He's busy and just doesn't want to fool with it."

Barinowski says the only land available to build coverage in the area, is the land he's asked to build on.

And fears about the tower falling on homes, aren't necessary. He says the demolition of WFXL and WALB's towers helps their case. "It really strengthens our case, because if you look at what happened there, when they set the charges off, if you watch the video as I'm sure y'all have, and that tower actually collapses straight down."  

Builders say there's only one realistic area for the tower to go and that's the site they've applied to build on. They will look elsewhere if their proposal is rejected.  

The company applied to build the tower has also applied for a reduced setback of 100 feet for the tower anchors, as opposed to the 400 feet which is required by county zoning ordinance. A public hearing for that request will be held Wednesday at 2:00 PM.

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