Country club, city at odds over cell tower placement - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Country club, city at odds over cell tower placement

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April 17, 2008
 
Dougherty County -- Some members of the Doublegate Country Club say the Albany City Commission turned down their rezoning request to put a cell phone tower on country club property, then turned around and put the tower on city property,  so that the city would get the money involved in the deal. 

One city commissioner calls that ludicrous.

Doublegate Country Club President Glenn Kirbo admits he was disappointed that the club's contract with Alltel will not work out, because of the city commission's actions. "I did not think it was appropriate," Kirbo said.

Kirbo says they have a signed contract with Alltel for five thousand dollars a month to put a 150 foot cell phone tower on Doublegate Property.  But the City Commission denied their rezoning request to build the tower.  "It hurts us about a million dollars worth," Kirbo said.

After Alltel filed suit in federal court  April 8th, the city commission voted to accept a contract with Alltel to put the cell phone tower on water tower property on Marlborough Avenue, and the city will get $1600 a month.

Commissioner Bob Langstaff, who is a member of Doublegate, voted for and helped work out the deal, but says it ludicrous to say they did it for the money. "The money is a drop in the bucket," Langstaff said, laughing.

Langstaff said some people who live at Doublegate told him they did not want the tower. "There are people who called me. Those are the people who have petitions signed, to oppose the cell tower.  Because they felt like it was going to bring down their property values."

But Reverend Kent Miller, who lives on Marlborough Avenue under that water tower, does not want the cell phone tower in his neighborhood. "The county supervisor over this area out here, and he didn't know about this meeting last Tuesday. And certainly we didn't know about it.  So we felt like we were not represented at all," Miller said.

Langstaff said federal law gives them very little latitude about cell phone towers, but says they have to be built. "The federal law makes it clear that there are going to be more cell towers."

Meanwhile some Doublegate Members are upset their club lost a good revenue source during hard times, and the money instead will end up in the city's pocket. "When you can use the money, you'd like to have it," Kirbo said.

Alltel officials have at least a year to inspect the water tower property, but have told city leaders they will begin building soon. Kirbo said he expects the federal lawsuit to be dropped, and Doublegate will not challenge the city's decision.

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