Neighbors outraged by plans to build radio tower in north Fulton

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

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FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Plans to build a large radio communications tower outside a Roswell neighborhood aren't sitting well with homeowners.

North Fulton County leaders are in the process of building a new emergency radio communication system for the cities of Roswell, Sandy Springs, Milton and Alpharetta, at a cost of about $16 million.

One location under consideration for a tower is on Fouts Road, near the Twelvestones subdivision.

"Something like this shouldn't be put in a residential neighborhood," homeowner Joyce Cross told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik. "It's 400 feet tall."

Cross and her neighbors said they support the concept of upgrading the county's outdated radio system, but they question this proposal.

"There are people who have problems with the health impact," she said. "There are people who have problems with the wildlife impact."

Neighbor Bob Richardson is also questioning the need for North Fulton County to have its own system when Fulton County government has also hired Motorola to upgrade its county-wide system.

"To me it's just a duplication of services and a waste of taxpayer's money," he said.

Petchenik confirmed the county is spending about $19 million from its general fund for the radio system upgrades.

"The leaders around here all talk about bloated government, big government and wasting taxpayer's money, and yet what do they do? They go out and create another bureaucracy that's going to duplicate the services that Fulton County already provides," Richardson said.

Roswell city spokeswoman Julie Brechbill said city officials wouldn't comment on the concerns about the tower's location because the City Council has yet to vote on it. She said it goes before the council on Aug. 12.

Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough, who chairs the North Fulton Radio Authority, told Petchenik a North Fulton system is necessary because the Fulton County system constantly has outages.

"We have a plan," he said. "We continue to move aggressively towards implementing our plan in North Fulton."

McDonough told Petchenik the cities continue discussions with Fulton County and others as they implement the new system "to build the most efficient system that we can."

Fulton County spokeswoman Ericka Davis emailed Petchenik about the county's position on the system.

"We are in communication with the North Fulton cities to share infrastructure (sites/towers and microwave link)," she said. "We met with them on July 11, 15, and 17 with the vendor to determine our sharing options. We are committed to reducing cost and duplication where possible."



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