Plans are underway to construct a new cellphone tower near the intersection of Windlass Road and Back Nine Drive in Scruggs.
Sites Unlimited Inc., a wireless communications site acquisition company, applied last month for a special-use permit to construct a 199-foot tower. The Franklin County Planning Commission will hear the proposal for the permit at its Feb. 12 meeting. If approved, the project will go for a vote by the Franklin County Board of Supervisors on March 19.
Larry Bickings, owner of Sites Unlimited Inc., said the site was acquired on behalf of Verizon Wireless, but up to three other companies could lease space on the tower.
Some residents living near the site are concerned about what impact the tower will have on property values, as well as the environment. Andie Gibson lives in a neighborhood off Windlass Road and owns property on Back Nine Road. “Surely there is a better spot,” Gibson said. “I think there would be other locations that are not in neighborhoods.”
Gibson cited a survey from the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy that found 94 percent of respondents said cell towers and antennas in a neighborhood would impact interest in a property.
If the project is approved, the tower will be constructed on 40 acres of property approximately 125 feet from Back Nine Road, away from nearby homes, Bickings said. The property owners will lease 0.2-acre for the tower. Bickings estimated that work on the tower would begin later this year and completed by the end of the year.
The new tower is expected to improve cellphone service in the Scruggs area and beyond.
Bickings said Verizon requested that his company find a new location for a tower in the area due to issues such as poor signals and dropped calls.
“This will improve the existing coverage,” he said.