Tucker Zoning Board of Appeals defers variance request for new cell phone tower

Tucker City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Tucker, GA — Tucker Zoning Board of Appeals deferred a variance request for a new cell phone tower at the Aug. 17 meeting to give staff more time to research city code. The property is in an industrial area, bordering I-285 and a railroad track.

Green Implementation Group requested a variance to the fall zone requirements for a cell phone tower at 1880 Montreal Court, currently zoned M-2 (heavy industrial). Wireless telecommunication facilities are reviewed on different standards than that of a typical standard, said staff, because a structural engineer is required to sign off on the plans.

Currently, city code requires a setback to measure the distance of a fall zone plus 20 feet. Granting the variance would allow construction of a 195-foot cell phone tower with a fall radius of 40 feet.

The applicant agreed to all terms and conditions by city staff. Staff requested to defer “out of abundance of caution” and board members voted unanimously to defer the item to Sept. 21 after a presentation from SBA Communications, a competitor in the telecommunications industry.

“If the ordinance is written to require [extra land or a future variance], what I want to make sure is that we create conditions to insulate this staff from judging anything incorrectly before we make a decision,” said one board member. “My feeling is it’s better to defer, hash out this issue and make sure you have the right information before any decision is made.”

Also, on Sept. 21, ZBA will hear from Ford’s BBQ about variances to dimensional requirements and storefront standards.

This month’s Planning Commission recommended approval of a Special Land Use Permit (SLUP) to Developmental Disability Ministry for a personal care home located at 3710 S. Marlborough Drive, a 5-bedroom home on. 24 acres. The home is zoned R-75 (residential), and DDM will not alter the exterior or interior. The meeting was held Aug. 19.

DDM wants to add one resident to the existing group of three who live at the property. Tucker city code requires a SLUP for more than 3 unrelated people living together. No existing personal care homes are located within 2,000 feet of DDM.

DDM CEO and Founder Ryan Whitmire said, “[Tucker is} a great city. It’s a welcoming city. It’s safe, affordable housing and it has a diverse population … We love it here.”

Next month, Chick-Fil-A will come before Planning Commission on Sept. 16. The fast food restaurant chain held a public participation meeting in May regarding a potential relocation from 4340 Hugh Howell Road at Lawrenceville Highway to just a few blocks away at 4435 Hugh Howell Road at Rosser Terrace.

In other news:

A community participation meeting will be held on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. for Phoenix Wellness Center at 2088 Idlewood Road. Natalie Phoenix, resident of Tucker for 7 years, owns a spa in Little Five Points with skincare, chiropractic, massage and flotation therapy. She is asking for a SLUP for a second location in Tucker.

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