3/6/19 - Stonecrest - A cell tower in Stonecrest, Georgia on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. The cell tower was improperly built due to a zoning quirk. Residents were not informed and are trying to get the tower removed. EMILY HANEY / emily.haney@ajc.com
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cell tower owner hit with code violations unrelated to cell tower

The owners of a controversial cell phone tower in southern DeKalb County were hit with several citations recently — for code violations unrelated to the cell tower itself.

The city of Stonecrest cited the company Vertical Bridge last week for several dilapidated structures, unmaintained grass and weeds and an uncovered pool located on the same land as the cell tower, city spokesman Adrion Bell said. Meanwhile, the city is still looking into the legality of the cell tower itself, which sits on the south end of the 16.3 acre property, adjacent to a relatively new subdivision.

Stonecrest and the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office are investigating whether the 199-foot cell tower should have been built there in the first place. Decades-old zoning records show that the land is only zoned for commercial developments on the condition that a summer day care be there during the summer months, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported earlier this month.

The day care no longer exists, but the cell tower now sits next to the neighborhood and a children’s playground for a nearby church.

Neighbors said they were also frustrated that the tower seemingly appeared out of nowhere one day in mid-January, without a public hearing being held. Some also pointed out the possible safety concerns of living near a cell tower.


PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

» Was a cell tower illegally built in a South DeKalb neighborhood?

» No more cell towers in Stonecrest, for now


“I'm glad they at least have code enforcement down there to check out the property for code violations,” said Phillip Kelly, a Stonecrest resident who is partly leading the charge against the tower. “Hopefully this is a step in the right direction.”

He said he still hopes the city will take more action and revoke the building permit for the tower.

From left: Katrina Langford, Lynn Goodwin, Phillip Kelly and Virginia Pierce-Kelly pose for a portrait with the cell tower that was put up right by their neighborhood in Stonecrest. (Photo: EMILY HANEY / emily.haney@ajc.com)

Stonecrest said nearly two weeks ago that the city attorney was expected to draft a report on the legality of the tower. That report has not been released.

The City Council also voted in support of a temporary moratorium for cell towers, until this issue is resolved.

Bell said code inspectors discovered the alleged maintenance issues when they visited the area recently. While they are not related to the cell tower itself, Bell said, the violations likely wouldn’t have been found if it weren’t for the tower on Evans Mill Road.

Vertical Bridge has 45 days to fix the maintenance issues before it could face a fine. An official with the Florida-based company declined to comment.

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