2017-08-17 / Front Page

County approves rezoning for communications tower

By JANE ELLYN AARON
news editor

At a public meeting held by the Lincoln County Commission, members approved a rezoning re­quest by SouthernLINC Wireless to construct yet another 300-foot guyed communications tower, how­ever this time on a property off the Augusta Highway.

The tower will be constructed on a property owned by Billy Gold­man, and the motion to approve this rezoning request passed the planning and zoning board unani­mously before its presentment to the commission.

“Southern LINC Wireless is the communication arm of Southern Company. Southern Company is building out this new system of 4G LT technology for its four operat­ing utility towers, which include Georgia Power Company, Alabama Power, Mississippi Power, and Gulf Power,” company representative Buddy Robinson said. “The technology will have us communicating effectively in this area.”

Robinson explained that like the recently completed tower on Graves Mountain, this new tower will be also be constructed for four Tier 1 carriers, which Southern LINC is, along with other entities such as Verizon, Sprint, and the like.

“Southern LINC are our commu­nicating devices,” Georgia Power Regional Manager David Kelly added. “As you all know in Double Branches off the Augusta Highway coverage is very sporadic, and with this new cell tower it will increase that coverage, especially in a storm or [similar] situation. I think the State Patrol uses it too, along with the school board, and communica­tion will be improved with this tower. It’s very important to us as a company and to the community as well.”

Completion of the project is projected for the first part of No­vember.

In a similar motion, the board voted also for a change in the lease agreement to the guyed tower constructed on Graves Mountain. As a part of the original agreement between the county and South­ernLINC, now that the tower is complete it will be conveyed into county ownership, to which the commission voted in favor.

An additional amendment of the agreement also allowed for South­ernLINC to have two, as opposed to one, microwave antennas. The sec­ondary antenna is intended to beam a signal toward the newly approved tower for service purposes.

“This is approximately a $250,000 antenna site constructed, which is what they’re giving to the county. It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s what it amounts too,” Chairman Walker Norman said. “We have discussed with Mr. Robinson our dire need of cell communications in Lincoln County. Verizon for some reason in these last few months has just gone down hill.

“We do want the public to know and realize – and we’re all pretty much Verizon customers – that we need to have better coverage,” Norman continued. “Of course it’s a private business, dictated by supply and demand, but we’re pushing for better coverage.”

In other business, the commission heard a request from Debra Poland, a director with LC Paws.

Poland addressed the board about reviving the “Georgia Grill and Chill” event, but requested permis­sion to serve alcoholic beverages as a part of the function.

The event was successfully put on by the Chamber of Commerce in previous years, and it would act as a fund raiser for LC Paws where all proceeds will be put toward build­ing and instating an actual animal shelter.

The event has been scheduled for September 22 of next year, to be held at the American Legion Fair ground. The event will include a cook-off as in years past, an air show, and dog show, and several vendors and food vendors will be invited. However, Poland would also like to include Georgia Winer­ies, Anheuser-Busch, and another Augusta-based microbrewery.

Due to a county ordinance, Po­land could not be granted permis­sion a year in advanced, but was informed that the organization could seek permission six months prior, and she was asked to return at that time.

The majority of the commission assured Poland that they would not oppose approving the sale of alcohol, especially since it’s on a privately owned property and the county is not liable for any incident that should occur.

In other business, the commission approved the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) list for 2018.

The list of county roads for repair must be submitted to Georgia DOT in order to receive over $300,00 of funding from the state for next year’.s.use..All.road.repairs.are.lim­ited . to resurfacing only. Roads must be officially listed on the LMIG request in order to have those spe­cific monies used for repair. LMIG monies can not be used to repair an unlisted road.

The list includes Water View Drive, Ashmore-Barden Road, Mer­cier Road, Lovelace Road, Whit­The erock Road, Jones Martin Road, Rowland York Road, Metasville Road, Mallard Lane, Bryant Road, Bambi Trail, Wood­duck Trail, Amity-Woodlawn Road, Pinewoods Road, Prater Road, Lake Side Drive, and Shawnee Road.

The board also voted to surplus three county owned plots, which will be auctioned off at the Sheriff’s Sale on the first Tuesday of October on the courthouse steps.

No minimum bid, was set, how­ever the county reserves the right to reject any and all bids if they’re deemed unreasonable. Attorney Ben Jackson will act as auctioneer.

Approximately 75 acres makeup the surplussed properties, including a lot located on Metasville Road on the right-hand side shortly after the traffic light in Lincolnton. The three other parcels are located at the “soil pit.”

Commissioner Lamar Wade ab­stained from the vote, because as a real estate broker, he was concerned that he may have potential clients interested in purchasing the any of the listed properties.

Additionally, the board voted to re-enter into an FTA 5311 transit operating contract for the fiscal year 2018, which regards the county’s rural transportation program.

The board also voted to approve a cooperative agreement with the nu­trition services program for FY18.

In closing, Chairman Norman brought the commission and public up-to-date on the state of the LCTV system, which is currently experi­encing some technical difficulties.

He also included that they intend to begin airing old Red Devil foot­ball championship games on the station beginning in 1958 and con­tinuing through to the most recently played championship.

“We’re looking for things to do with LCTV that will make people want to watch it,” Norman said.

Additionally, the chairman asked the public to mark their calendars for August 24, as a special meet and greet with Congressman Jody Hice has been scheduled at Home Cafe at 8 a.m.

Following breakfast with the con­gressmen, the public is also invited to a special unveiling of the newly erected United States documents, set to take place at 9 a.m. on the bot­tom level of the courthouse, which Hice will also be a part of.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners is slated for Thursday, September 14, begin­ning at 6 p.m. at the courthouse.

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