This is a direct post from the AJC…http://news.blog.ajc.com/2015/01/20/school-cell-tower-lawsuits-conclude/
Two lawsuits over whether T-Mobile could build cellphone towers at DeKalb County schools have been resolved, with Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May saying the outcomes validate the county’s authority over land use.
T-Mobile had sued DeKalb after May denied permit applications for the cellphone towers to be built at Lakeside High School and Margaret Harris Comprehensive School.
“This is a victory for the children in DeKalb schools and the residents who live near DeKalb schools,” May said in a statement. “The court’s decisions is consistent with the county’s position that private actors on school property have to comply with the county’s zoning codes.”
U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash granted DeKalb summary judgment in the Lakeside case in October, in part because T-Mobile has to comply with the county’s zoning procedures. The school property is zoned for residential use, and it would have to rezoned to allow for the tower’s construction, according to a letter from the county to T-Mobile cited in Thrash’s order.
T-Mobile later canceled nine leases for cell towers on other school properties, which led to the voluntary dismissal of the second lawsuit involving Margaret Harris Comprehensive School, according to the county.
T-Mobile paid $5,379 to DeKalb for court costs related to the Lakeside litigation.
The HB176 (Mobile Broadband Leads to Infrastructure[BILD] Act) was passed on 1/23. Representatives Drenner, Henson, Holcomb, and Oliver were the only four to vote against the bill. The bill will now move to Senate. WE DO NOT WANT THIS BILL PASSED as it does not go in our favor regarding cell towers on school properties and residential areas. PLEASE take a moment to thank those who voted against this bill: Representatives Drenner, Henson, Holcomb, and Oliver. We should also remind those that did vote for it, all other representatives, that they voted against local control, for cell towers at schools, and against the wishes of DeKalb citizens.
More importantly we need to contact our Senators about the coming of this bill. We have the opportunity to prevent it becoming law. Contact information is below:
• Senator Steve Henson – State Senate District 41 (D) – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Senator Jason Carter – State Senate District 42 (D) – email@example.com
• Senator Gloria S. Butler – State Senate District 55 (D) – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Senator Emmanuel Jones – State Senate District 10 (D) – email@example.com
• Senator Fran Millar – State Senate District 40 (R) – Fran.Millar@senate.ga..gov
As we know more, we will let you know.
Recently, it has come to our attention that T-Mobile is filing legal action against the school board for not following through on the obligation/agreement that the prior school board committee signed, granting a land permit for the construction of the cell tower. As you all know, the new school board has taken a different approach to this situation, thanks to all of our concerns, comments and continued involvement. However, we are still not out of the woods. A recent letter was sent to one of the school board member and he replied , making it VERY clear that we need to continue with the calls and emails to the school board members. Please visit the following website to get school board members contact information and to send your comments … http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/board-of-education
Click here…2014TMobileComplaint to view the complaint from T-Mobile.
The North Druid Hills Resident Association is having a meeting December 3rd. The purpose of this meeting is to work with a park planner to “makeover” the field that’s behind the Margaret Harris Comprehensive School (commonly known as The Dog Park). The plans will be presented at the Community Council meeting on December 17th at 6:30 pm at the Avis G. Williams Branch Library. They encourage our participation in this process to define what we want this park to be, so if you are interested, please attend and provide your input.
When: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Where: Fellowship Hall at the First Alliance Church, 2512 North Druid Hills Road (across from the Holly Lane intersection).
If you remember, Fox news came out to talk to us on October 10th. Below is the aired interview from that day. Thanks to all those who were able to make it out there on such short notice.
***Link to Fox 5 News Coverage
FOX News is doing a story about cell towers on school properties TODAY at 9am at Margaret Harris School.
If you can be there, be there! Bring signs and show your support.
We’re not protesting. FOX just wants visuals for the story.
If you don’t have a sign, grab your yard sign and use it. Be there if you can.
There will be a meeting on Monday, September 16, 2013 at the Maloof Auditorium to specifically discuss cell tower issues. Attendance is important at this meeting. Wear Red and voice your opinions/concerns!
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA 30030 at 6:30pm
Click here for … MEETING NOTICE
Mark your calendar … Monday, September 16th. This is a special meeting that will discuss the new zoning code, and from what we can tell, public comments will be welcomed. Kathie Gannon addresses this in more detail on her website (http://www.kathiegannon.com/constituent-info-news.html). We will forward the time and location once available. In the meantime, it is VERY important that we continue our emails and phone calls to interim Chief Executive Officer, LEE MAY. He needs to know how important of an issue this is to the neighborhood residents of briarcliff heights.
Contact Information: Mr. Lee May – Interim Chief Executive Officer
DeKalb County Government, Manuel J. Maloof Center
1300 Commerce Drive, 6th Floor, Decatur, GA 30030
404-371-2881 Executive Office | 404-371-2521 Neighborhood Empowerment
Apparently today’s BOCs meeting will not discuss the cell tower issues, nor will they be voting on anything. Per Courtney Townsend, Advisor to Elaine Boyer, a special community meeting tentatively set for 9/16 will discuss the topic of cell towers on school property. Commissioner Johnson asked that the Planning & Economic Development committee coordinate. We will post more details as they come.
The Federal Communication Commission is examining its current limits for radio frequency radiation. It is deciding “whether its regulations should be more restrictive, less restrictive, or remain the same.” This is an opportunity for the public to tell them how the radio frequency radiation (RFR) from the cell towers and wireless devices has affected their health and quality of life. A summary of the Notice of Inquiry was published in the Federal register: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/06/04/2013-12713/reassessment-of-exposure-to-radiofrequency-electromagnetic-fields-limits-and-policies#h-29,
beginning at paragraph 47.
The complete Notice of Inquiry is here, beginning at paragraph 205: http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-review-rf-exposure-policies
It is apparent that FCC does not think there is any reason to lower its exposure limits. We need to
let them know that our health is the reason to change the regulations. It has been 17 years since the FCC reviewed its regulations we must act now. We have no idea when or if we will have another opportunity to do this. If your or your child’s health has been impacted in any way by RFR describe to the FCC what occurred and what the symptoms are. Tell them if you had to leave your home because of the wireless technology. Inform them if you had to quit your job because of the RFR. They need to know every impact this is having on our lives. Every comment sent will be on public record. This means the Members of Congress will also be able to see it. The more comments they receive the better our chance will be to have the limits lowered.
The comments are due by September 3, 2013. It is critical that we tell our stories about what
impacts RFR has had on us and continues to have on us. When you tell your story say, “The current RFR exposure limits have impacted my well-being and caused me to experience health problems.” Then describe what it has done to you. Tell them if you feel better when you eliminate the wireless technology. If all of us who have been impacted by this use this opportunity to comment we can make a difference.
SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS HERE: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs
(Click on “Submit a Filing” if the filing page does not immediately open). Type in “13-84″ in the box for “Proceeding Number.” Write “Comments on Notice of Inquiry, ET Docket No. 13-84″ at the top of your attached comments. You can attach Word, PDF, or Excel files.
It is very important for the residents near any of the proposed school cell tower sites to voice their concerns to Commissioner Lee May as he is now the acting CEO of our county. The county commissioners have all stated they would uphold the codes at the time, but those codes are now in a review process. Don’t let the cell tower companies slip changes past you that could lead to a tower being built without community input. They will be voting on tower issues at the end of this August. It’s important to be at the August 20th meeting.
Below is a list of people (BOC) that you need to email and call to get your voice heard. RIGHT NOW is the time to do this. We don’t want to end up with new ordinances that allow cell towers on school grounds.
Dr. Melvin Johnson, Title: Chair
Work Phone: 404.621.3324 | Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. James L. ‘Jim’ McMahan, Title: Vice Chair
Work Phone: 404.621.5854 | Email:email@example.com
Mr. David Campbell, Title: Board Member
Work Phone: 404.599.3528 | Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Karen W. Carter, Title: Board Member
Work Phone: 404.599.5391 | Email:email@example.com
Mr. John W. Coleman, Title: Board Member
Work Phone: 404.599.5389 | Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Michael A. Erwin, Title: Board Member
Work Phone: 404.599.4090 | Email:email@example.com
Mr.T haddeus ‘Thad’ Mayfield, Title: Board Member
Work Phone: 404.599.1930 | Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joyce Morley, Title: Board Member
Work Phone: 404.599.9632 | Email:email@example.com
Mr. Marshall D. Orson, Title: Board Member
Work Phone: 404.621.3205 | Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Title: Interim Superintendent
Work Phone: 678.676.0010 | Email:email@example.com
The next social for the North Druid Hills Residents Association is scheduled for August 25th. This is a good time to meet some of your neighbors and talk with some of the board. They have a lot of pull when it comes to things such as the Cell Tower issue. While they don’t oppose the towers, they DO oppose the Towers non-compliance with applicable zoning regulations. Here is the flyer with all the details… N Druid hills HA letter…Come if you can.
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS MEETING THIS TUESDAY, JUNE 25 at Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Dr., Decatur 30030. The meeting will allow public comment — please come if you can! This is the first item on the agenda. If you can’t attend, please email your concerns to Zoning Administrator Marian Eisenber at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may mention:
– Communities need more rights than they do now, not fewer
– Communities and individuals must have appeal rights
– No cell towers in neighborhoods — at all
– Limit decision-making by Planning Director — expand accountability
– We need a red-lined version to compare the new plan with the old
– Before a vote, the plan must be re-written to be clearly understood
To see the new zoning plan, click below…
The YouTube video below shows Michael Thurmond, Interim Superintendent of DeKalb Schools, being asked by the Northlake Community Alliance members about the cell towers. He defers to the county commissioner, Mr. Watson, who has apparently been checking into the legal issues regarding the placement of cell towers on school grounds and the entire project is now on hold. He stated they would be giving communities the proper channels that would normally be followed for a Special Land Use Permit. Hopefully, this means the public will be duly notified by proper posting of signage at each location, given the full amount of time necessary to address the zoning commissioners with their concerns and the decisions can be made with full knowledge and participation of everyone involved.
Members of the Dekalb House and Senate delegations, including those who have introduced legislation to create new cities or annex new areas to existing cities, will hold a Town Hall meeting on May 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Clairmont Hills Baptist Church, 1995 Clairmont Drive, Decatur 30033 at the corner of Clairmont and North Druid Hills Road.
The meeting will provide information on the costs of planning for new cities and the resulting possible tax implications. They will discuss procedures for legislative enactment, give a summary of ongoing cityhood activities, and learn about other governance options. All Dekalb citizens are encouraged to attend and learn about the options available to them for local governance, and how you may participate in the efforts that will be ongoing this summer.
House Rules of the Georgia General Assembly require that a new city may only be created over a two year term, not in one year. Legislation, listed below by primary sponsor, was filed in the 2013 Session that ended March 28, 2013, to give an opportunity procedurally to create possible new Dekalb cities of Druid Hills, LaVista Hills, Lakeside, Stonecrest, City of Dekalb, and Tucker. Also, annexation bills are pending for Chamblee and being discussed for Decatur, and legislative limitations on annexations options have also been filed. We ask neighborhood associations or groups who are reviewing current legislation, or working for or against possible new cities to describe briefly their efforts.
The following are bills that have been introduced and may be reviewed on the General Assembly website by Bill number:
- HB 22-Primary Sponsor Mary Margaret Oliver. HB 22 sets out additional procedures and enhanced financial requirements for creation of new cities.
- HB 619-Primary Sponsor Mary Margaret Oliver. HB 619 passed in 2013 and allows an area in unincorporated DeKalb that adjoins Chamblee to vote to be annexed into Chamblee.
- HB 665-Primary Sponsor Mary Margaret Oliver. HB 665 is a placemholder bill to create new city of Briarcliff/Druid Hills.
- HB 677-Primary Sponsor Billy Mitchell. HB 677 would create a new city of Tucker.
- HB 687-Primary Sponsor Pam Stephenson. HB 687 limits the ability to annex new areas to existing cities by geography.
- SB 270-Primary Sponsor Fran Millar. SB 270 would create city of Lakeside. For more information on Lakeside City Alliance, click here.
- SB 275-Primary Sponsor Jason Carter. SB 275 would create new city of LaVista Hills.
- SB 278-Primary Sponsor Ron Ramsey. SB 278 would create new city of Stonecrest.
New Land Use Plan Amendments will be heard in September. View the calendar for meeting dates regarding all Rezone, Major Modification and Special Land Use cases and applications.
Download the calendar here…Rezone Calendar
The DeKalb County School District has undertaken a fast-paced technology plan to make 123 schools and centers wireless by the winter. With a total price tag of $4.5 million, the project is funded through the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax. Margaret Harris and 13 other schools have been completed with an average of one access point per two classrooms. Read more about this project at…Margaret Harris Gets Wireless Internet
New Cell Tower Zoning Code Proposed for County: The county is reviewing a proposal to update its zoning code. This has been in the works for years, but part of it directly impacts the placement of cell towers. The cell industry has written its own update and this has been accepted for review in the new code. Obviously this does not help our cause. Currently, we have rights to prevent a cell towers at certain locations based on county zoning codes. This code dis-allows the tower proposed by T-mobile and gives us the right to publicly oppose any variances. The new code would greatly hinder our residential provisions! Our Commissioners are the ones that have the power to adopt these code changes. They have supported us but need to hear from you that they need to pay attention to these changes. Please write our Commissioners. Things to say….
- Ask them to throw out these proposed changes from the telecommunications industry.
- Tell them that the new code proposes that “monopoles located on public property shall be permitted” (i.e. school)
- Tell them that industry should not be allowed to dictate the law.
- Tell them that this will take away our right to public hearings for cell tower placement.
- Tell them that this gives cell companies the right to appeal if denied and leaves not provision for citizen appeal.
- Tell them this change would not require the cell company to seek alternate locations.
For more information, the new cell phone tower ordinance is at pp. 41-50 at the following link:
The proposed ordinance is mostly a copy of the Model Wireless Telecommunications Facility Siting Ordinance, which is a product of the Wireless Infrastructure Association, a/k/a the Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA). Click below to view the Model Ordinance at:
Neighbors gathered to talk to Channel 2 news about the recent payments to local schools from T-Mobile.
Link to Channel 2 News Coverage
Contracts have been signed, but no permits have been issued yet for our school.
Below is an e-mail that was sent to DeKalb BOC on March 26.
Today we had a bit of a fire drill for cell tower construction at the schools. Construction crews showed up at our neighboring school, Margaret Harris Comprehensive School. A neighbor there put out the alert and several of us put out calls to the county code compliance number and to Commissioners Rader and Boyer. It was determined that there was no permit and ultimately the work crew left. Hurray for the system! Thank you Jeff Rader and Bob Lundsten for your quick efforts!
This event brings a good opportunity for a reminder of the issue. T-mobile is still in contract with the DeKalb BOE to erect 9 cell towers on 9 school properties. Thanks to your letter sent to the DeKalb BOE last year, I know that you are committed to keeping our school yards safe and protecting the integrity of our neighborhoods by upholding county code. It was written almost exactly one year ago on March, 27! How’s that for timing?! Here is a link to that letter for your reference:
I’d like to thank you all for your continued commitment to keep our school yards safe and our neighborhoods intact. We are working to inform the new DeKalb BOE members of the issue of the towers in hopes that they will cancel or end the contract. If you have the opportunity, we’d appreciate you passing a word to them as well.