Judge reverses approval for proposed Juliette cell tower

awomack@macon.comMarch 27, 2014 

A Monroe County judge has overturned county commissioners’ approval of a proposed cellphone tower in Juliette.

In a Wednesday ruling, Superior Court Judge William A. Fears said the conditional use permit application from Grovetown-based Barinowski Investment Co. was incomplete and doesn’t comply with zoning ordinance provisions.

By granting the application, Fears wrote, county commissioners denied Foster Drive residents Robert and Gena Jones and Alton and Betty Whitman due process and abused the board’s discretion.

The Joneses and Whitmans filed suit against the county commissioners last year, contending that they abused their power in approving the application to build a 250-foot tower on Ponder-Trammell Road in northeast Monroe County.

Attorney Matthew Myers, who represents the Joneses and the Whitmans, asked the judge at a March 6 hearing to either deny the zoning request or send the matter back to commissioners for reconsideration.

Chase Ruffin, a lawyer representing the investment company, contended that although the application didn’t include a co-location study, it did have a report showing coverage gaps and how they would be filled.

Ruffin said nearby towers aren’t sufficient.

The report should be sufficient to meet zoning requirements, he said.

The Monroe County Planning and Zoning Board unanimously denied the tower application July 29, 2013, for further review by commissioners.

Commissioners voted Sept. 10 to approve the application after the investment company made verbal concessions to reduce the tower’s footprint.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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