Brookhaven may get a new cell tower, the first to be built in the city since its incorporation, according to city officials.
“This is the first macro cell tower that we’ve had an application for in Brookhaven’s history,” said City Attorney Chris Balch at a Oct. 6 Brookhaven Planning Commission meeting. “Staff has been diligent with the review of the plans and have had outside counsel involved as well.”
During the Oct. 6 meeting, the Planning Commission reviewed and recommended approval for a Special Land Use Permit application which would allow the applicant, Dominion Tower Group, to build a cell tower at 3809 Buford Highway.
Ellen Smith spoke on behalf of the applicant and said the cell tower will support Dish Wireless, but there will be opportunities for the tower to host other networks in the future. Dish is a satellite television company, which acquired Boost Mobile from the telecommunications company Sprint in 2020.
“The tower will be structurally built to support additional co-locations, or other antennas, for other carriers who may want to join,” Smith said. “There are sort of like ‘Field of Dreams’ in some situations – when you build it, they come.”
The tower would be located about 180 feet away from the nearest apartments and 75 feet away from a nearby Kroger, which would be the closest building. Smith said the location was chosen partly because it would require no variances to zoning, and also because the area surrounding the proposed tower is in need of better coverage for customers who use Boost Mobile.
Another representative of Dominion Tower Group, Sarran Marshall, said the extent of cell coverage from the tower would depend on the specific carrier’s technology, but the tower would be designed to accommodate the “latest and greatest 5G technology.”
The construction will require the removal of three trees, according to Smith. The trees are not specimen trees, and Smith said replanting is required.
The commission showed some concern about the aesthetics of the tower, but ultimately decided to recommend approval if coverage in the area was needed.
“These things aren’t that aesthetically pleasing … but you balance that against the benefit that you bring to the neighborhood,” Commissioner Kevin Quirk said.
The cell tower application is expected to go before the Brookhaven City Council at its Oct. 26 meeting. Residents can view the Planning Commission meeting from Oct. 6 on the city’s Facebook page.