Cell phone tower will be built in Lyerly, Ga.


Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/RYAN MCGEENEY --02-11-2012-- Gavin Engholm, 10, of Bentonville, catches a lacrosse ball during a skills clinic run by members of the University of Arkansas lacrosse team. About a half-dozen children attended the clinic, which was held in the Walmart Community Room

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The City Council in Lyerly, Ga., thought it had a deal with a private cell tower builder to move a proposed tower from inside the city to a piece of city-owned property elsewhere in Chattooga County.

But that deal fell through, and now Highwood Towers of Dunwoody, Ga., is following through on its plan to build the more-than-300-foot tower on private property on Lyerly Dam Road.

Construction of the tower will begin "as soon as the permitting process is complete," said Matt Allen, a site manager for Highwood Towers.

Nearby residents resisted the project, and the City Council offered to provide Highwood Towers an alternate site near its reservoir on a ridge outside town for a monthly fee.

However, AT&T vetoed that site, saying it would be subject to reception problems, according to Allen.

That news disappointed Becky Hoagland, who along with her husband, Harold, had opposed the project. They live on McCloud Street next to the Lyerly Dam Road property.

"I don't see why they can't build it out of the city," she said.

Hoagland was happy the company had agreed to move the tower farther back on the property.

"It won't be right in our backyard now, but it's still going to stand over us like the Tower of Babylon," she said.

When Highwood Towers made the deal with the landowner to lease his property, the town had no ordinances pertaining to towers. Since then, the council voted unanimously to adopt the same ordinance as Chattooga County. That includes a 2,000-foot setback from any surrounding properties.

"But that doesn't do us any good," Hoagland said. "They had already given them the OK to build this one."

Lyerly Mayor Josh Wyatt said officials "thought we had a deal with them to move the tower out near the reservoir."

But he said that after taking office in May he found out the company was committed only to a $100-a-year lease option to build on the town-owned site.

The town will receive a $1,500 application fee from Highwood Towers.

Jimmy Espy is based in Dalton. Contact him at [email protected]