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Canton Leaders Closely Monitor Cell Tower Bill

A bill gathering steam in the Georgia General Assembly that would shorten the time local governments can consider cell tower applications is being monitored by local leaders.

While the city of Canton has no formal plans to announce opposition to a bill that would shorten the time local cities and counties can review cell tower applications, its leaders are keeping a close eye on House Bill 176.

The legislation would give local governments a 150-day window to consider approving or rejecting a cell tower application.

If the application hasn't been decided on within the 150 days, the tower would automatically be approved. 

The bill, formally titled the Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BILD) Act, last week was approved by the Georgia House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, chaired by the bill's chief sponsor East Cobb Republican State Representative Don Parsons.

Parsons recently told East Cobb Patch that the 150-day time frame is a lot more time than other Southern states currently allow and the towers would accommodate not only cell phones, but also devices that require bandwidth such as tablets.

Tell us: should the legislature approve H.B. 176?

Canton City Manager Scott Wood said he's aware of the legislation, which hasn't been brought to his attention when it comes to any concerns or questions.

"I don't have any personal consternation about it because I think we should be able to review an application within the allotted time frame anyway," he added. "We may want to see some type of provision to allow extension of the time frame in the event of extenuating circumstances, but as a matter of routine course we should be able to review an application within the established time allowance."

Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood said he believes the Georgia Municipal Association is "working on the city's behalf" in its opposition to the bill. 

"Each council member is free to discuss this with members of our delegation or others," he added. "I personally oppose any legislation (that) limits opportunity for public input."

County Manager Jerry Cooper said the county is "monitoring" the bill closely. He noted he's reviewed the bill and added the Association County Commissioners of Georgia "will be recommending an amendment to address concerns with the bill."  

ACCG is also on record opposing the bill. 

Other cities in the region are publicly opposing the legislation. The Milton City Council last week approved a resolution opposing the bill and the city of Alpharetta is expected to approve a similar resolution. 

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