Plans for a cell tower operated by Cellular South, or C-Spire, was met with opposition Thursday, during a Mobile Planning Commission meeting.

The commission voted to delay until January a vote on the new tower, which would be built onLadd-Pebbles Stadium property — owned by the city — but not before hearing complaints, during a public hearing.

Resident Jerryln Rushing London said she was concerned about the number of towers already near Williamson High School and asked commissioners to consider the health of children there before approving the application.
According to the plans, the proposed tower would be across the street from the school and within 150 feet of residential property.

Mary Ann Campbell, from Robertsdale, asked commissioners if a study had been done regarding how a tower would affect property values in the area. She said through research she had determined the placement of a tower nearby can reduce property values by as much as 20 percent.

Planning Commission Chairman James Watkins told Campbell that a study hadn’t been done and that it wasn’t a requirement of the application process. He said that folks in opposition to an application being approved would sometimes pay for an appraisal to be done.

At issue, is an agreement between the city and Cellular South over where on the property the tower can be placed, attorney Brooks Milling said. An area of the property near a retention pond on the southeast corner of Virginia and Lott streets, extending to the north side of Dublin Street, was the “only acceptable” piece.
The negotiations with the city’s real estate department and the Ladd-Peebles Stadium Board took place over several years, Milling said.

“The city was trying to satisfy its concerns and the Ladd stadium board concerns,” he said.

Real Estate Officer John Olszewski said the stadium board preferred the proposed site over other areas farther from the residential zone because they wanted to preserve areas where recreational vehicles park for the games. He added that the agreement was reached during the Sam Jones’ administration.

Watkins and others on the commission cited concerns over the proposed tower’s proximity to residents in delaying the vote until Jan. 18.

In other business, the commission approved plans for a new middle school building at UMS-Wright Preparatory School. The plans include taking land that was previously a senior parking lot and building a new, 10,150-square-foot, two-story middle school on the campus at the intersection of Mobile Street and Old Shell Road.