Planning Commission recommends cell tower, pharmacy

ALBANY -- A major cellular phone provider is one step closer to boosting service throughout the area following a vote by the Albany-Dougherty Planning Commission.

AT&T is asking to put a 150-foot tall tower behind the Quickie Restaurant on North Slappey Boulevard. The tower would boost in-building signal service in north-central Albany and parts of Palmyra Road, AT&T Engineer William Henry said at the meeting Thursday.

And, while AT&T will be the principle operator of the structure, the company plans to lease it to other carriers as well, so its likely that other cellular customers will benefit.

But before they can build the tower, developers had to get special permission from the Planning Commission.

During discussion of the proposal, Commissioner Billy Merritt expressed concern about the safety of nearby buildings, customers and residents should the tower collapse.

Staff member Mary Teter said the company had conducted studies to ensure that the tower's position at the rear of the restaurant and its design would ensure that if it collapsed, it would fall in on itself and not be a threat to nearby structures.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the application.

In other business, the owner of U-Save-it Pharmacy petitioned the commission for approval to rezone property on Palmyra Road to allow for a pharmacy with a drive-through window.

Currently located across the street from the proposed development, pharmacy officials said the move was necessary to slightly expand the store and incorporate the drive-through.

That zoning change passed unanimously with a recommendation for approval.

The Commission also approved a recommendation that would allow a local autism group to host a small in-house private school for children with special needs.

The proposed location would be at 1509 Third Avenue, Teter said. Owner James Cline is applying for a change in the zoning map to allow the Sowega Autism Resources group to open a small, maximum 15-person, private school at the location.

The facility is currently located at the Church of Christ on Dawson Road and would be an expansion for the center, he said.