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County discusses new communications tower
Forsyth County

A piece of property belonging to the Forsyth County government and obtained in the past through an agreement with a regional mall may soon be the site of a new communications tower.

The tower was discussed at a recent Forsyth County Commission work session, where commissioners voted 5-0 to begin the process for a conditional-use permit to place the tower on county property along Ronald Reagan Boulevard.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the property came to the county through an agreement with developers of the Taubman development, a planned regional mall project which sits on 164 acres between Union Hill Road and McFarland Parkway.

“There has now been a request from a third party to plant a communications tower on that piece of property,” Jarrard said.

Jarrard said the proposed tower will have both public and private uses. 

“I think it is anticipated we would have an antenna on this tower that would fill a need of the county,” he said. “There will also be private antennas on this tower.”

Jarrard said the original agreement with Taubman required the property only be used for government purposes but he had spoken with the company, which sent several conditions, mostly for the owner of the antenna. 

Though the county is the property owner, Jarrard said the land will follow a regular zoning process.

“It is the expectation that this would follow the normal zoning process,” he said. “This wouldn’t be a county-initiated anything. They would come in and file their paperwork … we will get public participation and there would be public input, and this would come to you for a decision.”

The proposed tower might not be easily seen by drivers, according to Jarrard.

“They’re open to it looking like a tree, looking like a clock tower, looking like a farm silo, like anything that makes aesthetic sense,” Jarrard said. “Obviously, all of those would be very large.”

The district’s commissioner voiced support for the tower, which he said could help with the commercial portion of the mall project.

“I think with the development down there, if and we actually get to use some of that, we’re going to need the capacity for the cell,” said District 5 Commissioner Dennis Brown. “So, I think it is a good investment for the county to go ahead and do it.”