Saturday, July 9, 2011

July 11: DCSS Board of Education Meeting Agenda includes Cell Tower Proposal Vote

Dear Elected Officials of the DCSS,

Dear Medlock neighbors,

Per the agenda posted at the DCSS website, July 11 may be the day when the cell tower proposal is voted on. See item 31 for specifics.

Several documents are linked to the above page and include additional details about the proposal being considered. For instance, the lease on the property, as stated, would run 30 years. This impacts our neighborhood in the very long run and may constrain future usage of the school lot.

Note that on July 11, the board will first vote to approve the agenda (i.e., there is a possibility they will vote to delay specific items in the agenda). The meeting will also include a period where citizens may ask to address the board. As suggested by Commissioner Gannon, we should make a strong show and attend this meeting, ideally decked out in MANA t-shirts.

The DCSS BOE policy cited below explains how citizens may sign up to address the BOE. If you opt to address the board, note there is a 3-minute limit. Please practice your statement in advance, bring notes, and emphasize the following talking points:

1 - As the property in question is no longer being used as a school, this property does not qualify for the zoning exemption allowed for schools and churches.

2 - The timing of this project is premature, if not poorly thought out. The School Board has not announced its complete plans for the school system - the 2020 plan - which would give us a long-term idea of what will happen on this property, and AT&T's pursuit of T-Mobile could mean that the tower is completely unnecessary given AT&T has adequate coverage in this area.

3 - The potential combined damage to our neighborhood (school closing + an unwanted cell tower) is much larger than the sum of its parts. A cell tower entails environmental hazard--a possible danger to wildlife, especially birds, which have sanctuaries nearby.

4 - The tower itself is a huge eyesore looming over the tops of all the nearby trees, and the centrality of its location means it impacts neighbors many streets away from the site.

5 - Real estate value is damaged by the placement of a piece of industrial equipment in a residential area. The perception of health risk from cell towers, whether substantiated or not, can influence potential buyers and renters and thwart sellers.

DCSS Meeting Location:

Administrative and Instructional Complex
J. David Williamson Board Room
1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd
Stone Mountain, GA  30083

Meeting Time: 6:00 PM

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DCSS Board Policy: Public Participation in Board Meetings
Descriptor Code:KCA
The DeKalb County Board of Education encourages citizens to be involved in public education. To facilitate this involvement, the Board will listen to citizen comments immediately following the call to order and prior to the adoption of the agenda for its regularly scheduled work sessions.
The following guidelines will be observed for receiving and hearing comments from citizens during the public comment portion of the work sessions:
• The Board encourages individuals to contact the Superintendent, his administrative staff and/or local school administrators in an effort to secure a satisfactory solution to any concerns prior to referral to the Board of Education.
• All persons wishing to address the Board during the citizen comment portion of the work sessions will be given a copy of this policy.
• To be eligible those wishing to speak must submit in writing to the board office via letter, fax, or e-mail a request ( to speak which must be received no later than 12:00 noon on the day of the Board Work Session. Such requests shall include information regarding the topic to be addressed and previous steps taken to resolve the concern prior to making the request to speak. In addition, speakers may complete their own Request to Comment card in person between 4:45 and 5:45 p.m. on the day of the work session. Cards must be completely filled out. Speakers will be heard in the order they submit their requests. Each speaker addressing the Board shall have a maximum of three (3) minutes to speak.
• The public comment portion of the meeting will be a maximum of one (1) hour or 20 speakers.
• It shall be out of order for any citizen to verbally and/or physically attack an employee of the school system in a public meeting.
• The Board will not allow abusive language, threats, comments, jeers, applause or shouts from the floor. Disruptive persons will be asked to leave the meeting room.
DeKalb County Schools
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