County moves forward with 911 tower in The Orchard

An excavator, used to clear trees, can be seen on the site where the county's public safety tower will be located in the Orchard subdivision. (Jerry Neace/

Habersham County is moving forward with the construction of a controversial public safety tower in The Orchard subdivision. Richard Rumble, a member of The Orchard Property Owners Association, expressed his frustration over the construction of the tower to commissioners at Monday night’s meeting

“I’m here to voice my continued frustration about the EMS radio tower being constructed within The Orchard,” Rumble stated.

Injunction denied

Mountain Judicial Circuit Judge William Oliver did not grant an interlocutory injunction to prevent the tower from being built on property in the gated community. However, according to Rumble, the judge stated during the hearings, “Who thought it was a good idea to build a tower in the most pristine development in the county?” The lawsuit hearings were held last November at the Habersham County Courthouse. Rumble added, “That’s what he questioned at the courthouse. I think it’s a fair question.”

Rumble explained to the commission that the judge did state that The Orchard’s covenants expressly applied to those lots the county owns. He added that the only carve out for public use was for the construction of the water tank for Habersham County.


Construction begins

Rumble said construction of the tower began last week, and no one from the county has contacted The Orchard’s Architectural Review Board or the Property Owners Association — another requirement stipulated in the covenants.

While addressing the county commission on Feb. 19, Rumble revisited the health risks he brought up at a prior meeting last May. He said the vacant lots that are in the fall zone of the tower will not be allowed to be developed, per county ordinance. Rumble stated those property owners have not been compensated for their loss.

Orchard resident Richard Rumble expressed his frustration over the tower to commissioners Monday night. (Habersham County livestream)

Rumble told the commission that the cell tower in Baldwin was shot down because it was a corporate entity.

“I have no doubt that if a corporation was trying to build a tower on this lot, this board would be against it. However, it’s perfectly fine in your eyes to emit the exact same frequency that a corporation would,” he said.

He continued, “At the very least, you could respect the covenants that expressly apply to that lot. The only reason that the judge did not grant the injunction is that the public need is so great, and the public need is so great because of poor governance.”

Habersham County Commission Chairman Ty Akins thanked Rumble for his comments.

According to documents received from Habersham County, Habersham County Public Works Director Jerry Baggett applied for the construction permit for the new public safety tower on December 6. The permit was issued on January 29, paving the way for construction of the tower to begin.

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