Installation of Link5G towers to be halted until completion of Section 106 Review

Link 5G tower on Lower East Side. Photo: Anna Marcum.

Photo: Tom Moore

Following concerns raised by Congressman Jerrold Nadler in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, and after months of push-back from FRIENDS, our preservation colleagues, elected officials, and concerned community members on the Upper East Side and across the city, we have just learned that the city's proposed 32-foot tall Link5G towers will be subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, a process that evaluates adverse effects on historic properties from any projects that are funded, licensed, or approved by Federal agencies. We understand that the installation of the towers must stop until the review has been completed.

Click here to read the letter from the FCC to CityBridge LLC, the Link5G tower vendors, stating that they "must complete the Commission procedures implementing the historic preservation review process pursuant to Section 106 of NHPA" and "comply with these rules before constructing additional Link5G tower[s]". We thank Congressman Nadler for his engagement on this issue and for highlighting the special character of historic districts and landmarks. For further background, see this letter from FRIENDS sent to public officials and a joint letter to the City on behalf of 8 preservation colleague groups.

Although we support the City's stated goals to expand wireless and cellular services, especially to underserved communities, many of the sites proposed for the Link5G towers do not serve that objective--why, for example, was the Upper East Side one of the first neighborhoods selected for the initial roll-out of the new towers? The process, as it stands, appears to privilege the private franchise holder over the needs of the neighborhoods and local communities, and the City has been slow to provide clarity in its outreach to the public. Click here for more on this issue.

Stay tuned for latest updates about the Section 106 Review.