The City is dialing back plans for a slew of massive new 32-foot tall Link5G towers across the Upper East Side, as the Federal Communications Commission begins to dip its toes in the growing controversy. The New York City Office of Technology & Innovation, which originally proposed 18 new UES 5G towers sites, confirms to Upper East Site it has scrapped four locations entirely.
Earlier this year, a coalition of local, state and federal lawmakers joined forces to raise concerns to the Landmark’s Preservation Commission about OTI’s plan for LinkNYC to install three clusters of the 32-foot tall 5G antennas around the UES, with two-thirds of the towers to be located within the Upper East Side Historic District, Expanded Carnegie Hill Historic District or Park Avenue Historic District.
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According to Council Member Keith Powers’ Office, the four locations removed include 1095 Fifth Avenue, which is located across the street from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, as well as 46 East 91st Street, 24 East 63rd Street and 30 East 64th Street.
“OTI has not yet submitted their Link5G proposal to the Landmarks Preservation Commission and a public hearing has not yet been scheduled,” explained Jessie Kay, a community liaison from Council Member Power’s Office, “We’ll be notifying [Community Board 8] and other community stakeholders once a hearing has been scheduled.”
Meanwhile, longtime Congressman Jerry Nadler — who began representing the UES this year after ousting Carolyn Maloney — has also taken the concerns of neighbors directly to the FCC.
“Congressman Nadler wrote a letter to publicly called the FCC to request a review of the impacts of the proposed installation sites according to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act,” said Community Liaison Hannah Weinerman, adding Nadler’s office had received an update from the FCC stating that “a Section 106 review is already underway.”
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However, no timeline was given to the review’s completion.
“The city is still trying to come up with its rules and regulations in terms of how this technology can be installed, particularly in historic districts,” said Minah Whyte, giving an update on the project on behalf of Manahattan Borough President Mark Levine’s Office during Community Board 8’s full board meeting Wednesday night.
“It may be safe to say nothing will be happening at least in 2023,” she added.
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