>> READERS’ VIEWS: Clarifying the issue of the Bloomfield cell tower

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Clarifying the issue of the Bloomfield cell tower

The Kentucky Standard’s March 13 article on the Bloomfield cell tower contains many inaccuracies and a basic misunderstanding of the issues at hand. First and foremost, no one is opposed to the idea of a cell tower to provide much needed cell service to Bloomfield. The issue is the location and design of the tower.

To comply with federal legal standards, AT&T is required by Section 106 under the National Historic Preservation Act to determine if a proposed cell tower would have an adverse effect on historic properties, and if so, to identify all alternate sites and give the public the opportunity to comment on those locations. The purpose is to provide the best site for cell service at a location that has the least adverse impact on National Register properties, and provide a win-win for all parties involved.

It is important to understand that AT&T voluntarily withdrew their application for the Bloomfield cell tower as a result of the Section 106 process. In consultation with their independent consultant, AT&T withdrew their application in part because the proposed project was determined to have an adverse effect on the Bloomfield National Register Historic District and other on National Register properties.

Pursuant to federal law, it is now incumbent upon AT&T to look for alternative sites or to look at ways to reduce, minimize or mitigate the adverse effect of the proposed site — which they have voluntarily agreed to do.  In no way can the Section 106 process stop AT&T from building their cell tower.  It does, however, require them to investigate all alternatives in order to provide quality cell service to the region.

Preservation Kentucky participates in the Section 106 process as a consulting party for projects that could adversely impact historic properties throughout the Commonwealth.  As a consulting party on cell tower projects, our role is to protect the community’s irreplaceable history by working with the cell tower company and local residents to identify locations that have the least impact on their historic buildings.

We believe that needed cell service can be provided to Bloomfield residents in a manner that respects our historic sites, and we stand ready to assist AT&T in identifying the most appropriate site and/or necessary mitigation measures. 

Citizens can learn more about the Section 106 process at:

• achp.gov/regsflow.html

• achp.gov/docs/CitizenGuide.pdf

• fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/competition-infrastructure-policy-division/tower-and-antenna-siting

Betsy Hatfield