On Thursday, January 12, 2023, HDC sent a joint letter to City Hall in conjunction with 8 preservation colleague organizations, pressing the City for information about its Link5G Tower roll out, and questioning both the tower design, and locations chosen, for the program’s initial phase.
We support the City’s stated project goal of bridging the digital divide and providing wireless and cellular services to underserved communities. However, we are concerned that the currently proposed locations do not serve that objective. The public presentations to the Public Design Commission (PDC) were clear in their aim to target underserved communities beyond Manhattan’s core and in the outer boroughs. However, neighborhoods such as the Upper East Side and SoHo have been selected for the initial roll-out of the new towers.
We believe that every neighborhood in New York deserves well designed resources that will help all New Yorkers flourish. That’s why, in our letter, we called on the City to increase public knowledge and community engagement around this installation process by providing:
(1) clarification of the process for identifying and approving locations for Link5G towers, including reviews by City agencies and how the borough presidents are informing residents of the installations and the community feedback process;
(2) a detailed list of the siting limitations and requirements, with representative illustrations;
(3) A list of Link5G installations to date, with equity districts noted; and
(4) maps showing all installations to date at the borough, neighborhood and street scale.
We also called on the Landmarks Preservation Commission to hold Public Hearings on those towers sited within historic districts, or adjacent to historic landmarks, and charged the City to return to PDC with global design comparisons, and to explain how sites chosen for the towers will equitably close gaps in carrier coverage, rather than benefit the carrier itself.