letter to the editor

A warning if lacking an aesthetic cell tower plan

Regarding the request to postpone the discussion on developing an aesthetic plan, I received two e-mails requesting this action be postponed and neither of those e-mails were from homeowners directly impacted by the existing current proposals for the installation of 5G small cell towers in the rights-of-way in front of their homes.

Upon receipt of those emails, I reached out to the Sweet Briar HOA board members. Of the four neighborhoods targeted by Verizon, Sweet Briar is the only neighborhood that does not have existing utility poles and, if Verizon is inclined to apply for more 5G nodes, locations in Sweet Briar will more than likely be included in that application as fiber has already been laid in a portion of their neighborhood.

I expressed my concern to the Board that lacking an aesthetic plan, we are in the position of having to accept Verizon’s pole design. The aesthetic appearance of the poles is one of the few aspects of 5G implementation that state law allows the local governments to regulate. I indicated to the HOA board members that having started the process of developing an aesthetic plan gives us some leverage to hold off Verizon’s ability to use their own pole design.

The HOA board members supported proceeding with the discussion on the development of the aesthetic plan and to not delay. Considering that they have a direct interest in the outcome, their position was given the most weight.

The powerpoint on the discussion of the development of an aesthetic plan was posted online on Monday (June 22) to give residents and Planning Commissioners time to review it and prepare some questions or provide points for consideration as we begin the process of developing an aesthetic plan. To be clear, an aesthetic plan was NOT presented — a powerpoint on how we may move forward to develop an aesthetic plan was presented.

One final point: there’s a lot of discussion about the co-location of more than one antenna on a pole.

I believe this should be a decision for each neighborhood. My hope is that we develop an aesthetic plan that provides the flexibility for each neighborhood to have input on what they want to see, more poles or co-location.

Currently, state law forbids us from preventing more telecommunication carriers from coming into our neighborhoods. Shouldn’t each of the neighborhoods be able to weigh all of their concerns and make the decision that works for them?

Vice Mayor Louise Povlin

Town of Farragut