BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Citing concerns expressed by the public, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome has requested that AT&T temporarily suspend its cell tower construction.
According to a press release from Mayor Broome, AT&T is in the process of "developing a communications process to make property owners aware of investment plans" that may involve public land adjacent to their properties.
Broom says AT&T has worked with property owners who have expressed concerns.
AT&T has no plans for additional residential locations and will resume tower construction efforts once they have an opportunity to answer additional questions from the community.
Business owners have expressed concern about the new 5G cell phone towers AT&T in downtown Baton Rouge. They believe the towers won’t be aesthetically pleasing. AT&T plans to install 25 towers around downtown, and another 55 across the parish. Other networks are expected to follow.
In a recent article from The Advocate, the towers are showing up in residential neighborhoods. Homeowners are calling them “hideous” and say the towers will devalue their property.
The Federation of Civic Associations is holding a special meeting Thursday evening to discuss small cell towers and options available to address the issues of aesthetics, property values, health, and safety.
Councilman Matt Watson, who represents Baton Rouge’s 11th District, is praising Broome’s actions.
“It’s nice to see that the mayor has reversed her position after she originally cosponsored the resolution in 2017, which has allowed AT&T to run roughshod over Baton Rouge residents,” said Watson Thursday, May 30. “Anybody who has been following me knows that I have been discussing this issue with my constituents for weeks, including on the radio and on social media, and voicing my opposition to this since 2017.”
Watson goes on to say it may still be too late for residents already affected by the towers.
“This is a small win for people across the parish,” Watson continued. “However, it may be little consolation for the many residents who are already seeing 5G towers constructed in their front yards. I will remain vigilant and continue to amplify the concerns of my constituents.”