5G cell towers a source of concern for Baton Rouge residents

ATT 5G cell phone tower
ATT 5G cell phone tower(WAFB)
Updated: Jun. 12, 2019 at 11:04 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The 5G towers AT&T has been installing around Baton Rouge are unsightly and have residents who live near them upset they are there in the first place.

"We initially thought, particularly when we saw the round base of it, we thought it was the same as the one literally across the street so we were like why would you put a light pole across the street from a light pole,” said Cheryl Heston.

Heston said the pole popped up overnight and she did not receive any notification that it was going to be installed in the right-of-way in front of her house.

"My understanding is for the city to work in the neighborhood they're supposed to communicate with our civic association and communicate what was going on but none of the associations knew,” she said.

In May, EBR Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome requested AT&T temporarily suspend tower construction until the company could find a better way to communicate with residents on where these towers are being installed.

Darryl Gissel, the CAO for the city-parish said they have been working with the company on where it is placing these towers.

"The city-parish works to make sure that it’s not put in the line of sight for traffic and we’ve also worked with AT&T, they’ve attempted to make sure that if they have to put a pole in, they’re putting it in between two properties,” Gissel said.

Besides the towers being unsightly, Stephen Langley said he has other concerns about the towers.

"My concern is the health effects,” Langly said. “We need to focus on the health issues because they are undeniable. There are thousands of studies on the mechanism of damage on the cellular level,” he said. “These things are being ignored by the FCC."

Gissel said the FCC has strict guidelines on where these poles can be placed and that any health concerns should be taken up with the agency.

Aesthetically, Heston said she just hopes the poles do not bring down her property value.

“When people ask me where I live I say, well, I'm the lucky winner with the pole,” Heston said.

The metro council heard a proposal Wednesday evening on the possibility of holding discussions over these 5G towers.

That measure passed and the conversation will take place on June 26.

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