FCC Backs NEPA: Proposed Tower “Too Near” National Park Site

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The FCC sided with the National Park Service in its request for a visual assessment of a proposed 195-foot cell tower near Acadia National Park. Located 200 feet from an existing tower on the same road, the proposed $300,000 project is already under a lease agreement between the property owner Kenneth Hutchins and Vertical Bridge Holdings dba BRT Group LLC, reported the Mount Desert Islander.

Acadia National Park is designated as part of the historic trail system in a historic district. The National Register of Historic Places requires a half-mile distance between a telecommunications infrastructure and designated ‘historic place,’ according to the FCC’s agreement with the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation.

“We believe that the [radius] for this project should be extended to four miles to consider the indirect effects of any listed and eligible properties within the park,” Acadia’s Management Assistant John Kelly argued. FCC attorney advisor, Jennifer Flynn, reported the BRT Group had not agreed to increase the proposed tower’s distance from the park, according to the Mount Desert Islander. In addition, the park requested that BRT Group “complete a visual impact assessment of the proposed tower using the full build-out scenario and any design techniques intended to mitigate visual impacts,” according to Flynn.

If the historic preservation office and the applicant can’t come to an agreement, the FCC is allowed to propose an alternative area for the project, reported the Islander.

“In this case, we agree with NPS and the State Historic Preservation Office that the proposed tower, due to its height and elevation, may affect historic properties beyond the default 0.5-mile APE, and we are persuaded, at this time, that a 4-mile APE is justified,” Flynn added.

August 6, 2018

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