An historic Nashville neighborhood is in an uproar about a proposed communications tower, and the upset residents may have to fight the federal government if they want it stopped.
When Joe and Kara Siejakowski moved to the Bluefields subdivision, they already knew about the nearby train tracks. That accepted it, but this they cannot.
The railroad now wants to build a communications tower just a few feet from their property line.
"You're destroying a neighborhood by doing this," Kara Siejakowski said.
The tower would be at least 120 feet tall, with the base 30 to 50 feet across and surrounded by barbed wire fencing.
The Siejakowskis have all kinds of concerns.
"I don't want to have to find out in 10 years that my kid has come down with some illness or cancer because of the monstrosity they built," Kara Siejakowski said.
Homes in the Bluefields are 85 years old, and many of homes have been renovated. The homeowners' association is concerned that big tower will reduce property values.
Nashville Eastern Railway has to build a new communications tower to meet federal safety guidelines by next year, and Metro Councilman Phil Claiborne says there's not much local government can do to stop it.
"This is the optimal site to accomplish what they need to do," Claiborne said.
Federal law has protected railway expansion since the 1870s. The tower can go up without meeting Metro code that would require more space between the tower and homes.
"This is their property, and they have not only the federal mandate to do this but they have federal law," Claiborne said.
Claiborne says the rail company has offered Metro space on the tower to hang up new tornado sirens, and the railway can make some money off the deal by selling space to cell phone companies.
Residents in the Bluefields plan to keep fighting. The only thing that could prevent the tower from going up as it stands would be if the site does not pass a mandated environmental study.
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