Lake Success cell node battle could continue in court

Lake Success cell node battle could continue in court
Mayor Adam Hoffman said the Village of Lake Success is preparing a response to a lawsuit by ExteNet, following a May decision to block the installation of several cell nodes. (Photo by Billy Fitzpatrick)

ExteNet Systems is suing the Village of Lake Success, according to court papers filed last month, suggesting local officials acted beyond their legal authority in blocking the company from installing cellular nodes throughout the area.

The lawsuit, filed on June 12 in U.S. District Court and awaiting a response from Lake Success, calls for an expedited review and judgment that would pre-empt the village’s “regulatory scheme,” overturn the board’s denial of the proposed small cells, and compel the village to issue all necessary permits and consents.

“ExteNet has suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable harm because of the Village prohibiting ExteNet from providing telecommunications services,” Christopher Fisher and Brendan Goodhouse, attorneys for Extenet, argued in court papers.

The lawsuit follows Lake Success trustees rejecting nine of 13 node proposals from ExteNet Systems Inc., a company that designs, builds and manages distributed networks, to boost cell phone coverage and data capacity in May.

Residents flooded public hearings regarding the proposed cell nodes, questioning their need while raising concerns. Among their worries had been aesthetics, placement and impacts on property values.

Fisher and Goodhouse argue in court papers that the village violated the Telecommunications Act’s non-discrimination provisions, “placing a substantially higher procedural and substantive burden on them” – more than $78,000 of fees.

They also argue that over a roughly two-year period, ExteNet extensively modified its applications to respond to concerns, only to see most of the nodes denied with “after the fact findings” based on items “not within the limited authority reserved to the village.”

Among those items, ExteNet argued, are “undefined and not ascertainable aesthetic standards,” “an alleged failure to demonstrate a lack of alternatives” when many were offered, and “claimed negative effects” from installing small utility equipment on poles.

Lake Success Mayor Adam Hoffman said that the village is working on a response, but otherwise could not comment on pending litigation.

Six nodes were unanimously rejected: No. 1 at the right of way adjacent to 1 Pine Hill Road, No. 5 at the right of way adjacent to 21 Briarfield Drive, No. 8 at the right of way adjacent to 75 Horace Harding Blvd., No. 11 at the right of way adjacent to 37 Meadow Woods Road, No. 12 near 2 Bridle Path, and No. 13 at the corner of Lakeville Road and Windsor Gate.

Trustees also voted down No. 9 at the right of way at the intersection of Horace Harding Boulevard and Fairway Drive, No. 2 at the right of way adjacent to 354 Lakeville Road, and No. 10 at the right of way adjacent to 255 Lakeville Road.

Nodes No. 3, at the right of way adjacent to 334 Lakeville Road, No. 4 adjacent to 318 Lakeville Road, No. 6 near the northeast quadrant at Horace Harding Boulevard and Lakeville Road, and No. 7a in the Lake Success Golf Club were approved.

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