Lake Success, ExteNet head to mediation in cell node case

Lake Success, ExteNet head to mediation in cell node case
Village of Lake Success trustees met on Tuesday night to discuss various items, including a cybersecurity proposal, payments for equipment, and the state of the village’s sewer system. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

A federal judge ordered ExteNet Systems and the Village of Lake Success to enter mediation last week in hopes of resolving whether the local government acted unlawfully in denying the wireless company’s proposal to install cell nodes across the village.

Magistrate Judge James Orenstein issued the order Aug. 6. The parties must select a mediator by Aug. 27 and complete mediation, a process where a third party assists in reaching a settlement, by Sept. 27.

Edward Ross, the village’s attorney on the ExteNet case, was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday morning, but told Newsday that the village is “confident that its decision to approve some, but not all, of ExteNet’s proposed nodes will ultimately be upheld by the Court.”

Brendan Goodhouse and Christopher Fisher, attorneys representing ExteNet, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday morning.

In May, Lake Success trustees had rejected nine cell nodes pitched by ExteNet Systems Inc., a company that designs, builds and manages distributed networks to boost data capacity and cell phone coverage. ExteNet then sued on June 12.

ExteNet argued that the village exceeded its authority and violated provisions in the Telecommunications Act by placing a “substantially higher procedural and substantive burden” on the company in court papers.

The company also contended it extensively modified its applications to be responsive to concerns from residents, only to be denied with “after the fact findings.”

Attorneys for the village countered in court papers that Lake Success officials conducted a fair, comprehensive review of its application, made its finding available, and said it was “fiction that the Village failed to conduct a proper review.”

In its denial, the village said it rejected the nodes because ExteNet fell short in providing enough detail on alternatives and not meeting village goals in minimizing adverse aesthetic and visual impacts.

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