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Wireless company sues Lake Success over cell equipment installation

Lake Success Village Hall on Wednesday in Lake

Lake Success Village Hall on Wednesday in Lake Success. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

ExteNet Systems Inc. has sued Lake Success after the village partially denied the company’s request to install cellphone service equipment — the second lawsuit the company has brought against a village in North Hempstead in the past year.

The Illinois-based wireless company filed a complaint on June 12 at the Eastern District of U.S. District Court in Central Islip, alleging the village’s denial of 10 cell "nodes" unreasonable and their handling of the company's application discriminatory.

Lake Success denied nine nodes on May 13 after a board vote, and ExteNet said the village failed to act on another.

ExteNet sued the village of Munsey Park in June 2018 and dropped the lawsuit two months later. In April, Munsey Park approved the one node that ExteNet requested to install.

ExteNet’s attorneys alleged that Lake Success denied the nodes with no stated reasons and only contrived a written statement of findings two days later.

“It appears the Village board denied any location, regardless of configuration, that was near a single-family residential property,” White Plains-based attorneys Christopher Fisher and Brendan Goodhouse wrote in the complaint.

In addition, the company alleged that the village’s “regulatory scheme discriminates against companies like ExteNet by placing a substantially higher procedural and substantive burden on them.” The company also said in the filing that the village charged excessive fees.

In a response filed July 12, Lake Success attorneys denied the allegations, saying the company’s complaint “rests upon the fiction that the Village failed to conduct a proper review of ExteNet’s ever-shifting application."

The village’s attorneys, Garden City-based Edward Ross and Judah Serfaty,  wrote that the village’s written findings were issued “essentially contemporaneously” with the vote.

 Lake Success Mayor Adam Hoffman on Tuesday declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation.

The most recent lawsuit is part of a larger conflict between a company hired by Verizon to install small cell nodes, which they said will improve wireless coverage and capacity, and village officials who are told by residents that they do not want them in their community.

Since ExteNet filed applications to install a total of 94 nodes in six villages, residents have often packed village hearings to urge officials to deny the company’s application, citing effects on quality of life.

Village officials have struggled with how to respond. Several, including those from Lake Success, have hired outside consultants.

The Village of Kings Point granted ExteNet’s application for 31 nodes in March. The villages of Flower Hill, Plandome and Plandome Manor continue to consider applications from the company.

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