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Lawsuit against Munsey Park over proposed cell antenna dropped

Munsey Park Village Board members said Wednesday the

Munsey Park Village Board members said Wednesday the cell antenna application was withdrawn. Credit: Newsday/Christine Chung

A planned cell antenna node for the village of Munsey Park will not be installed after a lawsuit between an Illinois-based cell provider and the village was recently withdrawn.

Village officials said at a Wednesday  meeting that ExteNet Systems Inc. sued when the village board did not take action on an application to install a single cell node — an attachment to a utility pole — on Manhasset Woods Road. ExteNet’s representatives then discontinued the lawsuit and withdrew the application with the village, officials said. 

“As of now, they [ExteNet] do not intend to install further nodes in the village of Munsey Park,” said Village Attorney Robert Morici. “They were not satisfied with the way things were moving.”

Village Mayor Frank J. DeMento did not respond to inquiries about when these actions happened. Court documents show that the lawsuit was filed in Central Islip’s Eastern District Federal Court on June 20 and terminated roughly two months later. 

ExteNet’s attorneys alleged that the village had improperly refused to grant the company access to the village’s public rights of way and had failed to take action on the application under timelines mandated by the Federal Communications Commission, court documents read. ExteNet first submitted an application on Jan. 18 and action was required by law on May 23, court documents read.

"It is irrelevant at this point,” Morici said about why the village did not meet the required deadline to address the application.

ExteNet representatives could not be reached for comment.

During the two-month litigation, the village board did not discuss the lawsuit or ExteNet’s application at any village meetings during public comment. Village Clerk-Treasurer Tara Gibbons said that the board discussed ExteNet during executive session.

ExteNet last year also contacted Plandome, Plandome Manor, Flower Hill and North Hempstead about installing more than 60 cell antennas throughout the town, with the goal of increasing coverage and access to “high quality mobile connectivity,” documents read.

Since then, municipalities have been grappling with the request by adopting moratoriums prohibiting the construction of cell antennas and by updating local telecommunications laws.

Flower Hill’s moratorium expired in December 2017 and the board is now in the process of strengthening relevant portions of village code and raising fees, officials said. Plandome hired a consultant to work on its village code and will consider a six-month moratorium extension and replacing its wireless telecommunications laws at a Sept. 11 meeting. Plandome Manor’s moratorium has since expired. North Hempstead Town hired outside legal counsel and is now working on updated legislation to review in the fall, town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said.

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