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Judge orders mediation over cell service dispute

Lake Success Village has denied a company's request

Lake Success Village has denied a company's request to install cellphone nodes. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A federal judge ordered a wireless company and the Village of Lake Success to go to mediation to find a way to resolve their dispute over whether Lake Success unlawfully denied the company’s request to install cellphone service equipment in the village.

James Orenstein, a magistrate judge for the Eastern District of New York, wrote in an Aug. 6 court order that the two parties need to select a mediator by Aug. 27 and have the mediation completed by Sept. 27.

ExteNet Systems Inc. sued Lake Success in June, alleging the village’s May denial of 10 cell "nodes" unreasonable and their handling of the company's application discriminatory. The village denied 10 out of 13 nodes the company requested.

“The Village remains confident that its decision to approve some, but not all, of ExteNet’s proposed nodes will ultimately be upheld by the Court,” the village’s attorney Edward Ross wrote in an Aug. 8 email.

Ross did agree for the village to “engage in a confidential settlement process that may include a third-party mediator to explore possible alternative locations that would minimize possible adverse impacts on the Village’s aesthetics and property values while protecting the taxpayers’ quality of life.”

ExteNet is an Illinois-based company contracted by Verizon to build cellphone infrastructure in multiple villages in North Hempstead Town. Company representatives have declined to comment on the matter.

Lake Success was the second North Hempstead village sued by ExteNet in the past 14 months. The company sued Munsey Park Village in June 2018 and dropped the lawsuit two months later.

ExteNet has filed applications to install a total of 94 nodes in the villages of Munsey Park, Kings Point, Lake Success, Flower Hill, Plandome and Plandome Manor. Earlier this year, Kings Point and Munsey Park granted ExteNet’s application for a total of 32 nodes.