Lake Success continues debate over cell nodes

Lake Success continues debate over cell nodes
Lake Success officials listened to both ExteNet's modified proposals and concerns from residents at a public hearing last Wednesday. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Lake Success residents debated the merits of a proposal by ExteNet to install cell nodes throughout the village at a public hearing last Wednesday night, even as the company proposed modifications to the plan.

ExteNet’s proposal calls for the installation of 13 cell nodes on poles throughout the village to boost data capacity, broadband speeds and coverage, which it argues is lacking in the area. Representatives have also said that the devices would emit RF radiation far less than the FCC requires and be less intrusive than a tower.

ExteNet’s new proposal would move five nodes and add an alternative to the golf course location, according to the agency’s Wednesday night presentation, and aimed to both comply with PSEG restrictions and increase distance from residences.

Andrew Campanelli, a lawyer for 10 Lake Success residents opposed to nodes 1, 11 and 12, argued against the application, suggesting that the Lake Success village code has the power to regulate the nodes.

He said there is no credible evidence for a coverage gap, the nodes would have adverse aesthetic impact, the visual impact study was lacking, and a demonstrated likelihood of decreased home values were grounds for denying ExteNet’s application.

“They have to show there’s a specific gap in coverage and that this is the least intrusive means or at least less offensive than other areas, and they haven’t done that,” Campanelli said. “You’re not constrained to grant this application under that provision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.”

A handful of residents also spoke out against the application as a whole, including Tyler Berenson, a Briarfield Drive resident living near the proposed location for the fifth node.

Berenson said putting a node 20 feet away from her daughter’s bedroom would cause a myriad of issues, including in aesthetics and a drop of home values.

“You are in a completely residential area,” Berenson said. “This is not a proposed new pole on the center of Lakeville [Road], it’s not on a public golf course – you’re smack dab in the middle of all these houses.”

Christopher Fisher, an attorney representing ExteNet, said much of Campanelli’s cited cases are outdated, “dry tests” are done to determine coverage gaps, and the Federal Communications Commission is deferential when it come to the installation of cell nodes.

“What the FCC said in its order was that wireless carriers are going to need to install small cells … and we’re going to make sure that they’re treated just like these other utilities and that there’s a parity when it comes to the process,” Fisher said.

Other issues would be addressed later upon receipt of a transcript, Fisher added.

The fifth proposed node, which would have been on a metal pole at the northwest corner of Old Field Lane and Birch Hill Road, was amended to be on a new wood pole at the right of way adjacent to 21 Briarfield Drive.

The sixth node’s original location off Horace Harding Boulevard was rejected by PSEG, according to ExteNet, so it moved it to be at the northeast quadrant at Horace Harding Boulevard and Lakeview Road, which would also make it farther from local residents.

Node No. 8, previously proposed as part of an ornamental pole at the intersection of Fox Hunt Lane and Meadow Woods Road, was modified to be on a replacement wood pole in an area with above ground utility structures.

Node 11 was originally slated to be at a community space in Windsor Gate. Now, according to the new proposal, it would be on a new wood pole at the right of way adjacent to 37 Meadow Woods Rd.

Node 12 was moved from the intersection of Bridle Path Lane and Fox Hunt Lane to the right of way adjacent to 2 Bridle Path Lane. If approved, it would be on a new ornamental metal pole.

The proposal also adds an alternative site for the seventh node, suggesting it could be moved near 349 Lakeville Rd.

Trustees said the record will be kept open until May 1 and that a decision must be reached by May 20. The next public hearing date is Monday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m.

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