Flower Hill residents don’t reach consensus on cell infrastructure design

Flower Hill residents don’t reach consensus on cell infrastructure design
Richard Lambert of Extenet showing residents an existing cell node in another municipality. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

Flower Hill residents were unable to reach a consensus Tuesday about how they would like the 18 proposed cell nodes in their village to look. 

The applicant ExteNet, a cellular infrastructure provider, hosted a design forum at Vincent Smith School along with CityPole, an engineering firm based in Colorado that has designed decorative poles to host cell nodes across the country. 

ExteNet is applying to construct infrastructure to be used to optimize Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

Residents of the village were presented two options for the cell node infrastructure: either construct new decorative poles that are designed to the village’s specification or use the existing utility lines in the village’s right of ways. 

Flower Hill Trustee Gary Lewandowski raised concerns about ExteNet constructing new decorative poles that include infrastructure such as street lights that are inconsistent. 

“There is no precedent for street lights,” he said. “It feels like aliens fell upon random spots in the community.” 

Two locations were also presented for most of the proposed applications. If using existing utility poles, some would be moved from private property to the village right of way. 

If residents opt for the alternative location for one pole, it will most likely have a cascading effect on a number of other proposed pole locations. 

Chris Fischer of ExteNet’s counsel, Cuddy Feder, said that the original application mostly used existing utility poles and if it was the consensus to return to that, ExteNet could do that. 

CityPole designs a pole that can host three cell devices. The equipment for the cell devices is typically concealed at the bottom on the inside of the pole and antennas are situated at the top of the pole. 

Fischer suggested that the village construct such a pole to be prepared when other wireless carriers move to install their cell devices in the village. 

He said if you design the pole appropriately for future use, the village won’t confront carriers requesting to modify the pole all the time and said that village officials can look into requiring the use of existing infrastructure for future applicants. 

Trustee Frank Genese said his concern when voting on the poles is that the application can’t be changed after a decision is made. 

“Our decision is going to be partly based on location, material, what it’s going to look like, how tall it is,” he said. “So what you are kind of implying is that we are going to accept and then you are going to work on what the aesthetics are.” 

Fischer said that the application is pending so the board can impose conditions on the poles or ExteNet could amend the application to take into consideration the consensus reached at the meeting. 

After over three hours of discussion, no decision was reached on whether ExteNet should construct new poles or use existing infrastructure.

A continued public hearing on the 18 cell node applications will take place at the Flower Hill Village Hall on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

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