ExteNet Goes the Distance in Long Island

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A federal district court has ruled that ExteNet Systems can proceed with construction of 10 small wireless facilities in the Village of Plandome, NY, the 5G and neutral host provider reported.

On September 30, 2021, Federal Judge Gary R. Brown of the Eastern District of New York ordered the Village of Plandome to issue all necessary permits and authorizations to allow ExteNet to proceed with its construction of the small cell facilities, which provide coverage for the north shore of Long Island. ExteNet initially approached the Village for the permits in 2017, and worked with the Village to minimize the number of facilities and their aesthetic impact. In November 2019, the Village denied ExteNet’s application, which led to the lawsuit.   

Judge Brown noted that “it was [ExteNet] who engaged in good faith in a particularly arduous and drawn-out application review process for over a year, only to have its application denied on mere pretense.” On the other hand, the Village’s court pleadings “are rich in heated invective but poor in supporting facts or law,” according to Judge Brown, who said the Village attempted to characterize ExteNet as a “Disney villain.” 

ExteNet filed an application for a special-use permit for DAS/small cell nodes in the Village of Plandome in the spring 2019. The small cell wireless infrastructure would be designed to patch holes in Verizon Wireless’ 4G coverage and to provide more capacity to the carrier’s 4G wireless network. The distributed node system would use existing 40-foot light poles with a base station to hold the carriers’ equipment.

There would be four replacement wood utility poles, two existing wood utility poles, two new wood utility poles (amendment proposed), one existing metal lattice tower and one new metal stealth pole. The maximum deployed transmit power specified for these radio units is 20 Watts each at 700 MHz and 1900 MHz and 40 Watts at 2100 MHz.

ExteNet’s counsel, Chris Fisher of the law firm, Cuddy & Feder, said he was pleased the Court recognized ExteNet’s efforts to work with the Village to improve wireless service in the community. “This is a significant ruling for the wireless industry and reiterates the limited scope of local regulatory authority municipalities have over small cell wireless infrastructure in the right-of-way under state and federal law and that community opposition alone is not a basis for denying a wireless application,” Fisher said.

The case is ExteNet Systems Inc. v. Village of Plandome et al., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York Docket no. 2:19-cv-07054.

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