Residents hire an attorney to protest 13 pillars slated for their picturesque neighborhood
Village of Lake Success trustees considered an application submitted by cellular company ExteNet to install 13 new cell nodes throughout the areas of Lake Success and Great Neck at a public hearing on Wednesday, April 17.
At this meeting, the village opted to reserve the decision of finalizing whether or not new and improved cell nodes are needed—and this final decision is to be made by May 20.
Cell nodes, “pillars” that help improve cellular service throughout a specific area, have been the subject of public controversy in many areas. According to ExteNet, these nodes will enable better cellular service in areas that currently may not have the best access. Some people in Lake Success and Great Neck have experienced a lack of cellular service in their homes, so this topic is one that is very important to the residents in the community.
During the meeting, Michael Lambert of ExteNet went into detail regarding the community benefits of the additional cell nodes, including “capacity and coverage, faster broadband speeds, less obtrusive than towers, public safety and the carrier neutral approach.”
Cell nodes have taken Long Island by storm. Kings Point recently approved the installation of 31 cell nodes, and Munsey Park just approved the construction of another one.
Talks about installing cell nodes in Lake Success began in 2018, when ExteNet proposed applications to install them. These talks consisted of upgraded technology—especially regarding the upcoming 5G network. Last year, ExteNet promoted these cell nodes in preparation for 5G, but recently insisted that these cell nodes would not be compatible with the 5G network and redirected discussions to 4G.
Many people in the Lake Success and Great Neck area are very concerned about the installation of these cell nodes.
One of the main reasons for concern is potential health risks, which also make people worried when it comes to cell nodes. The FCC said these nodes will be safe, but many still have concerns about the safety “in the long-term,” said Bennett Last of GTLS law firm. These health concerns have been known worldwide, and some countries, such as Switzerland and Belgium, have even banned the construction and usage of 5G cell nodes. It is speculated that cell nodes adversely affect pregnant women, babies, life expectancy and lead to an increase in cancer rates, which is why many residents in the community are publicly against the ExteNet proposal.
Christopher Fisher, ExteNet’s outside counsel, assured that ExteNet is in compliance with the FCC requirements with respect to emissions associated with this wireless technology’s radio frequencies.
An additional concern is the aesthetics. Many of these cell nodes would be placed in close proximity to people’s houses, often crossing property lines. Several Lake Success residents find this to be “aesthetically displeasing,” and 10 families have hired the law firm Campanelli & Associates, PC, to help them fight against having the cell nodes installed in their neighborhood.
Spyro Dimitratos, a resident of Lake Success, is directly affected by this, as one of the 13 cell nodes is planned for installation on his property. He views these nodes as “vertical junkyards” and is not in favor of their construction.
There are also questions about the potential of declining property value that comes with cell nodes. Multiple brokers across Lake Success have said that the implementation of cell nodes will lead to a decrease in property value.
According to Dimitratos, residents are not against cell nodes in public areas, such as golf courses. They just don’t want one on their home property.
Each cell node is estimated to cost thousands of dollars, so the construction of 13 would be very costly. The Village of Lake Success wants to make sure they cover all grounds before making a decision.
The board of trustees and the mayor decided to hold off making a decision about this at the April 17 hearing and will reexamine the issue at the next meeting on May 13.