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Village of Pelham Board Statement on Lawsuit

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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 3:00 pm

Editor’s Note: The following is a statement issued by the Village of Pelham Board of Trustees.)

In recent weeks many in our Village have expressed concern about the installation of three cell-phone transmitters (known as “nodes”) including one on a new utility pole, by ExteNet, a representative of T-Mobile. It is important to establish basic facts as the issues have consumed much time and energy and certain issues are now being litigated in the New York courts.

ExteNet representatives came to the village for certain uses of village property in April of 2013. Essentially, Extenet asserts that T-Mobile needs three nodes to allow for better cellular service in areas of the village where service signals are inadequate. The village, through its Building Inspector and Village Administrator, interacted with ExteNet representatives on the process to install the nodes. The Village of Pelham (VOP) has a “Telecommunications Law” in its code that was enacted in 2002 but needs to be updated to reflect current technology.

In June of this year the ExteNet issue was before the Village Board to discuss a contract between the Village of Pelham and ExteNet. At that televised meeting and at two further televised meetings on September 3rd and 17th, the issue of a contract was discussed and questions were asked as to 1) need for the nodes and one new utility pole; 2) placement of the nodes in our village, if needed; 3) the aesthetic issues presented by the nodes; 4) the notification to be given to residents; and 5) various contractual issues. At the conclusion of three meetings, the village board voted to enter into a contract with ExteNet. Pelham Manor went through a similar process and four nodes were installed in our sister village.

Thereafter, ExteNet installed three nodes—two on existing utility poles and one on a new utility pole. Residents expressed concern with the installations in writing and at a village meeting on October 15. The VOP, having asked these questions during the earlier meetings, nevertheless requested that ExteNet not proceed with the finishing work and address concerns over aesthetics and placement. ExteNet did not comply despite calls from our Mayor and others to it concerning these issues. Last week, a resident filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court seeking to stop further work by ExteNet and the VOP and its administrator are defendants in this case. The VOP does not object to a court preventing further work by ExteNet at this time. In fact, that is what the VOP sought to do when it contacted ExteNet. The Village Board will continue to balance our citizens’ rights with the application of local, state and federal law. At the same time, the VOP is working with outside counsel to update the village’s “Telecommunications Law” to reflect technology changes.

We appreciate your continued support and will keep you informed with updates.

-Village of Pelham Board of Trustees-

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