June 27, 2016

Partly sunny

WOW! is back to work in Brunswick after easement mishap

BRUNSWICK — WOW! Cable is back installing cable lines this week after stopping work while company officials confirmed they had utility easements in a northside neighborhood.

The company stopped work last week after a resident on Skyview Drive said cable workers were digging on private property without a valid utility easement.

State law allows utility companies, which include cable companies, to install new lines within the public right-of-way, but requires easements to do any work on privately owned land.

Matthew Harper, WOW!’s local general manager, said surveys and title searches confirmed a 10-foot setback easement existed with power and telephone lines already running through it.

Harper said title searches show the 10-foot easement exists on all 105 lots in the development.

Harper said the confusion stemmed from the failure to record the easement on the housing development’s original plat documents.

“We always knew it was there, it was just a matter of providing the documentation to a resident who was disputing it,” Harper said. “Out of respect for the residents’ concerns and the relationship with the city, we went through the extra steps to show that this easement is there.”

Jim Shortle, 3982 Skyview Drive, one of the homeowners who challenged the cable company, conceded an easement exists for his property after being shown documents by Brunswick’s Chief Building Official Dan Gladish.

But Shortle said questions remain about other properties in the Skyview Drive neighborhood, which is near the Forrest Hills Plaza shopping center.

Shortle said some of the digging done by the WOW! workers was outside of the easement area.

Harper acknowledged mistakes were made. He said WOW! had called the Ohio Utility Protection Service to mark the easements. But the locations were off by as much as 25 feet.

Other residents have complained about damage done to yards that was left unrepaired.

Gladish said most of the damage was caused when Frontier Communications came in to replace phone lines that were damaged when WOW! workers dug in improperly marked areas.

Frontier has promised to repair the damage, Gladish said.

Gladish said WOW! will conduct full title searches upon request of any homeowner.

Work will continue this week along Skyview Drive and begin in the Clearwater Drive neighborhood.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.