OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – This time the small cell tower is only partially installed on the sidewalk.
Earlier this year, Verizon contractors installed a tower in the middle of a neighborhood sidewalk, requiring its relocation. This time at a different location the installation may have been done correctly, but residents of historic Dundee just didn’t like how it all turned out without notifying the owners.
“I came home and had a big surprise,” said Guy Weinstein, who lives on S. 56th Street. “I had a lot of neighbors who texted me and called me to tell me that they were working on my house. I hadn’t hired anyone to do any work on my house, so it was a big surprise for me.
Weinstein called the company whose contractors were doing the work outside his home and they informed him that they were working on a city approved facility under legal right of way. Omaha City Planning Director David Fanslau confirmed the information, telling WOWT that the city is required by state law to give telecommunications and mobile companies equal access to public rights of way only to all public services.
This includes the possibility of installing equipment along property lines accessible by the city.
Fanslau said he would like to see more “common courtesy” when it comes to educating owners about the job to be done. He said they would like to strike a “good neighbor” deal with the companies to ensure surprises like the one on 56th Street do not continue to happen.
“That’s the big thing,” neighbor Jennifer Yee said. “Homeowners need to be consulted about your property. Digging your yard doesn’t seem like something that should be done without the owner’s permission.
Another neighbor, Brenna Moray, said workers came out a second time to move one of the buried boxes and complete the installation of the small cell towers, which she called horror and compared to “something Hunger Games “.
“I went and wanted to know what was going on,” Moray said. “They go there, we put this, it’s Verizon, 5G or whatever, and I asked them, does the owner know? They said, “Well, we knocked on his door. “
The second visit didn’t completely take Weinstein by surprise. His girlfriend warned him and he came home before work continued.
“They were going to put the same box next to it and I asked them to put it in the mulch bin,” Weinstein said. “Because I don’t have a very big yard, as you can see. They came a few days later and shed some light on it, so that’s good.
Verizon’s communications manager for Nebraska, Heidi Flato, responded with an email statement.
“There are many factors that go into choosing a location for a small cell to provide a contiguous network that maximizes performance, while striving to blend in with the surrounding landscape. Small cells located in registered historic districts, including the site in question, meet specific standards set by the Omaha City Planning Department and the Monuments Heritage Preservation Commission. All work is carried out within the City right-of-way, in accordance with all local, state and federal permits and approvals, and no work will be done on private property. In addition, Verizon performs comprehensive restoration work to industry standards.
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