Goshen talks fiber expansion as residents complain of right-of-way work

NOW: Goshen talks fiber expansion as residents complain of right-of-way work

The City of Goshen says there's not much it can do to control the rollout of fiber infrastructure.

Monday night's Common Council meeting started with a presentation on utility work in public rights-of-way in response to public complaints as companies like SURF Communications and Frontier are actively expanding fiber networks through the city.

Goshen staff told the common council, because of state restrictions, there isn't much the City can do to deny permits for work on rights-of-way or easements even if a property owner or HOA objects.

To explain the reason for the presentation, Goshen Director of Public Works Dustin Sailor wrote the Council, "there has been discussion about what City staff can do to address the concerns like damage to yards, follow-up on contractor's restoration efforts, issues with buried pipe and access point locations, open excavations, cracked sidewalks, contractors working outside the right-of-way, etc."

Ten members of the public spoke following the presentation. Many, including Mary Yoder who spoke during the public portion of the meeting, are concerned about utility work often leading to damaged property.

"The notion that when utilities come in, things will be put back as they were, I would just rather be told, 'that's a joke. It's not going to happen'," Yoder said. "[Tell residents] that 'you will have a lot of cleanup to do, and things will not look like they did before. And that's the price you pay for this'."

A representative from SURF tried assuring the company will work to engage HOAs, communicate, and designate points of contact for the public and city.

City leaders say AT&T is expected to join the companies adding fiber next year.

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