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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fort Thomas Residents Discovering Large Holes Dug in Their Yard

So, you're walking outside in your slippers and robe to grab the paper (wait, people still subscribe to the paper?). Stay with me, I'm setting up my post.

You wave to your neighbor as she heads off to work and bend down to pick up the daily rag. The next thing you know you're waist deep in a hole that's been dug without your knowledge. That's what happened to a local Fort Thomas resident recently:

We woke up on Saturday morning to a big hole in our front yard. No explanation, just a big pile of dirt, a 3-4 foot hole covered in plywood and a big orange cone.
I bumped into the culprits this morning on my way to work who'd returned to the scene to wrap things up. They're contractors for Cincinnati Bell and are running fiber optic cable from the corner all the way up the block.
While fiber is generally a good thing (I'm happy for any alternative to Time Warner), I was a little surprised that a private contractor can just dig up your yard with no notice. I'm assuming there's an easement on our property that makes this legal but I wonder what liabilities this poses? Say some unsuspecting trick-or-treater happened to slip through the plywood trap-door and plunge 3 feet into a spooky, muddy wonderland? 
Anybody know where we could get some information on easements and/or the legality of this? I thought about calling the FTPD but I don't want to waste their time if this is normal operating procedure.
We followed up with City Administrator, Don Martin to find our the answer. Here's what Martin had to say:
If Cincinnati Bell has an easement through a private property, then they can access that easement to maintain, repair and improve their infrastructure.  Property owners can determine if an easement exists on their property by reviewing their deed, which is available at the records room at the Campbell County Court House.  The City of Fort Thomas does not manage or have any type of oversight of easements on, over or through any private property for any company or utility. 
However, Cincinnati Bell does have an easement in most of our city rights-of-ways. Therefore, if the work in question is within the public right-of-way, Cincinnati Bell and their subcontractors are permitted to maintain, repair and improve their infrastructure.  Without knowing where the work in question is occurring I cannot provide any additional information about whether or not the work is within the public right-of-way. 


  1. Hey.. let's find out when Cincinnati Bell will run fiber optics on MY street..

  2. You would think these utilities would at least warn the owner of properties in advance, except in the case of emergency repair. For those that don't, I suggest calling them and telling them they might work in your yard with no warning, but be aware you can go to another supplier like Time Warner, etc. Not saying they are better, but at least you can vote individually with your wallet against those who show clear lack of customer service.

  3. I see how it is you want the fiber but you would rather it go thru your neighbors yard. And I saw the holes
    because they dug in my yard they were like 2'x2'x1' small holes so tell the truth.

  4. As a friend of someone who left Cincinnati Bell recently because the company lacks integrity this type of mo is the norm for them. However, my friend having worked seven yrs at TWC can't sing the praises of that company either, especially for the sales people out in the field. Unfortunately, both have no idea what customer service consists of.