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Green Bay homeowners upset over the installation of fiber optic lines on their property

Residents living on Green Bay’s west side say the project could negatively impact their property values
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 5:49 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Homeowners and city officials are at odds over a fiber optic line that’s under construction. It would deliver high speed internet access, yet residents say they’re more concerned about their property values.

The installation is taking place along Fawn Lane in the Parkwood/Hazelwood area on Green Bay’s west side.

Residents told Action 2 News it’s an eyesore.

“Citizens in the neighborhoods that we live in should have an opportunity to voice our opinion and work with the city officials as to where this going to go,” Tom Meinz, who lives on Fawn Lane, said.

AT&T is the company behind the project as some homes in the area were already installed with a nearly three-foot tall pedestal that’s sticking out of their front yards.

Homeowners told Action 2 News their problem isn’t with the fiber optic cables but with the city’s process in getting this project done.

“The issue is in the execution. There’s neighboring communities in which it’s been all underground, and we need to understand why the plans changed when it came to our neighborhood,” Carolyn Jazgar said.

According to AT&T, the fiber optic cable lines are meant to give households access to high speed internet. Yet in a letter the company sent to residents, which we obtained a copy of, there’s no mention of these pedestals being erected in yards. Homeowners expressed consternation with the lack of transparency from the city and AT&T.

“In signing that permit, they should be advocating for the community and making sure that the criteria meets the community standards for installation of these utilities,” Jazgar said. Her home is in the crosshairs of this project and she expressed worry that it could negatively impact her home’s value.

Steve Grenier is the director of public works for Green Bay. He said neither his agency nor the city can regulate how this project is done; only the Wisconsin Public Service Commission can.

“As long as they’re meeting their statutory requirements, we are obligated to issue those permits and everything that they’re doing is allowed by state statutes,” Grenier said.

Grenier said his office talked to AT&T, which said it plans to speak with concerned citizens, creating the potential for underground lines.

“They’re going to look at seeing if there’s something they can do to change the project, to make it a better fit for the neighborhoods,” Grenier said.

Still, homeowners remain skeptical of the meeting.

“The longer we wait, the more cable is going to be put into our neighborhoods and our front yards,” Meinz said.

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