Woman Is In Knots Over Company's Cable Installation

August 14, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

For a woman who doesn't even subscribe to cable TV, Janet Wade has had an unusual number of run-ins with the company that services Maryland City.

She woke up July 10 to find a construction crew digging atrench under her driveway and through her yard. She said the contractors told her their work was legal and refused to stop.

Wade said she called the cable company, but got no help. While itwas too late to stop the workers, she pressed on, arguing to everyone from Ray Smallwood, president of the Maryland City Civic Association, to County Councilman David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville.

She saidan official from North Arundel Cable offered her two months of free cable service in exchange for stopping her complaints.

"We don't even want cable, so this was doubly insulting."

The problem startedwhen the cable company was upgrading its cable line last month that runs through Wade's neighborhood. The contractors, instead of runningthe line along the sidewalk, cut across the corner of the yard that sits at the intersection of Wye Mills and Yellow Springs roads.

County code says they are supposed to stay in the right of way -- 25 feet from center of the road. In this case, the right of way is about 11 feet from the edge of the sidewalk, allowing contractors to dig thetrench 3 feet into Wade's property.

But a 20-foot section of the trench is 6 feet from the sidewalk, Wade said.

"They just do this and hope to get away with it," Wade said of the contractors. "It's soaggravating. It looks minor, but it's the principal of the thing. Itmade me so mad it was worth the trouble."

Boschert and Smallwood agreed, accusing the cable company of cutting corners to do the job cheaper and faster.

A county zoning inspector last week ordered North Arundel Cable to dig up the line and restore Wade's yard to its original condition.

Yesterday, the cable company says it complied with the county order and moved the line within the right of way.

But Wade is not satisfied. She said the contractor installed a new linealong the road Aug. 5, but never dug up the old one.

"Every time I talk to someone, I get a different story," she said.

And the offer for free cable made her particularly mad, Wade said.

Craig Malang, the engineer for North Arundel Cable, said they rarely but sometimes offer free cable service.

"It is not standard practice," he said. "It was done so we could avoid laying the cable twice."

Malangcalled the issue a "non-story" and said the contractors made the 3-foot error into Wade's yard in order to avoid damaging existing power and phone lines already in the right of way.

He also said that he received permission from the property owner, Wade's husband, Mike, torun line through the property.

But Wade said Mike was at work when the contractors arrived.

Malang said yesterday that he understood that the line had been removed, despite Wade's contentions. He saidthe county inspector was with the work crew and has not notified thecompany of an error. The county inspector could not be reached.

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