Greensboro, N.C. - Doris and Dave Robinson have loved living in their Greensboro home since 1973. Then, giant boxes from AT&T showed up in their front yard.
We've all seen cable boxes before, but these are much, much bigger. One is about six feet tall. The Robinsons say they didn't even know AT&T was doing this until the heavy machinery arrived.
"I saw all this huge equipment. It was like a tractor, a truck. A backhoe. All these things. They started digging," Doris Robinson said. "I asked my husband, 'What is going on with this machinery out in our front yard?'"
The Robinsons discovered a crew from AT&T was building cable boxes right in their yard.
"It's just hard to believe that anyone can come onto our property, put something on the property we disapprove of and leave it on our property," Dave Robinson said. "It's just not right."
Doris added, "It struck me as being just terrible to be digging in your front yard and they hadn't said a word to us."
They called AT&T, wrote letters and even sent emails. The boxes haven't budged.
"I'm just shocked. I think it's so awful and so ugly," Dorris said, "You think landscaping can cover all that? No way."
AT&T did put a sign on their door to let them know about the project. But, the Robinsons say the workers didn't put the sign on their door until after the construction was basically over.
An AT&T spokesperson told WFMY, "If we have to work near a customer's yard, we try to talk to them in advance to let them know we're going to be working there. If we can't reach them by phone or in person, we'll leave a door-hanger. We follow all municipal ordinances regarding notification."
We did a little digging to find out what rights *you* have to your property. Turns out, in these kinds of situations, you don't have a lot of options.
If there is an easement on your property, a utility company can install all kinds of equipment and wires on your land. Plus, a portion of your property is considered in the "right of way" and that means the city has access to that land, too.
The best example is sidewalks. The Robinson's don't have one, but the city does have the option of installing a sidewalk and the Robinsons would have to maintain it.
The same applies to curbs, gutters and electrical boxes.
"It is very confusing. I think one of the biggest points in that confusion is that a majority of the utilities are located underground. So, you don't see them and don't know if there's an easement or utility there," City of Greensboro Interim Planning Manager Steven Galanti said.
The AT&T boxes are part of a new service the company is offering called U-verse. It's a service that offers cable, phone and internet, designed to compete with Time Warner. You can expect to see more of those boxes popping up in Greensboro soon.
WFMY News 2