Fiber-optic project in neighborhood alarms Redington Shores residents | Beaches |

2022-05-22 00:25:04 By : Ms. Estella Fu

Cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 74F. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 mph..

Cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 74F. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 mph.

REDINGTON SHORES — Commissioner Cinda Krouk said at the Oct. 27 town commission workshop that the residents in her neighborhood “have been riled up.”

“They are calling up wanting to know, ‘What are these men doing in my neighborhood?’” Krouk said. “Also, ‘What are these black boxes that have been sitting on the sidewalk for two weeks?’ And, ‘What are all the unmarked vehicles coming and going and digging up and disturbing the ground on my street?’”

Representatives of Frontier Communications, which has provided telephone service to the area for decades, were at the workshop to explain what is happening and to answer questions.

The installation of new fiber optic cable, which will provide a number of benefits over the copper wire currently in place, is underway. Beginning in District 2, the project will proceed to the whole town, and then up and down the beaches until every community has the new cable.

A Frontier representative said the company has undertaken a five-year program called FTTH, or “Fiber-to-the-Home,” to make fiber optics available to residential customers in all their coverage areas throughout Florida. In the past, the costly fiber optic technology has been primarily used by businesses. The demand for higher speed internet by residential customers has dramatically increased with the growth of electronic devices and the number of people working from home.

At the meeting, Krouk said Frontier had sent flyers to residents on the benefits of fiber optics but failed to mention what was involved in the construction project.

“Our people were completely sidelined by this,” Krouk said. She told Frontier representatives they should have provided “a letter that says what you’re doing, what we can expect, and what it will look like when done.”

Instead, Krouk said, the residents “see the black boxes on the sidewalk for two weeks and don’t know what they’re there for. Our people need to know what you’re doing. You have riled up our community. It’s been a tough couple of weeks.”

Commissioner Michael Robinson added, “Don’t tell us what you offer, but what you’re doing, and how to get ahold of you.”

Frontier representative John Platt said the company has a proper procedure for this type of project that should have been followed. He said hang tags are put on residents’ doors a week ahead of time that tell about the work to be done and giving a contact phone number. Then, before the work starts, signs are put up on the affected streets.

“That is the proper procedure,” Platt said. “It needs to be followed.”

City Clerk Mary Palmer brought up another problem. She said the trucks connected with the project had no identification on them, “and that was a big issue.”

The Frontier explanation was that the company had contractors doing the work that may not have had signage on their truck. He said that they have magnetic signs that can be put on the side of the truck. In addition, the door tags and road signs give a phone number that can be called if there are concerns about what the workers are doing.

Krouk said residents are also wanting to know where the equipment boxes will be placed. While the cabling is underground and some equipment is flush to the ground, there are some boxes above ground.

Platt explained that there would be an above-ground hub box located at the entrance of each community. “We typically wouldn’t put them back where the residential homes are,” he said.

Frontier plans to meet with officials from each of the beach communities and the Barrier Island Governmental Council to get the message out about the project, said Platt.

The construction work in Redington Shores is expected to take about two months. Frontier has committed to restoring any disturbed area back to its original condition or better.

After eliminating a $50 charge for the annual parking pass that allowed residents and businesses to park free on town-owned lots, the commission decided to do away with any charges, even the $3 fee that was in place prior to 2021.

All of the commissioners agreed there will be no charge. The parking pass will be totally free.

The commission also decided to use stickers to identify town residents. They will be given one sticker for each car owned. Local businesses will get hang tags, which can be passed around to employees or customers. Each business gets two.

The existing $50 parking fee will be gone on Jan. 1, 2022, when the parking passes expire and need to be renewed.

An ordinance will be created to eliminate the fee, to be approved at the November and December regular commission meetings.

Boaters have been speeding by Punkin Key, where the Intracoastal Waterway widens to the south, disturbing residents and endangering other people on the water and wildlife in the area, Commissioner Jennie Blackburn said.

“The residents are out there enjoying their life on the water, and here come these boats that are loud and obnoxious and come very close to the docks,” Blackburn said. “It’s hard on the seawalls, the water comes up over them, and it’s disturbing people’s right to peaceful, quiet enjoyment of their property.”

Robinson suggested the police chief ask the county Marine Patrol to spend more time on enforcement in the area.

Speed regulations vary in different parts of the cove, Blackburn said. And many signs are missing, so boaters are not aware of the regulations in the portion where they are traveling.

“We really need to put our signage back,” said Krouk.

Former Commissioner Tom Kapper used to take his boat out to see where signs were missing and see that they were replaced, said Town Clerk Palmer, noting that it has not been done since he left the commission.

Also, the buoys in the Gulf that tell boaters how close they can come to the shore are “all gone,” Palmer said.

The commissioners recognized that enforcement of the marine regulations is difficult, but at least the missing signs should be replaced so people know what the rules are.

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