Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are utilities, poles or pedestals being placed in my backyard?

A: When neighborhoods are designed by developers, they are required to provide locations for utilities including electric, gas, water, telecommunications and cable, in order to install necessary utilities to serve residents. Utilities may be located in right-of-way adjacent to streets or in designated location called utility easements. Utility easements are generally located along the rear of residents’ properties, but occasionally they may also be located along the side property line. Utility easements are around 15 feet wide and usually divided between two adjoining lots.  

Q: Do the utility companies own the easement in my yard?

A: The easement is owned by property owner, but the dedicated utility easement gives utility providers a property interest that allows each to use the easement for necessary work. Utility easements are designated by the developer when a neighborhood is platted, and property owners purchase their properties subject to the utility easement.

Q: Where do I find the legal description for an easement on my property?

A: Descriptions mayd be found on a developer’s neighborhood plat, a homeowner’s plat or on record with the Johnson County Records and Tax Administration: 913-715-0075.

Q: Where do I find the plat for my property?

A: The property plat is provided to a property owner at the time of purchase. This information is recorded with the Johnson County Records and Tax Administration: 913-715-0075.

Additional property information can be found on the Johnson County AIMS website.

Q: What type of information may be found on the AIMS website?

A: AIMS offers the Johnson County Online Mapping application as a service to Johnson County to help promote e-government. You may create your own plot plan, view current and historic aerial photos of a property, search for property owner information, or view any of our hundreds of other geographic layers including easements, property lines, available utility information and more.

Q: What is the difference between the right-of-way vs. a utility easement?

A: Right-of-way is property dedicated to the City by a developer for the purpose of public infrastructure, which includes streets, sidewalks and bike trails. The right-of-way extends 10-14 feet beyond a street curb. This area is sometimes referred to as “non-paved right-of-way.” Kansas Statute gives utility providers the right to access and use right-of-way for their facilities, subject to reasonable city regulation.

Utility easements are a property interest granted by the developer or a subsequent property owner and give rights to utility providers to access a designated portion of land to install necessary facilities to provide services to residents.

Q: How wide is the city right-of-way in front of my house?

A: City right-of-way varies from thoroughfare to collector road to residential streets. This type of information is easily accessed from the  Johnson County Online Mapping application. The right-of-way extends 10-14 feet beyond the street curb, and this area is sometimes referred to as “non-paved right-of-way.”

Q: How wide is the utility easement in my yard?

A: Utility easements are around 15 feet wide and usually divided between two adjoining lots. The specific measurement for your property may be found on your property plat recorded with the Johnson County Records and Tax Administration: 913-715-0075.

Q: Why are so many telecommunications and cable companies allowed to be in our neighborhood?

A: Under federal and state law, cities must allow telecommunication and cable companies to have fair and non-discriminatory access to public right-of-way for the installation of their facilities. While the City may not prohibit telecommunication or cable facilities from being installed, the City may impose reasonable restrictions on how the work is done. The City imposes these restrictions through an extensive permitting process and a Master Right-of-Way Ordinance. Both AT&T and Google Fiber have also signed agreements with the City that require compliance with those restrictions.

Q: Does the City regulate utility providers working in neighborhoods?

A: The City monitors where and when work is taking place on city right-of-way through a permitting process. Permit review and approval ensure that city regulations are being followed and property disturbed during construction is restored to its previous condition.

Q: Does the city regulate utility companies working in utility easements?

A: The City does not own or have any regulatory authority over utility providers working within utility easements, except to any extent their facilities are unusually large and exceed size limitations in the City’s zoning regulations. The City may not dictate a utility provider's rights to use or access these easements. Rights are established by developers during the planning stage and recorded by plat or easement document. These documents are recorded and maintained by the Johnson County Records and Tax Administration: 913-715-0075.

Q: Am I responsible for maintaining the easement and the right-of-way?

A: Yes, city ordinances require property owners to maintain right-of-way to the curb or pavement. (The sidewalk and grassy areas.) Property owners own and are expected to maintain the utility easement areas as they would the rest of the property, with the exception of any utility facility located by a utility provider.

Q: Why are there flags or spray paint in my yard?

A: By state law, underground work is not allowed until current utilities are located and identified by either flags or water based spraypaint. Additional information may be found on the Kansas One-Call website.

Q: How long do the flags have to be there?

A: Flags are required to remain in place for 15 days. They are placed by a locating company working on behalf of a utility provider. Additional information about locating can be found on USIC’s website.

Q: Who owns the sidewalks in front of my house?

A: The City owns the sidewalks in the right-of-way in front of your home.

Q: A fiber company has damaged my yard, lawn sprinkler or other property item. Who do I contact to make repairs?

A: You will need to talk with an onsite contractor’s representative to determine who the company is working for. Several companies access right-of-way in Overland Park. Once you know which company the work is being done for, you may then contact a representative.

With regard to AT&T, we encourage you to file an online complaint via an email or call 913-676-1801.

For Google Fiber, call 877-454-6959.

Q: I spoke with a contractor. I am not happy with their solution to my problem. How do I get my issue resolved?

A: We will recommend having a manager get involved. If problems are not being addressed, provide us with your contact information, and we will forward it on to a company manager for immediate attention.

Q: Why is my yard being disturbed again?

A: In many areas, a company installed connection boxes that allow up to multiple homes to connect to its utility. If a subscriber asked to be connected after the initial installation, additional work may have be necessary to make the connection. Because of competition between telecommunication and cable companies, it is also possible that work is being done by a different provider.

Q: The utility provider working in my yard didn’t restore it. When will it be fixed?

A: There are two limited periods in the spring and fall where sodding is possible due to favorable weather conditions. When the work takes place outside sod season, which is generally the hot summer months, a contractor must temporarily seed the disturbed areas and return during sod season to make permanent repairs. Newly placed sod is watered and cared for by the contractor for the first 21 days. After 21 days, the responsibility transfers to the property owner. The City recommends that you carefully inspect disturbed areas and notify the utility provider of any issues prior to the end of the 21 days.

Q: I repaired the damage in my yard. Who do I send the bill to?

A: The utility provider is responsible for damage to yards. We recommend that you contact the utility provider and agree upon necessary repairs before making repairs. This action should eliminate any controversy or disagreement over the necessity of the repair, type of repair or utility provider’s obligation.  

Q: I believe a utility line was placed in my yard in the wrong location. How do I know if it is or not?

A: It is the utility company’s responsibility to place their facilities correctly within the right-of-way or utility easement. If the utility is unable to prove it is in the appropriate area, it may have to relocate the facilities or compensate the property owner.

Q: I see unsafe activity taking place outside, who should I call?

A: Call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency. Non-emergency activity may be directed to the city at 913-895-6000.

Q: There is an open hole or dangerous condition. Who do I call?

A: Call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency. Non-emergency activity may be directed to the city at 913-895-6000.

Q: Can’t the City make the utility providers work together or at the same time in order to reduce disturbances to my property?

A: The City encourages coordination between providers; however, it may not require utility providers to work together or at the same time.  

Q: I do not want to be this company’s customer. Can you make them leave?

A: The State of Kansas has granted utility providers a statutory right to locate facilities in the public right-of-way, and the courts have upheld this right. Each property owner is free to select its preferred telecommunications and cable provider. No provider has the right to locate facilities to your house or anywhere on your property outside of the right-of-way or a utility easement without your permission.

Q: I do not want a pedestal in my yard. How do I get it removed?

A: Utility providers have a right to place necessary facilities in utility easements and public right-of-way. Utility providers also have certain design limitations dictating where pedestals and other facilities must be located. This being said, the City encourages utility providers to locate their facilities in a manner that limits any intrusion on property owners.