Concerns over tree removal in Lexington by Kentucky Utilities continues

KU is expected to start its work on Lansdowne Drive soon...though council is urging the company to take a pause.

UPDATE: LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – In October, homeowners in the Lansdowne neighborhood had concerns with the removal of trees by Kentucky Utilities.

On Thursday those concerns were once again voiced, after KU gave updates to its projects to the Urban County Council.

“I expect by the end of the year or early next we will be back before you to talk in more specific terms” said David Friebert, with Kentucky Utilities.

KU says an environmental study is being conducted from Lansdowne to Lakes Edge after hearing the previous concerns, which included, air quality, flooding, property value and clear cutting, among others.

But council members are looking for more answers, asking for full disclosure on the logistics of the projects.

“We care about this because we’re concerned with individual pieces of our City but also for the overall City” said 6th District Council Member, David Kloiber.

Council members asked whether consistent trimming was an option to maintain KU’s clearances under its transmission lines versus clear cutting, getting rid of the trees altogether.

“Very plainly why are you here today insisting and defending the practice of clear cutting under transmission lines anywhere in the city?” asked Kloiber.

“When we look at the just in time trimming program we used to have was applying that across the entire system and maintaining the clearances necessary” replied Kentucky Utilities, Kyle Burns.

it was also asked if KU could make a deal with homeowners to make it their responsibility to keep their trees trimmed or face a clear cut.

“I am just wondering if they’re willing to pay to keep it trimmed and you don’t have to cut these things down it’ll save you money in the long run, in my opinion, have y’all looked at that?” said Richard Moloney, Council at Large.

“When we consider homeowners doing work under and around our transmission lines, we, in our opinion, that is an unacceptable risk” added Burns.

KU is expected to start its work on Lansdowne Drive soon…though council is urging the company to take a pause.

“We could work all together to come up with a better solution for our community” said Kloiber.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (ORIGINAL STORY, OCT 15TH 2021) (WTVQ) – “They are going to devastate these neighborhoods” said Diane Atchison with the Lansdowne Neighborhood Association.

People living in the Lansdowne drive area are worried about what the removal of the neighborhood’s trees by Kentucky Utilities will do.

According to Kentucky Utilities, when trees are planted without regard to their surroundings, or are not properly maintained, they can create serious issues like property damage, safety hazards or disruption to the utility services.

So, its vegetation management efforts are done on a consistent and planned cycle throughout its service areas.

Atchison says when they found out Lansdowne Drive was next to have some of its trees removed or clear cut, she was devastated.

“Most of those trees were planted by the Lansdowne Neighborhood Association working with the City Arborist and using the approved tree list by Kentucky utilities” said Atchison.

Atchison says neighbors are worried how it will affect property values, oxygen levels, flooding and more.

“it’s where you hang your children’s swings, it’s where you carve your initials, it’s where you sit with your children and read books and have a picnic, it’s not just a tree” said Atchison.

Mayor Linda Gorton says the City is working with KU to find a resolution that will make everyone happy.

“In the beginning when they were starting to cut trees our City Arborist wasn’t involved and we needed the Arborist involved” said Mayor Gorton.

She is set to speak with the new CEO of Kentucky Utilities next week..

“It’s pretty devastating to the neighbors and a lot of these are big trees that are cut down and so I’m looking forward to meeting the new CEO and chat with him” added Mayor Gorton.

Atchison and other neighbors also plan to be at next Tuesday’s Urban County Council Work Session for a chance to speak with the KU CEO as well.

In a statement from Kentucky Utilities:

“We’re meeting with homeowners, City officials and the Mayor to listen to all concerns. We follow consistent standards and an equitable approach to all of our vegetation management.

Our vegetation management efforts are a necessary part of maintaining safety and reliability across the system. These efforts, which are part of our five-year cycle-based vegetation management program, are industry best practices for maintaining transmission infrastructure. It’s important to note that we maintain approximately 5,400 miles of transmission lines, and manage more than 65,000 acres around those lines. In the LG&E and KU electric system, ongoing maintenance and enhancement efforts have reduced the frequency and duration of power outages by 40% since 2011, excluding major events.”

 

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