Local Residents Upset About Plan to Cut Down Trees

Trees and power lines: It's never a good combination and now one West Knox County utility company is taking action, but that action is causing a negative reaction from from residents.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel has more on why neighbors are so upset with the decision to remove some trees.

The power line that runs through the effected area carries 69,000 volts of electricity. That means anything within a certain radius can carry that current too, and that's why the Lenoir City Utilities Board is taking extra precautions and clearing the right-of-way surrounding these lines much to the dismay of the folks living underneath them.

"You know, we're not here to stop progress, but Lord, just to come in here and say we're going to cut every tree down in sight, is just... it's sad," resident Phil Mason said.

Phil Mason has 53 trees on his property that Lenoir City Utilities Board as earmarked for removal.

"They've been very cordial and everything, but they just haven't bent a little bit, and I just don't like to be backed in a corner," Mason said.

You see, LCUB is clearing their 100 foot right-of-way from Farragut substation to the Knox/Loudon County line. Their motive: safety and reliability of service in the Farragut area.

"We are going to trim some trees, we're going to cut some trees, we are going to remove some trees," LCUB general manager Fred Nelson said.

LCUB has marked hundreds of trees with red paint and ribbons, but residents say some of those trees aren't near the power lines.

"We finally have some privacy, and it's extremely disturbing that we will have nothing there," resident Jeanne Diedrick said.

Folks like Jeanne Diedrick say when T-V-A owned the right-of-way, they could plant the trees as long as they topped them to a reasonable height, but under LCUB ownership, it's a different story.

"We're doing this because we have to get in there, we have to upgrade the line we have to change pole out," Nelson said.

At LCUB's monthly meeting, the board approved a $47,626 contract with the tree removal company, Asplundh. That's the same company that did this work in Golf Park Subdivision just last week.

"The neighbors are irate, and I think they have every right to be," Diedrick said.

But with more trees marked and the contract approved, is this another done deal?

"We're not going to cut trees that we don't need to cut," Nelson said.

Neighbors hope that compromise comes Tuesday at a town meeting. It's going to be held at Farragut town hall at seven. West Knox County residents say they expect hundreds of their neighbors to turn out.
LCUB will be on hand to help explain the project and answer any questions those who are concerned might have.