Tree-trimming plan topic of Greenfield Hill forum Tuesday
Published 6:59 am, Saturday, July 12, 2014
A forum on United Illuminating's controversial tree-trimming plan is scheduled Tuesday at the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church.
The meeting with UI officials is scheduled from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the church at 1045 Old Academy Road, and has been organized by a Greenfield Hill neighborhood group and the area's Representative Town Meeting delegates.
State and local officials also are expected to attend, and the public will have an opportunity to ask questions. The plan is of particular interest to Greenfield Hill residents because the area is wooded.
UI devised an eight-year plan to trim trees in response to massive power outages caused by falling limbs during Tropical Storm Irene and Superstorm Sandy. Public Works Director Joseph Michelangelo has estimated between 20,000 and 25,000 trees in town could fall under the plan.
The plan has sparked controversy in other communities, and First Selectman Michael Tetreau also has voiced concerns about costs to the town. The plan requires the town's approval to cut trees on town property and property owners' approval to cut them on private property.
Laura Devlin, a District 3 RTM member and an organizer of Tuesday's meeting, said in a news release that UI's plan "could quite possibly change the look of the town and have an environmental impact."
The meeting was organized in conjunction with the Greenfield Hill Village Improvement Society.
A UI representative outlined the plan for the Board of Selectmen in March. It would require the town tree warden to post trees on town property that are targeted for removal, and owners of abutting property would have to be notified.
The plan was authorized by a new state law, which Tetreau called an underfunded state mandate.
The Greenfield Hill Village Improvement Association said trees were responsible for 90 percent of the power outages caused by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. UI's tree-trimming plan, the group said, would "only reduce the risk of future power outages by 25 percent."