Homeowners pack a Lexington council meeting to protest clear-cutting of trees

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – A crowd of neighbors packed into Tuesday afternoon’s Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government work session to voice their concerns over a proposal by Kentucky Utilities to clear-cut trees near power lines.

Officials with KU also went before council to discuss their plan.

Neighbors from several neighborhoods, mostly the Lakes Edge and Glenhill area of Lexington, spent nearly an hour and a half sharing their concerns with this plan. One group even presented a 37-page slideshow to council.

They said they are concerned with not just the visual impacts the removal of these trees will have on their neighborhood, but cited environmental concerns that the trees prevent in their neighborhood.

Kentucky Utilities explained their plans to council and neighbors. They said they heard and understand the concerns homeowners have, but said their Enhanced Vegetation Management Program is designed to “improve line safety and reliability.” They argued programs like this have helped cut power outages outside of major events by 40 percent.

“I’m not sure what council can do about this, but we desperately need your help to preserve our neighborhood, the beauty of the neighborhood, and the value of the homes in our neighborhood,” neighbor Rob Walker said.

“We did come here to listen today. We come to all the meetings to listen. We wanna solicit feedback. We want to take that and continuously improve our program,” said Kyle Burns with Kentucky Utilities.

Mayor Linda Gorton said she has met with Kentucky Utilities, and had a series of requests for the company, including asking them to change or compromise their plan, and even put a pause on the clearing while they consider the requests.

Council members also addressed KU officials.

Just this past Saturday, Lexington was recognized as a National Tree City for the 33rd year in a row.

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