KU ignores Lexington leaders, continues tree removal plans

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Homeowners are concerned about the company cutting down too many trees instead of just trimming near power lines. (FOX 56/WKYT)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – Despite recommendations from the Lexington mayor and city council, Kentucky Utilities says it is moving forward with its tree removal program.

Kentucky Utilities representatives spoke at a meeting Thursday to announce they’re moving forward.

City leaders and homeowners asked KU not to cut down trees in several neighborhoods. Homeowners are concerned it will lower their property value, but KU says they must clear them from power lines.

KU said some trees pose a safety risk if they’re too close to power lines.

KU says they have made some adjustments to the removal plan. Company representative Kyle Burns said they’re considering a new policy that would allow trees just above 15 feet to stay standing if they’re under new lines.

Burns said KU is increasing communication with those impacted. He said KU is using social media to alert property owners of cutting. Burns said owners will now be made aware of tree cutting 8 weeks before it’s scheduled.

Some council members thanked the representatives for being more transparent.

The city council doesn’t control KU. It’s the public service commission that oversees its practices.

“Considering the work that’s ongoing, we do not believe that a formal 30-day moratorium is something that’s necessary,” Burns said. “Following the October meeting with HOAS, the mayor, and the council, we agreed to conduct the environmental assessment. As I mentioned, there’s no decision until that environment assessment is completed.”

All tree cutting in certain neighborhoods, including the Lakeside area, is on pause while KU completes an environmental study. It’s scheduled to start soon after Thanksgiving and last several weeks.

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