Limb trim raises concerns in Old Cloverdale

A tree in Old Cloverdale trimmed because of nearby power lines
A tree in Old Cloverdale trimmed because of nearby power lines

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Could it be a tree limb trim gone too far? Some Old Cloverdale residents think so.

This, after Alabama Power crews did some regular maintenance to remove trees from power lines.  But some believe they trimmed too much and compromised the area's charm and the trees themselves.

"I hate to use the word butchered because it is a pretty strong word, but as you can see looking up at is pretty extreme trimming."

Todd Kirk is used to seeing a full, lush Ball Cypress tree in his front yard.

But now, nearly half of it is missing.

"It's emotional. I mean, it's a tree, not a living being. But still, it adds aesthetic value to our property and to our home and we just hate to see it done like that," adds Kirk.

As Mayor of the Old Cloverdale Association, he's heard frustrations from residents across the area.

"Throughout the neighborhood there's several points where we think they've trimmed a little extremely."

"Our ordinance actually specifies a set amount of distance from energized lines that city trees may be trimmed," says Montgomery Urban Forester, Russell Stringer.

Stringer maintains 40,000 public trees in Montgomery.

"Give or take every three years, the power company trims their lines and this is for reliability purposes."

Stringer says power companies are allowed to trim up to 15 feet of a tree limb that is endangering a power line.

"We know that Alabama Power has to protect their lines, but there's gotta be just a little better balance between protecting their lines and doing what they've done here," adds Kirk.

Neither Kirk, nor Stringer are certain if the power company violated the 15 foot ordinance.

Stringer says he must measure, first.

Alabama Power officials say they are addressing the issue and have planned a meeting with city forestry officials.

They say trimming trees is necessary for the safety and reliability of power lines, but they understand it can be emotional for homeowners.

"I'd like to see it survive. I'd like to see it fill out," says Kirk as he watches and waits for his tree to recover.

City forestry and Alabama Power officials are meeting Monday to discuss the issue.

Forestry officials say if the trees have been cut too short, they could be forced to remove them.

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