Lansing neighborhood fed up with BWL tree trimming

Published: Sep. 12, 2018 at 4:36 PM EDT
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Is it trimming? Or butchering?

That's what people in one neighborhood are asking after contractors hired by Lansing's Board of Water and Light started clearing tree limbs near power lines. And things are definitely looking less shady in Lansing's Colonial Village neighborhood.

People drove by News 10's Alani Letang as she was out in the neighborhood and sarcastically asked if she liked their Y-shaped trees. They told Letang their streets used to be a canopy of greenery and now they aren't and the neighborhood is beyond fed up.

Neighbors called News 10 when they couldn't get answers from the BWL.

"I'm lost for words right there. ... It's just very hurtful; ... trimming is aggressive, ... overaggressive," said Dave Fretter, who lives in the neighborhood.

"I can't tell you the words I feel on camera, you'd be bleeping me out. ... We aren't very happy about this," said Mike Morofsky, Colonial Village Neighborhood representative, Area 1.

Morofsky grew up in the Colonial Village neighborhood on Lansing's south side. He said the BWL is playing catch up with its tree trimming after the December 2013 ice storm.

"... and so now, all of a sudden, we are going in here and butchering trees that have been here for 50-60 years, as old as I am," Morofsky said.

He said it's not only grooming gone too far, but it's also affecting other things for the people who live here.

"Makes it looks really trashy, and it lowers the property value and it takes shade away from people, which means higher utility bills, if you're fortunate enough to have central air, because it's gonna make your house hotter, and it'll burn up your grass," Morofsky said.

David Fretter also grew up in this neighborhood and told Letang passers-by make fun of how it looks now.

"During the process of the work, individuals driving up and down the road stop by and voice their opinion on it," Fretter said.

The BWL hires Wright Tree Services to do the trimming. The BWL refused to go on camera but sent us this statement:

"The Lansing Board of Water & Light trims trees to industry standards to clear tree limbs away from power lines. This is done to protect the safety of our customers and employees and maintain the reliability of service. In collaboration with the City of Lansing, the BWL will remove some of the previously trimmed trees along Victor Ave. next week. As part of the BWL’s Plant a Tree in the Right Place Program, new trees will be planted in their place next spring.

"The BWL is currently in year five of a five-year continuous tree-trimming plan, which was recommended by the Community Review Team (CRT) and the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) following the December 2013 ice storm. BWL data reinforce areas that have been trimmed experience fewer storm-related power outages."

Neighbors told News 10 they're frustrated and feel ignored.

"I'm really passionate about my neighborhood and I've served as a board member for over 20 years. This is my neighborhood; I appreciate Channel 10 taking the time to do this," said Morofsky.

The BWL said it will be planting replacement trees next spring. That's part of the overall trimming program that was recommended by Community Review Team and the Michigan Public Service Commission after the 2013 ice storm.

If you want your trees trimmed because the branches are too close to the power lines, contact your electric provider.

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