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Met-Ed in tree tussle with Wyomissing residents

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 26 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 27 2012 04:50:08 AM CDT

Met-Ed in tree tussle with residents

WYOMISSING, Pa. -

A feud over trees is brewing in Wyomissing.

Some residents say the trees around their homes are in danger of being chopped down.

But Met-Ed officials say it is all about ensuring safety.

Marlene Koval is one of those residents not happy about the possible future of her Wyomissing property where she has lived for more than 35 years.

Eleven of Koval's trees have a red X at the base. Koval says these trees are scheduled to be torn down.

"They're knocking down all of my pine trees that gave me some privacy and eliminated a little bit of the noise," said Koval.

It's all part of Met-Ed's effort to comply with federal and state regulations requiring that trees be kept away from transmission lines.

Officials say they will be targeting Wyomissing, especially in the Birdland section near areas like Farr Road, as well as Meadowlark Road, where tree branches can be seen wrapping around power lines.

"We have to remove trees that are in the right of way, trim trees on the edge of the right of way so they don't come in contact with our wires or conductors," said Scott Surgeoner, Met-Ed spokesperson.

Officials say keeping a clear path for transmission lines has to do with safety prevention. They say when trees come in direct contact with power lines they could cause fires or power outages.

But neighbors have decided to fight back.

Dan Castellani, who lives in Wyomissing, says in two days he obtained about 200 signatures from neighbors protesting the removal of trees.

"Right away [people] were happy to sign, because they felt the same way about trees," said Castellani.

Met-Ed officials say they are working with residents by offering vouchers to purchase plants that would not pose a danger to power lines.

Meanwhile, Marlene says Met-Ed officials are scheduled to visit her home again to review the fate of her trees.

"We went through the expense years ago to put these trees in," said Koval.

"Again, it's all about reliability for our customers' safety," said Surgeoner. "We want to make sure we do things right for the trees as well."