Infrastructure & Services

Tree-trimming efforts begin soon

At their July 5 meeting, members of Village Council heard a report from Electric Crew Head Kelley Fox on upcoming tree-trimming efforts in the village.

“The amount of trimming will increase. It will be more aggressive,” Fox said, regarding trimming that will begin soon on the south end of town. That area is the current focus for two reasons: it’s the area scheduled to be trimmed this year, and also the area with the most recent outages.

A series of power outages in the village in recent months has prompted Village Council to re-evaluate its tree-trimming practices. While in the past trimming in Yellow Springs has been more conservative than in many towns due to aesthetic concerns, the number of recent outages has prompted a new approach, Fox said.

“I want folks to know that 99 percent of the time there’s an outage, there’s a cause,” he said, and that cause is most often trees, or the occasional squirrel. The cause is not Village equipment, he said.

“Equipment doesn’t just fail. It’s always something specific,” he said.

People who have a problem with their electrical lines should call the Village at 767-3401, he said.

A recent writer of a letter to the editor to the News complained about what the writer described as a fallen electrical line in his yard. Although the letter-writer had not contacted the Village for help, Fox said he responded to the concern, and found the fallen line was not electrical, but either telephone or cable.

“If you have a problem, just call,” Council President Judith Hempfling said. “Spreading rumors hurts the Village. Call first and please don’t start making comments in the public realm if you haven’t first checked.”

Three crews from AMP, the village’s electrical co-operative that also employs trained arborists, will begin the tree-trimming within a few weeks, according to Fox, who said the Village already has a contract with AMP for the project. While the Village in the past has hired the local business Arbor Care for the trimming, this year’s circumstances called for moving ahead quickly with several crews, so that AMP’s help was needed, Fox said, stating that the Village will work with Arbor Care again in the future.

The focus for the work will be the main feeder electrical lines located in Village-owned easements. Softwoods such as white pines and silver maples will be targeted because they’re the ones most likely to split and fall on lines, according to Fox, who said the crews will be more conservative when trimming old trees and hardwoods.

The trimming will not extend to trees on private property, only Village-owned easements. Trees located on private property are considered the responsibility of the property owner, he said.

In other Village business:

• In an update on the solar farm agreement between the Village, SolarVision, Melink and Yellow Springs Renewable Energy, Cundiff responded to questions from Council members regarding why the proposed solar farm is estimated to occupy all 30 acres of available land on the Village-owned Glass Farm, when the area needed for solar panels is only 15 acres. The Village signed a contract in May with the companies for a solar farm on the property that would produce 2.5 megawatts. At the time, the understanding was that only 15 acres would be used, with the remaining land available for other projects.

“That land is precious to the Village. It can be used for the public good,” Hempfling said.

The need for more space than anticipated has to do with the amount of shade on the Glass Farm, and the distance from trees that solar panels require, according to Village Manager Mark Cundiff. However, he said, only 15 acres would be required if a row of young trees could be removed, therefore providing more unobstructed sunlight. Council member Rick Walkey said he has walked the treeline in question, and the trees are scrub trees such as box elder, mulberry and honeysuckle. Council members agreed that they would prefer to remove the trees to free up more Glass Farm land for other purposes.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution that approved Home, Inc. as the development partner with the Village of four affordable homes to be located on Cemetery Street. While the project has sparked considerable discussion in recent months, there was no discussion at the vote, either from citizens or Council members. Home, Inc., a local community land trust organization, was the only applicant for the position of development partner.

• Council unanimously approved the transfer and sale to Peach’s of a small strip of Village-owned land that abuts that business. The price will be $1, according to Cundiff, who said the token price is a gesture of support for local businesses.

• Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that amends the zoning code to allow Internet sweepstakes cafes to locate in the general business district at the south end of town rather than the central business district, which is downtown. The move followed advice from Village Solicitor John Chambers that while the Village does not have the right to prohibit the cafes from coming to Yellow Springs, the municipality can limit where they can locate.

• Council unanimously approved the renewal of a lease for the farming of the Village owned Sutton Farm with Flatter Hereford Farms.

• Council unanimously approved loan applications for loans to complete an infiltration study for the Village wastewater treatment plant.

• Council unanimously approved renewing the Village’s involvement in the Chamber of Commerce marketing plan for 2011-2012, at a cost of $2,400.

• Council postponed a decision on a new contract for the Village’s solid waste removal.

•Council’s next regular meeting will take place Monday, July 18, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers.

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