nvdaily.com link to home page

Traffic | Weather | Mobile Edition
      Archives | Subscribe | Special Sections

Local News arrow Ryan Cornell arrow Utilities arrow Woodstock

| 0

Butchered trees upset Woodstock residents

After a crew hired by a utility company removed the branches of her pin oak tree on West Court Street in Woodstock, homeowner Cindy Rinker said she should have been given more notice. Photo courtesy of Cindy Rinker. (Buy photo)

By Ryan Cornell

Five months ago, Kenny and Cindy Rinker hired a professional tree trimmer to climb up the pin oak in front of their Woodstock home and remove its dead branches.

They spent about $500 for the services.

The pin oak, estimated to be about 70 to 80 years old, provides shade for the house, which can get hot in the evenings because of its western exposure.

"And there's nothing particularly spectacular about it except it's our tree," Cindy Rinker said.

So it was a shock to the Rinkers when they came home one day in mid-September to find their tree, and many others lining West Court Street, missing their branches and natural shape.

She said some of the trees looked like there were "giant V's" cut out of them while others appeared to be from the pages of a Dr. Seuss book.

"When you come up the street, it looks like a tree out of 'The Lorax,'" she said.

Cindy Rinker said they had received a letter from Dominion Virginia Power notifying them in advance of a tree trimming, but she said it was unclear when it would happen.

"My husband came home and drove up the hill and was shocked to see [half of] it was gone," she said. "There was no communication or anything.

"That, I think, is the most alarming thing," she said. "We weren't really consulted about it."

Dominion Power, which trims trees on a three-year cycle, gives homeowners a notice about a month in advance, said company spokesman Chuck Penn. He said customers signed up for the eBill program would receive it in their email inboxes.

Penn said the company only selects qualified electric utility tree trimmers who meet ANSI A300, the industry standards for tree care practices.

"Generally, trees that we trim are right on top of our lines, encroaching to the point of being a safety or liability issue," he said.

"We'll go through areas, and to keep them off conductors and power lines, it's always a balancing act between residential customers, who have a lot of financial and emotional investment in their homes," he said. "It's a sticky issue respecting property owners' value of trees and trimming trees for safety and reliability."

At the same time, the Woodstock Tree Board is hoping to increase the town's tree cover from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2021 through its Urban Tree Canopy Plan. Board Member Angela Clem said the board recently developed a tribute tree program in which people can donate $150 for a tree and $50 for a shrub.

She said they prepare the trees they want to plant and consult with a power company to ensure that they're not close to utilities.

"If we have the trees planted in the right place in the beginning, the trees can reach their full potential," she said.

A PDF document on the town's site, townofwoodstock.com/treelist, outlines the recommended trees to plant in urban areas with their mature heights and average crown spreads.

Cindy Rinker said a representative from Dominion Power met with them and agreed that the tree had been excessively trimmed. She said he offered to remove the tree at no cost.

But for now, she said she is hoping some of it will grow back.

"That's about all you can do," she said. "See what it looks like next year."

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

Keep up to date on local news

Sign up here to receive Northern Virginia Daily news delivered to your email box each morning and when breaking news occurs.


Comments that are posted represent the opinion of the commenter and not the Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com. View our comments/submisssions policy. Report abuse by clicking the X next to the comment.

Local News Sections

Affordable Care Act Agency on Aging Agriculture Alex Bridges Apple Blossom Festival Aviation Basye Berryville Boyce Breaking News Business Charities Civil War Clarke County Colleges Corrections Courthouse Notes: Permits, Transactions Courts & Legal News Crime & Public Safety Economy and Jobs Edinburg Education Edward N. Bell Election 2012 Entertainment Environment Fairs & Festivals Fire & Rescue Fishers Hill Fort Valley Frederick County Front Royal George Washington National Forest Guest Column Hard Times Health History Holidays Homes In The Spotlight Jeff Nations Joe Beck Josette Keelor Kim Walter Ledger Livestock Local Markets Maurertown Media Middletown Military & Veterans Moms Mount Jackson New Market Page County Pets & Animals Politics Progress 2013 Quicksburg Religion Rockingham County RSW Jail Ryan Cornell School News Shenandoah County Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department Star Tannery State Stephens City Steven A. Boyce Strasburg Toms Brook Traffic & Transportation Utilities Valley 911 Warren County Weather West Virginia Winchester Woodstock Year in Review

News | Sports | Business | Lifestyle | Obituaries | Opinion | Multimedia| Entertainment | Classifieds
Contact Us | NIE | Place a Classified | Privacy Policy | Comments/Submissions Policy | Subscribe

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137

2013 Virginia Press Association Sweepstakes Winner
The Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!

nvdaily.com | seeshenandoah.com