Tree trimming angers council

By Ryan Cornell

STEPHENS CITY — Town Council is firing back after workers from Shentel butchered the town’s trees along Main Street, according to council members.

Stephens City Town Manager Mike Kehoe said he was able to stop crews from cutting the trees earlier this summer, but “they came in another time when I wasn’t around and finished the job.”

“They definitely, in my opinion, degraded property values on Main Street and did a lot of damage by leaving the trees the way that they are,” he told council during its meeting on Tuesday. “And there needs to be a strong letter sent to them.”

He said trees in town are typically cut by a power company, which sends a representative in advance to notify residents and answer questions.

But according to council members on Tuesday, Shentel did not send any notice to the town before cutting the trees, which Town Attorney David Griffin said violates an ordinance.

“It’s in the town ordinance about tree cutting,” he said. “It requires pre-approval from the tree commission to do that.”

Griffin said he will draft a “strongly worded letter” pointing out the company’s violation of the town ordinance, to be sent to Shentel.

Shentel did not return a phone call Thursday asking for comment.

In other business, Town Council:

  • Approved a resolution requesting that the Virginia Department of Transportation establish an enhanced speeding zone on Fairfax Street and install the required appropriate signage
  • Approved a bonding agreement between the Town of Stephens City and West Wynd Development LLC
  • Approved a proclamation declaring Sept. 21-Sept. 26 as Sherando High School Spirit Week
  • Approved an ordinance providing for participation by a council member in town meetings from a remote location by telephone or other audio or video means
  • Appointed councilwoman Martha Dilg as interim mayor

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