Greenwich Tree Conservancy: Private Property Owners: You CAN protect your trees from unwanted removal by Eversource

Letter to the editor from JoAnn Messina, Executive Director of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy submitted Jan 25, 2019

The Greenwich Tree Conservancy often hears from residents who are given notice from Eversource requesting a tree on their property or abutting property be removed or significantly cut back. The resident then asks us what they can do to protect the tree which shades their property and adds to its esthetic, economic and health value. When trees are on private property, residents have the right to tell Eversource what is
acceptable to them.

The best idea is to say you want to be there when they do the work. Eversource has a guideline to clear ground to sky and 8 feet from the lines (UPZ) as they do in many towns, this is not Greenwich’s policy.

Nor can Eversource automatically take the tree down if it is not a public safety issue. They often say it’s a safety issue but they are speaking of safety to their lines, not safety to the public. They do have the right to prune the tree if it is currently interfering with the power lines or will be imminently.

Eversource’s contracted tree service is Lewis Tree Service they should prune in a careful way which they will do if you are present when the work is being done.

If a tree abutting your property is in the Town right-of-way, Eversource must obtain a
permit from the Town Tree Warden for pruning or removal by filing a written application and must give 15 days notice to an abutting property owner prior to pruning or removal in the UPZ (Utility Protection Zone) and within the public right-of-way,

Secondly, the Town Tree Warden must issue a decision 10 days from receiving an abutting property owner objection or request for modification, provided a requested consultation has taken place. The property owner or Eversource may appeal the Town
Tree Warden decision to PURA (Public Utilities Regulatory Authority).

The Tree Conservancy has published a Tree Rights for Property Owners brochure as well as a Public Utilities brochure that are available at Town Hall or can be viewed at our website

Don’t feel powerless when confronted with Eversource!

JoAnn Messina
Executive Director
Greenwich Tree Conservancy