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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    6

    Default Can You Block an Electric Company's Tree Removal Plan

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: Georgia. I have a question regarding rural Georgia local electric co. wanting to remove a row of 30+ yr cypress trees. They say they have a new policy to clear near the lines 15 ft. For the past 30yrs, they have top trimmed the same trees & left them intact. Several months ago, they contacted me saying they will be removing them. I denied them authorization stating I would seek legal counsel, which I didnít as I forgot about the issue. They are now contacting me again saying they want to remove them. They backed away with legal threat, which leads me to believe there is some loophole, something in their policy etc., that doesnít give them full rights to do this. Also, the trees have not caused any problems, outages, & do not limit acces to line workers. Any advice? Also, if the property is listed as conservation in the county does that make a difference? Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    16,877

    Default Re: Electric Company Tree Removal

    Quote Quoting Jenn Nelms
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    Any advice?
    Yes.

    Now that you have threatened to get a lawyer, get one.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2019
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    6

    Default Re: Electric Company Tree Removal

    Yes, thanks for the savy advice. In the process-but it never hurts to ask if someone has had similar experiences remedied without excessive cost.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,886

    Default Re: Electric Company Tree Removal

    Here a link to a GA Supreme Ct ruling on about cutting trees on a utility easement. I've not read through it so it may not be on point for you.

    https://accesswdun.com/article/2011/6/239909

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,300

    Default Re: Electric Company Tree Removal

    Quote Quoting Jenn Nelms
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    Any advice?
    You haven't provided any information that would allow anyone to provide any informed advice (although please take note of the disclaimer at the bottom of the page).

    I assume the trees are located on your property. Correct? Why does the electric company want to remove the trees. You wrote that the company has "a new policy to clear near the lines 15 ft." What does that mean (it seems like this sentence is missing at least a couple words)? You referred to "the lines," and I assume that means some sort of electrical wires. Are those wires located on your property? Does the company have an easement? If so, what does the easement say?


    Quote Quoting Jenn Nelms
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    Also, if the property is listed as conservation in the county does that make a difference?
    Please explain what "listed as conservation in the county" means.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2013
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    16,877

    Default Re: Electric Company Tree Removal

    Quote Quoting Jenn Nelms
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    Yes, thanks for the savy advice. In the process-but it never hurts to ask if someone has had similar experiences remedied without excessive cost.
    The Daniel decision addressed only the one year statute of limitations. Apparently the utility company destroyed trees in 2007 and destroyed vegetation in 2008 with the underlying dispute as to whether or not the utility company had an easement. The court ruled that action for the 2007 destruction was time barred but the action on the 2008 wasn't and the plaintiff could continue pursuing the action on the 2008 destruction.

    But the court also noted:
    if AEMC has a valid easement permitting its activities on the Daniels' land, then there could be no trespass or conversion in 2007 or 2008.
    https://scholar.google.com/scholar_c...en&as_sdt=4,11

    This seems to imply that, in your case, if the utility company did have a valid written easement it would have the right to cut down the trees.

    There are no further appellate decisions regarding the Daniel case. If you want to find out how that case turned out you will have to search the court records in Daniel's location and then read the case file.

    Jenn, I ran an additional search using the phrase "utility company easement rights" and came up with many. I'll leave it up to you to read them.

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?h...t+rights&btnG=

    Have you determined if the utility company has a valid written easement across your property? If so, get a copy and read it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Electric Company Tree Removal

    Yes, the trees are on my property. Yes, “lines” as in reference to electrical wires & they are partially on my property/1 of the supporting poles is located on my property. Removal of trees 15ft on either side of the electrical lines. I assume an easement would be listed in the property deed, right? I’m picking up a copy of the deed today. Conservation as in timber conservation covenant for 10 years (mainly for tax purposes).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
    Posts
    1,370

    Default Re: Electric Company Tree Removal

    Given that the Campfire fire was allegedly caused by power lines contacting trees, and that the land owners were not cooperative in trimming back some of those trees, utility companies are examining clearances with a much more careful eye. This may also lead the courts to be more lenient as to what may or may not be permitted.

    If utility power lines run over/through your property it is likely that there is an easement but it may not be listed on the current deed. I know it should, but it isn't always. Utilities are pretty aggressive in obtain easements as they are needed.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,281

    Default Re: Electric Company Tree Removal

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
    View Post
    Given that the Campfire fire was allegedly caused by power lines contacting trees, and that the land owners were not cooperative in trimming back some of those trees, utility companies are examining clearances with a much more careful eye. This may also lead the courts to be more lenient as to what may or may not be permitted.

    If utility power lines run over/through your property it is likely that there is an easement but it may not be listed on the current deed. I know it should, but it isn't always. Utilities are pretty aggressive in obtain easements as they are needed.
    This is Georgia though. Wild fires are not exactly common in GA.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    16,877

    Default Re: Electric Company Tree Removal

    Quote Quoting Jenn Nelms
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    I assume an easement would be listed in the property deed, right? Iím picking up a copy of the deed today.
    As Mark47 notes, the easement could be a separate recorded document. Look for that, too.

    Quote Quoting Jenn Nelms
    View Post
    Conservation as in timber conservation covenant for 10 years (mainly for tax purposes).
    Covenant with who or what?

    Based on what statute?

    It's unclear whether that gives you any rights against the utility company.

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