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Lexington officials, Kentucky Utilities reach joint resolution on tree management

LINDA GORTON SPEAKS FOR THE TREES.jpg
Posted at 9:13 AM, Aug 19, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The tree saga between the city of Lexington and Kentucky Utilities continues.

Mayor Linda Gorton, members of Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council, and officials with Kentucky Utilities announced a resolution on how the company will manage trees located under power transmission lines throughout Fayette County.

The mutual agreement addresses concerns related to KU's tree management work—tree trimming, removal, and replacement practices—which are part of KU’s ongoing system maintenance.

Among the updates to KU’s vegetation management program:

  • KU is modifying the analysis used to determine which trees, within or on the borders of its transmission rights-of-way, must be trimmed or removed;
  • Monetary compensation for private property owners with trees impacted by the work will increase by 20%, during the initial reclaim cycle;
  • And the utility will continue its coordination with the city on replantings on public property.

Gorton’s six requests, met by KU, were:

  • Consider potential for changes and compromise to reduce the amount of tree cutting
  • More robust revegetation on private and public property easements
  • Better notification to neighborhoods and neighbors
  • Allow LFUCG to provide input on the stormwater study KU intends to conduct in the Lakeside area
  • Study the Kentucky geological survey maps for potential sinkhole impacts
  • Implement at least a minimum 30-day moratorium to consider the above requests.

Councilmembers voted July 5 on their initial approval of the joint Memorandum of Understanding.

With Thursday's final approval by the Council, the city will dismiss its previously suspended legal action and KU will resume its vegetation management work under the new agreement.