The United Illuminating Company's tree trimming program will soon be getting underway.
Ahead of that, the town is hosting a public meeting to give Fairfield residents the opportunity to hear directly from UI representatives — and to share their thoughts and concerns.
The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 27, in Tomlinson Middle School’s Auditorium, 200 Unquowa Road.
Representatives from UI will give a presentation, and then there will be "ample time" for residents to speak, according to a press release from First Selectman Mike Tetreau's office. In addition to Tetreau, the meeting will be attended by Fairfield's Tree Warden, Ken Placko.
The UI's tree trimming, or Vegetation Management Program, is slated to begin June 1.
“Based on requests for more information on UI’s plan to trim or remove trees, I want our citizens, business owners and any organization with trees that may be recommended for pruning or removal, to receive an opportunity to attend this meeting and give input before UI starts this program," Tetreau said. "This meeting will also help members of our community learn more about how this program will work.”
In early May, the State legislature passed a bill, which is still awaiting Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's signature, to increase the public’s input in how and when trees are trimmed under a utility trimming program.
According to the release from Tetreau's office, some fill highlights include:
- CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is now required to review the utilities tree trimming plans;
- CT Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) is to provide a biennial report to the Legislature reviewing the utility’s tree trimming policies;
- Refining definitions to focus on retaining healthy trees and clarifying that pruning must be done in a manner that retains the structural integrity and health of the tree;
- Clarifying the rights of those who have a tree entirely on private property and those who own property abutting or adjacent to trees in the public right of way;
- Providing that no work may be done on a tree entirely on private property without the affirmative written consent of the owner;
- Specifying information on the notice to be provided by the utility that one can object and that there is no liability for objecting;
- Objections can be mailed or emailed to the utility via a dedicated email account;
- PURA is required to establish a mediation process to hear objections and requests to revise the utility proposal, including a request for stump grinding. Final appeal still available to PURA; and
- Burden on the utility to prove that the public convenience and necessity require the work proposed.
For more information on UI’s Vegetation Program, go to “Protecting Your Service: UI’s Vegetation Program,” which can be found at www.uinet.com.