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Epping residents upset by tree trimming crew's work

Union Leader Correspondent

March 22. 2013 12:49AM

EPPING - Residents say they understand the need for utility companies to trim and remove dead trees to prevent problems with power lines, but some aren't happy with the mess that's been left behind on Blake and Prescott roads.

"They've left the logs all over the place in the ditches, which means there's going to be floods," Blake Road resident Isobel Parke complained to the planning board last week.

Selectman Karen Falcone, a resident of Prescott Road, said she arrived home after being away recently and found debris on her property and her fence damaged.

Falcone said the tree crews made a "terrible, terrible mess."

"I don't mind the public safety aspect of it. I mind the way they left the property," Falcone said.

The complaints were aired when the planning board held a public hearing last week on a plan by Public Service of New Hampshire to trim and/or remove trees and brush on several scenic roads.

While the hearing focused on PSNH's tree maintenance work, which the planning board approved, residents complained about the trimming and tree removal done recently by crews contracted by New Hampshire Electric Co-op, which also serves customers in Epping.

In response to the complaints, Seth Wheeler, spokesman for New Hampshire Electric Co-op, said the company has scheduled a meeting with selectmen April 1 to address any concerns and explain their practices.

"We're trying to be responsive to the town and the members," Wheeler said Thursday.

Wheeler said the company has received complaints from customers in the area of Blake and Prescott roads.

When it comes to cleaning up the leftover brush, Wheeler said crews usually pile it up to be chipped at a later time.

"This could be a situation where the cutter is a day or two ahead of the chipper, but they will come back," Wheeler said.

Wood that can be burned is usually stacked up and left for the property owner, he said.

After investigating the fence damage on Falcone's property, Wheeler said crews from Asplundh, the tree-cutting crew hired for the work, didn't believe one of their trucks caused the damage to the fence, but has agreed to repair it.

Some residents have also complained about stumps being left behind - a problem PSNH faced in 2008 when town officials expressed outrage after large trees were cut down but the stumps weren't removed.

Wheeler said some of the stumps were left high because of the snow. Once the snow melts, crews will return and the stumps were be trimmed down to the ground.

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