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June 26. 2013 10:31PM

Residents upset by clear-cutting in Rochester


Members of John C. Brown & Sons, Inc. use a chainsaw and a large brush mower attached to an excavator Wednesday to finish up clearing brush and trees under power lines - owned by Public Service of N.H. - near Springfield Estates in Rochester. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)

ROCHESTER — Residents from a housing association are worried about what the effects of clear-cutting under power lines will do to the buffer between them and an adjacent neighborhood.

The members of Springfield Estates Homeowners Association, a 36-unit development near Eastern Avenue, are concerned the clearing along their property by Public Service of New Hampshire — which has an easement — will devalue property, reduce their quality of life and force them to pay to establish another buffer, according to Desiree Crossley, a member of the board of directors with the association.

Crossley said most of the frustration arose from the lack of notice as PSNH did not notify Great North Property Management, which works with the association, until June 14.

"By that point, work had already begun in the area," Crossley said in an email.

"We have not received anything in writing from them, and while they keep saying 'routine pruning' and 'routine trimming,' this is way beyond trimming and pruning. This is clear-cutting and is an extreme measure, based on their access needs," Crossley continued.

"We also have no promises in writing that our property will be adequately protected from, or repaired, in the case that PSNH does any damage in its efforts to remove vegetation," Crossley wrote in the e-mail.

Crossley said clear-cutting the buffer will devalue the property, reduce privacy and allow easier access to the property from adjacent neighborhoods.

"We have a quiet, well-kept, tree-lined community uncommon in the downtown and it's a selling point for our association," Crossley said, adding cleaning up the debris and restoring the buffer could cost thousands.

"It appears the city has already paid to have the mess left by PSNH on its public housing property cleaned up, including logs, leaves, stumps, stripped tree trunks and wood chips," Crossley said in the email.

PSNH Spokesman Martin Murray said the utility company hired crews to perform "maintenance trimming and clearing" along a right of way under the power lines.

"All lines have to be at least a minimum number of feet from the ground and from other power lines," Murray said in an email Wednesday. "Lines tend to sag in extreme heat, for example, or when carrying large amounts of energy."

Nonetheless, Murray did not have any details about whether the lines were sagging due to the weather or if it was because power levels had increased.

Murray said PSNH is aware of the concerns residents from Springfield Estates and the company was "discussing options with the management of the association."

"We are always happy to work with abutting neighbors on methods to lessen any impact," Murray said in his email.

Murray did not provide examples of resolutions or compromises from other clear-cutting projects under power lines in the state.

jquinn@newstote.com


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