tree trimming

In this 2017 file photo, a utility contractor trims tree limbs away from power lines.

Update 2 p.m.

OEC plans to replace trees being removed along Berry Road with ones that are better suited to be under power lines, said Autumn McMahon, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative spokeswoman.

The current tree canopy includes sweet gum trees that grow very tall and can create safety and power reliability issues around power lines, McMahon said. 

"Each of these trees is being removed by the request of the resident," she said, adding the power company wants to "plant the right tree in the right place.

"This will give homeowners a healthy tree that is not a risk and a tree that does not have to be repeatedly trimmed."

OEC will remove the trees and branches at no cost to the homeowner and is working with the city forester to determine the best tree fit.

The city and OEC have been working together on finding a solution to the Berry Road tree issue which has delayed the project, McMahon said. The work needs to be completed soon for safety reasons, she said.

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A group of residents is asking a a judge to temporarily stop Oklahoma Electric Cooperative from taking down trees along Berry Road.

The electric company plans to start removing 11 trees along the street this weekend.

Norman councilman Joe Carter is leading the charge as a neighborhood resident.

"They can trim the trees as they have always done. We think that is a reasonable request," Carter said.

Carter said the council wants to revisit the tree ordinance that the city established after OEC removed 16 trees along Berry Road in 2017. The council discussed trees during a recent study session, but Carter said it will take months to finish the process of updating the ordinance.

City Manager Darrel Pyle sent an email to council members Tuesday night explaining the electric company's tree removal plans and stating there are loopholes in the 2017 ordinance that allows the company to move forward with the tree removal.

Pyle told the Transcript state law allows utility companies easements to protect infrastructure. He said there is nothing the city can do to stop the work.

Carter said that is why he and other residents hired attorney Doug Wall to ask a judge to temporarily halt the work.

Calls to Wall and to OEC were not immediately returned this morning.

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