JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Walter Sapp used to enjoy the majestic oak in his yard, before a JEA tree trimming contractor got to it.
Sapp, who lived near Lem Turner road for decades, is disappointed with how his tree looks now.
"I wanted them to stop and he said let him finish," said Sapp.
James Breland also is outraged with the heavy tree trimming project in his community. "I'm not happy; Woody Smith the president of our association is not happy," said Breland.
Breland, a member of the Garden City neighborhood association, is very critical of the JEA's tree trimming work. "JEA is a custodian of the public trust and they should be more in tune with what's going on today," he said
Breland acknowledge the utility has to cut back the trees from the power line, but he said they may have gone too far this time.
"This time they have really taken a lot of liberty to cut 20 feet from the line, from ground up to the top of the trees, not only that but they have cut into private property," he said.
The JEA identified the Garden City service area as one of the worst when it comes to multiple outages; they said the trimming is needed to improve service.
"We have to maintain that balance between the tree canopy and providing reliable service," said Gerri Boyce, JEA spokesperson,
Boyce said customers were told there would be "enhanced reliability trimming" in advance; there's only been one complaint.
"If people feel we've done an area that they think is too severe, we will go round the trees out and talk to them about what we can do to make them happy in that area," said Boyce. "But first priority is making sure the reliability is what it should be in these lines."
Breland understands, but he is still convinced the work could have been done and still save the beauty of the tree canopy in his neighborhood.
"We are also under brushing this circuit which involves removing all growth below the lines," said Boyce.
If it means going on private property, Boyce said, "We have homeowner permission to do this work."
JEA said it is 80 percent complete with the trimming work, but there are other phases of the project which should be completed in January.
The JEA identified the seven other areas for server power outages as:
- Circuit #148- U.S.1 /New Kings Road
- Circuit #589 - Craven Road/ Sunbeam Road/ Baymeadows
- Circuit #457 - Northwest Jacksonville/ Moncreif Road
- Circuit #503- San Souci/ Hogan Road/ Belfort road/ Touchton Road
- Circuit #421- Firestone Road/ Collins Road/ Blanding Boulevard
- Circuit #445 - Myrtle Avenue / Eight Street
- Circuit #553 - Atlantic Boulevard/ Monument Road
First Coast News