Sheriff's deputies called in to help with KUB tree dispute

Sheriff's deputies called in to help with KUB tree dispute

Posted:
KUB officials said the tree's limbs were within the utility easement and had to come down. KUB officials said the tree's limbs were within the utility easement and had to come down.
Mary Langdon said she needs the trees to block golf balls from hitting her home. Dozens still make it through with the trees in place. Mary Langdon said she needs the trees to block golf balls from hitting her home. Dozens still make it through with the trees in place.
Damage to Langdon's home from golf balls. Damage to Langdon's home from golf balls.
KUB brought sheriff's deputies with them while cutting down the trees. KUB brought sheriff's deputies with them while cutting down the trees.
"We believe what they are doing is excessive. It's not reasonable and it's not necessary," said attorney Larry Silverstein. "We believe what they are doing is excessive. It's not reasonable and it's not necessary," said attorney Larry Silverstein.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville homeowner is locked in a dispute with KUB over some trees that the utility calls a safety hazard.

Mary Langdon has lived on property along Beaver Brook Country Club. A line of pine trees were planted as a buffer to protect the home from golf balls from the club's course, a buffer that worked until 2010 when KUB cut back several of the trees, causing two to die.

"She's had at least a thousand golf balls in the last several years hit her house, hit her swimming pool, hit her garage and it's dangerous," said attorney Larry Silverstein.

Now Langdon and Silverstein fear she will be inundated again. The two met with KUB several times about how much they would trim, but never agreed. Langdon believes the branches aren't anywhere near the lines.

"We believe what they are doing is excessive. It's not reasonable and it's not necessary," said Silverstein.

Officials with KUB say it all comes down to safety.

"As you can see, the utility easement is staked with the orange wooden stakes and the trees are growing inside that utility easement," said Elizabeth Hannah with KUB. "We've made an exception so we don't have to cut down the pine trees entirely, but we do have an obligation to keep a safe distance between the trees and the power lines."

Ultimately KUB's decision was final and when crews showed up to begin cutting they were accompanied by several Knox County sheriff's deputies to make sure no one stood in there way, a move Silverstein calls aggressive.

"Whether we think it's legal or reasonable or not, they are going to do what they want and I think it's wrong and I think it's up to our city and county and mayor and public officials to say enough is enough," said Silverstein.

Langdon and her attorney plan to keep pushing city officials to step in and create an independent review board with the hopes that this won't happen again in another four years.

KUB says they offered Langdon several other options including removing and replacing the trees with lower growing species outside of the KUB maintenance zone, but the she declined them all.

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