Blount County neighbors concerned with tree-trimming helicopters

Local News

Past winding roads, horse farms and greenery, there’s a neighborhood in Walland where neighbors are concerned about tree trimming by the city.

One neighbor says she thought a “monster” was in her front yard, hearing the tree-trimming helicopter 50 to 60 yards away. 

“You can see where they just shredded all these trees,” said Rhea Morgan. 

Morgan has lived in the area near Ellejoy Crossing Way for 16 years. She says this was a first. 

“Alcoa Electric explained it to me, it’s a line man’s way of looking at clearing,” said Morgan. 

The Alcoa Electric Department comes every five years, according to Morgan, to trim trees and keep them out of the way of electric lines. This year, they took a more aggressive approach, one Morgan says she wasn’t informed about. 

“This, to me, is multiple times more destruction than is needed to achieve that. It’s multiple times more,” said Morgan. 

In June, the City of Alcoa posted on Facebook about the change. 

Alcoa Electric to Utilize Helicopter to Support Tree Trimming: As the City of Alcoa Electric Department continues more aggressive efforts to trim trees that relate to power outages, the City’s contractor will be using a specially equipped helicopter to support its tree trimming work

Morgan says, the neighborhood wasn’t informed directly and she says many of her neighbors wish there was more of a conversation on the best way to keep the power lines away from trees, while protecting the trees. 

Morgan says 151 trees on her property have been mutilated, something she says decreases property value. 

She says once she called Alcoa Electric, they’ve agreed to move the debris within the next 10 days. Before her call, it would’ve taken a month. 

Morgan says she’s hopeful the city is willing to work with the neighborhood to make safe changes. 

“This method is not refined and not precise, so it does a tremendously great amount of damage compared to what road crews can do,” said Morgan. 

An FAA Spokesperson says: 

The FAA investigated the report and determined that the helicopter was operated in accordance with the Federal Aviation Regulations.

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