The goal is to retain a healthy and attractive urban canopy while maintaining accepted public safety standards and system reliability. Employees of the City and tree maintenance companies working under contract to the City shall perform all pruning and removal of trees for the City of Tallahassee that is necessary for the public's health, safety and general welfare in accordance with the following:
- All tree management will be limited to what is necessary for the proper maintenance of existing and new utility facilities in order to provide safe and reliable utility service.
- The utility shall develop standards to minimize clearing distances for 18 month cyclical pruning. The standards shall be tiered to recognize growth patterns of different species and maintain the essential character of the trees.
- The Utility shall continue its program of community education to ensure that the public is made aware of the need for utility pruning, what to expect when the pruning trucks come into a neighborhood and to allow citizens to express their concerns and get answers before trimming begins.
- On a scheduled basis, the Utility shall review areas of its system in advance of utility clearance pruning and develop a plan for pruning, replanting and implementation of alternatives to pruning, if appropriate, within such areas. The area plans developed by the Utility shall be reviewed on a timely basis by a review team consisting of the utility forester; the urban forester; or, if trimming of a canopy road is involved, the canopy roads coordinator. The review team will consider alternatives and will recommend to the Utility any changes to the plan that should be considered to further the purposes of the City's tree trimming policy.
- Should disagreements on tree management techniques arise between the Utility and the owner of property on which an affected tree is located, the owner of property adjoining or immediately across from the property on which the affected tree is located, or citizens' groups, such as neighborhood or business associations for the areas to be trimmed, a dispute resolution committee shall be convened which shall be made up of the utility forester or his designee, a neighborhood representative and a third member agreeable to both. The committee shall render a resolution of such conflicts unless overriding reasons of public safety or system reliability exist, in which case the Utility shall be the party responsible for the final decision. In the event that an individual is the complaining party then the Utility may, but is not required to, impose a charge for the dispute resolution proceedings that is reasonably related to the expense incurred by the Utility in convening the committee. In the event the Utility exercises its override authority contrary to the majority recommendation of the dispute resolution committee, any such charge imposed should be refunded to the complainant.
- A qualified citizen's committee shall be reconvened three years after adoption of the Recommended Operating Plan ("ROP") to review the effectiveness of the plan in meeting the goals of maintaining acceptable public safety standards, cost effectiveness, and system reliability while preserving a healthy and attractive urban canopy.
These recommendations were developed jointly by the Tallahassee Citizens Tree Trimming Advisory Committee and Tallahassee's Electric Utility as guidelines for use by the City's utility tree trimming crews while pruning trees near power lines.
> Request a tree to be trimmed that is threatening a power line
The following is a list of standards with appropriate guidelines for implementation which will be followed by and for the City's Electric Utility for electric line clearance and tree trimming.
- Target clearance distance will fall within the 4' - 6' range, trimmed according to ISA standards.
- Tree growth regulators (TGRs) will be applied to significant trees in those areas where pruning to preserve tree health and character may not provide necessary line clearance to support a system wide trim cycle. TGRs must be species-specific to avoid tree damage.
- When any tree twelve (12") inches dbh and larger must be removed due to public safety reasons or when the tree cannot be professionally maintained underneath the power lines, the City will offer to provide a seven (7) gallon replacement tree. Stumps from trees removed by the City will be removed six (6) inches below the ground surface.
- The primary goal of the tree replacement program shall be to preserve and maintain the urban tree canopy, and not to replace removed trees with small, utility-compatible trees.
- The Utility shall continue to monitor the operating costs associated with line clearance operations and should attempt to compare accurately the relative costs between areas trimmed under the previous operating permit and new Recommended Operating Plan (ROP).
- The Utility will evaluate alternative system engineering design whenever trees twenty-four (24") inches (dbh) or larger trees to be affected. If the alternative design is determined to be economically viable the Utility will perform the alternative construction.
- The Utility should continue to explore and propose to the commission alternatives for converting overhead lines to underground transmission.