DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Trees, neighbors say, are a critical piece of the aptly-named community at Forest Lane and the Dallas Tollway. Yet nearly 100 of them are on the chopping block.
“When you go east on Forest, you see trees lining the Tollway, and that’s what you notice,” says HOA President Linda Vallala. “When those are going to be gone, all you’re going to see is cement.”
Oncor is removing the dozens of tree that line the Tollway. They’re on an Oncor right-of-way, and the energy company says it needs to make way for new transmission lines.
“Transmission lines, power lines really of any kind, don’t mix with trees,” says Oncor Communications Manager Grant Cruise. “Especially with these new transmission lines that we have, it’s a real danger to the community to have trees that high.”
Neighbors say the effects will be devastating – aesthetically, environmentally and financially, especially since the trees are a noise barrier from the Tollway.
“I think it could mean a decline in home values, and no one wants to sit in their backyard and enjoy the outdoors with noise pollution,” says resident Susan Luce.
Councilwoman Jennifer S. Gates says she and the neighbors fought for a compromise.
“We kind of pled with Oncor, Is there any way you could save any of the trees?,” she says. “We went to Oncor’s office to discuss it, and just roadblock after roadblock.”
But, with a booming population, she also understands the need to upgrade the system. Neighbors just wish it could done without uprooting their community.
“You don’t have to take them all down. You don’t. But it’s easier just to take them all down and cheaper, and that’s what’s sad,” says Vallala.
Oncor says it’s going to work with neighbors to find something in place of the trees to go in the right-of-way. This is also part of a larger, $17 million project that will go until the middle of next year.