UPDATE (10/30/18, 1:25 p.m.): Council Member Jennifer Staubach Gates reports that after a meeting this morning with Oncor, the company has agreed to chop down the trees immediately below the lattice towers that need updating, but to pause before removing more trees. Gates mentioned a 1989 ordinance that speaks to noise mitigation and said that the NTTA was concerned about removing the trees along the slope wall. Neighbor Richard Brown attended the meeting and says that he was pleased that Oncor agreed to the pause. He said it showed him that the company is trying to find a solution. “That’s a big change,” Brown says. “They were intending to mow them all down.”

UPDATE: Oncor started chopping down the trees along the North Tollway between Forest Lane and Harvest Hill, but Council Member Jennifer Staubach Gates summoned Oncor and NTTA to City Hall Oct. 30 for an early meeting, according to the Melshire Estates Homeowners Association newsletter. Richard Brown has been designated as the community representative for tomorrow’s meeting. If you have feedback, please call him at 972-567-1852. He promises to report back tomorrow about what he finds outs.

Here is Gates’ message to our neighborhood: 

“I have been working with the City Attorney’s office and the City Secretary to obtain all the agreements between NTTA and the City. It is important to understand NTTA is opposing the removal of the trees because they are concerned about the impact to the integrity of the wall if the trees are removed. NTTA is willing to meet with the community as well.  I just spoke with them.”

In a past interview with the Preston Hollow Advocate, Gates hugged the historic tree in her backyard and talked about how important it was to her.

UPDATE: Melshire Estates neighbor Richard Brown met with Oncor, the North Texas Tollway Authority and Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates yesterday to see if they could prevent Oncor from cutting down the trees along the North Tollway between Forest Lane and Harvest Hill. But Brown says Oncor representatives made it clear that they don’t like trees under their power lines. Brown met again with Oncor representatives onsite this morning to try to understand their point of view. It wasn’t too long afterwards that the tree cutting started. “I don’t think that laying down in front of the bulldozers or chaining ourselves to the trees will help,” he says. But Oncor, Gates and the neighbors have pledged to keep working together.

Call it the great deforestation near Forest Lane.

Melshire Estates neighbors are outraged that Oncor plans to cut down nearly a mile of trees along the Dallas North Tollway between Forest Lane and Harvest Hill.

Neighbor Richard Brown on Quincy Lane plans to meet with representatives of Oncor, the North Texas Tollway Authority and Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates this afternoon about the situation. He says that Oncor has told him that the trees must come down so the company can replace old transmission towers with new ones. He acknowledges that Oncor owns the easement. However, Brown says that some of the trees, which he says are 40- to 50-feet-tall were planted to ameliorate the noise from the tollway.

In a letter to Brown, which was then distributed to members of the Melshire Homeowners Association, Andrea Sanders, Regional Area Manager for Customer Operations at Oncor, wrote that its engineers and planners had extensive meetings and concluded they could not upgrade the line with the existing trees. “I feel it would be unfair to the neighbors to schedule a meeting implying this remains an option, as this could lead to further frustration. I believe focusing on the mitigation plan such as new plantings, wall upgrade or other options that would address the noise and environmental concerns expressed by members of the community, would be most beneficial.”

Brown promises to update neighbors after today’s meeting. “I hope we can save some of these trees,” he says.

For more information from Oncor, click here.

Trees along the Tollway between Forest and Harvest Hill are getting the chop.


WANT MORE?
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.