After being told their trees had to be chopped in order to protect power lines, some Potomac residents filed a restraining order against Pepco.
According to Pepco, the utility company bought the right to cut down trees on portions of what is now the Potomac Crest neighborhood to protect the power lines; they say cutting down trees is critical to providing reliable electricity.
Some of the Potomac Crest neighbors went to court and got a temporary restraining order. Jake Liang told News4 he called police Monday when tree cutters came to his home without permission. He says the workers continued taking the trees down once police left, so he decided to take action.
"If you're going to cut my trees, I'm going to stand here. If you're risk injuring me, go ahead, but I'm not leaving. This is my private property," Liang said.
Liang and his neighbors say the incident should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who owns property in Montgomery County.
"When you look at our documents, it doesn't say anything about, 'Oh by the way, Pepco, at their own discretion can just come into your yard and cut down your trees," homeowner Gregg Berman said.
In an email, a Pepco representative released the following statement:
“In 1959, more than three decades before Potomac Crest was built, Pepco bought and paid for both its property and the right to cut and remove trees on portions of what is now Potomac Crest that in Pepco’s “sole and exclusive judgment” could interfere with or fall on any of Pepco's poles or lines. This right was recorded in the land records of Montgomery County in 1959, so everyone who bought a house in Potomac Crest next to our property has been subject to this right.
"Pepco met with Potomac Crest property owners on June 24, June 25 and July 15 in an effort to work collaboratively with them. Nonetheless, four homeowners decided to file a lawsuit.
"This litigation is about the aesthetic concerns of four Potomac homeowners who chose to buy homes adjacent to Pepco’s transmission and distribution lines. The work we are trying to do is critical to the delivery of safe and reliable electric service to tens of thousands of our customers, including schools and public safety, public health and other critical facilities.
"The court order permits Pepco to proceed with some with some tree removals and Pepco is in compliance with the court order."