Town Manager Update

July 11, 2012

At its meeting on July 10, 2012 the Needham Board of Selectmen asked representatives from NSTAR to explain the rationale for proposed vegetation management efforts in the Utility's right of way (ROW) in Town. The purpose of the vegetation management plan, they said, is to provide for the safe and reliable transmission of electricity by removing potential hazards. NSTAR Senior Arborist Bill Hayes outlined the utility's plans, which include removing all vegetation with a mature height of greater than three feet in the wire zone and vegetation with a mature height of greater than 15 feet in the border area.

Mr. Hayes said that NSTAR contractors are scheduled to perform this work along the ROW in Needham in the next month or so. The electric utility transmission ROW in Needham runs from the Dover line to the West Roxbury line, generally mirroring the railroad ROW.

Representative Denise Garlick, Senator Richard Ross, and all members of the Board of Selectmen expressed concern over the plan, and asked that the vegetation management program be delayed until further information and additional communication efforts can be arranged. They urged NSTAR to consider a phased approach.

Residents living near the electric transmission ROW expressed concerns over the quality of life in their neighborhoods if a significant number of mature trees are removed all at once.

Barry Salvucci, Community Relations and Economic Development Specialist with NSTAR, noted that he was not authorized to promise any delay to the proposed work but agreed to bring the concerns expressed by residents and elected officials to the appropriate parties at NSTAR. Further information will be posted as soon as it is available.