by Shannon Royster
HERMITAGE, Tenn. – Residents have learned the landscape of an entire Davidson County neighborhood is about to change drastically, and that has homeowners upset.
In order to avoid fines of up to $1 million a day per violation, Tennessee Valley Authority officials said they have to take down hundreds of trees in one Hermitage subdivision. Neighbors had the option of trimming trees back in the past
Sharon Shoemake said she and her husband Richard have lived in the Lake Park subdivision for 24 years.
"It's nice to sit on the deck and look at what we've created, but it’s all going to be gone," she said.
Just about every single tree in the Shoemake's backyard will soon be leveled. The TVA has a right of way of 75 feet from its transmission lines and the right to remove any trees that fall within it. Sharon just recently got the news.
"I cried, and I am devastated because we've watched these trees grow," said Sharon.
Some of them have been growing more than 100 years. They too will go. Anything in border areas on either side of the power line that could possibly grow more than 15 feet in height could also be taken down.
Sharon was hoping for some kind of compromise.
"It is they're discretion as to what they cut down, and they're not giving us any options or alternatives," she said. "They're giving us no time."
The Shoemake's have not been the only residents to become upset. Most of their 218 neighbors also received notice.
"There will be no privacy," said Ben West, a Lake Park resident. "The de-evaluation of our property will be in effect."
TVA officials will start tagging what they consider dangerous trees Monday in an effort to comply with its rules and deliver reliable power to the Tennessee Valley.
Sharon said what’s happening isn't fair.
"This neighborhood has always been willing to work with TVA and we have complied with their request to trim trees and they have just flat out betrayed us," she said.
Scott Brooks with the TVA said Sharon's neighborhood was not targeted.
In a statement, he said, the "TVA fairly and consistently applies the same vegetation management standards to our right-of-way easements across all 16,000 miles of transmission lines, regardless of neighborhoods."
The response has not been good enough for residents. They have not given up the fight. The HOA president of the Lake Park Community hopes to get an injunction to stop TVA.