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Homeowners stumped
Wrong trees cut down
Chopped Tree 3 es
Robbie, Madeline and Megan Hilton stand next to a chopped tree. - photo by Emily Saunders
It appears contractors were working along the wrong road when they mistakenly cut down trees from several yards near Lake Lanier.

Not only did homeowners along Browne Circle not give permission to remove their trees, many weren’t even told about the city of Cumming water line project, said resident Jenni Hilton.

Hilton said about five of her pine and hardwood trees were cut down last week while she and her husband, Robbie, were at work. Hilton said the same thing happened to several of her neighbors.

“We just want to be notified on what’s going on,” she said. “It’s confusing, because we’re Forsyth County residents, but yet it’s the city’s project. So I think that’s why there are so many questions.”

Jon Heard, director of Cumming Utilities, said crews with W.L. Hailey & Company are extending a water line from the lake to a city water treatment facility.

He said the confusion could have stemmed from the final plans, which include laying pipe along county-owned right of way on Browne Circle.

“They cleared beyond the county’s right of way inadvertently,” Heard said.

He said the city worked with about half dozen homeowners on easement agreements that allowed the city to use their property to run the 48-inch-wide-pipeline.

The contractor removed trees from those properties along Magnolia Avenue, but then continued north onto Browne Circle.

Heard said Jarrod Imler, project manager with W.L Hailey, has been working to resolve the issue with Browne Circle residents.

“Everyone’s been very reasonable and we appreciate their working with the contractor to resolve the matter,” Heard said.  

The pipeline work should be completed by June and the disturbed land will be re-landscaped.

It is the final phase of the project that dates back to 2007. The new water line will allow the city to withdraw lake water from as deep as 1,020 feet above sea level.

“They really are an excellent contractor and they really have done an excellent job on everything they’ve worked on,” Heard said. “I believe this was truly just a mistake.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at