Who is responsible for tree trim and removal?

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I just bought a house that was vacant for months, after hurrican Wilma came through three large black olive trees in front of the house were damaged.
I called the tree company out and they said two of them need heavy pruning, and because it was never properly pruned there are some rot and termite infestation as well. But they cannot trim it because it's the County's trees. The third one is completely unbalanced and is a hazard waiting to happen, it's leaning and the root is coming up a bit on the other side, bulging the concrete sidewalk.
All three trees are on the side of the County's street and outside of my property line. I was told I am responsible to maintain these trees even though they are not mine technically.
The County told me to trim and prune trees I need a file a permit. Over $100 per tree. Now the tree guy will prune it for $300 a tree, and an additional $600 to haul away the branches. If the unbalanced tree need removal, I have to pay much more...for removal, for stump grinding and for hauling away, and County require a 100% canopy replacement and higher permit fee. This will result in thousands!!!
This is not even on my property! I thought I pay property taxes for things like this!
MC
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I would talk to my local councilman about this, it doesn't sound right to me.
I have known of many places where the county/city government takes full resp for trimming trees on their public lands. This could vary from place to place, but it simply doesn't sound right to me.
Try to contact your area's councilman, and also call your mayor's office. Some one may be giving you some bum info.
Good luck !!
--James--
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miamicuse wrote:

I'd call my homeowner's insurance carrier -- he has an interest in not having the thing crash through the roof, and might be able to get something done.
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CJT wrote:

Having read the horror story from the other poster, I should add that insurance companies aren't always the best to deal with, either, so be sure to think it through first.
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One thing that comes to mind: If you explain the problem to the insurance company, it's an admission that you know about the problem, and if you don't get this solved before it does fall down, they may blame you and not want to pay.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't counsel people to avoid admitting the truth, but you have been diligent here and are trying to do the right thing. Yet, if you get sick or distracted, or have to work overtime, or get temporarily sent to another city, etc. there are a lot of things that could cause you not to make it through the next stage in a timely manner.
Of course, you've already admitted that you know about this to a bunch of people, but I don't think it is the same as telling the insurance company directly. GEICO seems to have records of every time I asked them a question and what I asked (damn computers).
I would also suggest you ask your neighbors, especially those with nicely trimmed trees in front, how things work.
Is the city saying that because so many trees were damaged they can't keep up with the trimming they normally do themselves? If so, I think they should waive the 100 dollar charge. If so, when do they expect to catch up?
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wrote:

damaged.
termite
County's
to
side,
my
even
Over
need
No, this is not that they cannot keep up with maintaining their grass and trees. I was told as a home owner I am responsible to maintain the area between my property line and the edge of street pavement. That means I need to mow the grass there and trim back trees there. It does not sound logical but that's what the county told me.
MC
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Sounds like it is your problem to deal with. Welcome to the world of home ownership.
I spent about $1200 on my lot for tree trimming and care, after being here 10-12 years. I figure I'll have to spend/do that once a decade or so. (slow growing maple/oaks in zone 5)
-- If I had something witty to say, this is where I'd say it.
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John Hines wrote:

This thread reminded me that I needed to call the city because one of the boulevard trees (that's what they called it; it's between the sidewalk and the street) has about a 6 inch limb that's dead and overhanging the sidewalk. Someday it will break suddenly and fall on the sidewalk. I asked them whether I was supposed to cut it or if it was their responsibility.
The lady at the Parks Department said they would get someone out right away to take care of it.
Best regards, Bob
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wrote:

and
area
need
logical
wow that's great. the trees on the right of way have same problem and I called - they said yes you need to trim it but not more than 25% and you need to pay for it and no it's not your trees.
guess my city and your city are very different.
MC
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On Tue, 13 Jun 2006 01:15:53 -0400, "miamicuse"

The legal property description should reflect any "easement" that allows the county on the property to fix or install utilities. Do these trees have power lines along the easement? Florida Power and Light may be able to clarify questions if there are power lines involved. They contract to have trees trimmed away from power lines.
I grew up on a property that had a "high line" crossing our back lot. We could not put a house on the lot, because of this "easement" for FPL. We still had to mow that lot for many, many years.
It's your property and you are most likely are responsible for maintenance, but they have a legal authority to enter your property.
Oren
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wrote:

need
logical
No no powerlines. There is a storm drain line underneath though. But back to your FPL question, FPL no longer trim trees in south Florida anymore. They used to but not anymore.
MC
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On Tue, 13 Jun 2006 22:45:55 -0400, "miamicuse"

Or it could be *their* property but he is charged with maintaining it.
I don't object to that, only to the exorbitant fee and that it is per tree to do so.
Seems to me the city can't avoid its liability for injuries caused by falling limbs or trees, just because they have charged the homeowner with that responsibility, so that if there is a claim by anyone other than the city or the homeowner, both the city and the homeowner would be jointly and severally liable.
OTOH, in the USA I think because of the rules in England at the time, all levels of government were originally immune from suit and they are only vulnerable now to the extent that the national government or the state has said they are. That's what the US Court of Claims is for iirc. And that's why in NYC for example one has to file a 30 day notice of claim, within 30 days, rather than the normal statute of limitations for torts, a year or three.
So maybe Miami? has never accepted liability for injuries caused by its trees.

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On Tue, 13 Jun 2006 01:15:53 -0400, "miamicuse"

Then requiring a 100 dollars per tree to trim what they have told you to trim sounds ridiculous. I guess if your house is a rattrap or downs't meet code they require you to repair it, and than might require you to get a building permit, for which they charge, but in that case I thought the charge was only the cost of processing the permit. And it was the same no matter how big the project was, right? But here they are charging per tree.
We lived in the suburbs and the county owned more land than they had used for the road. Maybe 15 feet was theirs. I don't know if we were required to mow the lawn, but I know they weren't going to do it.

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(snip) .

of
(snip)
Are you absolutely sure about the property line? It's been my experience (in several states) that except for numbered state highways, the property actually runs into the road, and the road is on an easement. Do you have a plat for your land, and at least one surviving corner marker to work backward from?
aem sends....
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Mine is about four feet shy of the road. Original pins are still in the ground. Last house same way. I guess it can vary by state or very old roads.
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(in
Yes, I just purchased the property and have the survey plat.
The concrete sidewalk is outside of the property line and the swale is outside of the sidewalk. I was told I am responsible for mowing the swale and upkeep of the trees.
MC
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On Wed, 14 Jun 2006 02:16:41 GMT, "ameijers"

The street (called Spring Mill Road) I referred to was in Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis but still in Marion County. I'm sure there is a spring and there was a mill within the first half mile, where there is a big hill, but after that it was straight for 2 miles, from 62nd to 80th Street.
The road was not numbered, but there were plans to widen it if necessaray. 45 years later, still two lanes, still not that busy and not widened. There is a 6 lane Meridian Street a half mile to the east which carries a lot of traffic, and an expressway which requires one to go to the east or west a couple miles, before coming back about 87th st.
Some of the neighbors planted their bushes within their property line, and others planted next to the road. I guess we probably would have been made to mow the lawn, and to trim the trees if anyone had planted any. But paying for a permit to trim trees that must be trimmed sounds annoying.

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miamicuse wrote:

Could be worse.
One chap noticed a dead tree on the highway right-of-way next to his property. Called the highway department and reported same. They said they'd take care of it.
Two days later, a tree-trimming crew came onto the reporting-person's property (while he's at work) and cut down (and hauled away) a 40-year old, healthy, pecan tree, over 100 feet inside the person's property line. Dead tree still standing.
Citizen goes ballistic. Calls the highway department, demands satisfaction. Threatens to sue everybody in the highway department, along with all their relatives and everybody they ever knew!
Highway department is apoplectic. Apologizes profusely and promises to make things right. Even mentions restitution.
Early the following week, a different tree-cutting crew cuts down 75-year-old healthy oak - over three feet in diameter at the base - also on citizen's property. This tree likewise 100 feet inside citizen's property line, and 150 feet from highway. Dead tree still untouched.
Citizen goes into nuclear meltdown -- we're talking pitchforks and torches. Having leared from hard experience, citizen doesn't mess with highway department again, as he still has several sturdy trees left. TV cameras appear, some national. Jay Leno reports on the screw-up. Governor's office picketed. Environmental Protection Agency wants a report. Little children weep on camera. Close-up of destroyed bird-nest (with eggs). Oh, the horror of it all !
Moral: Unless these trees will hit something if they fall over, DON'T INVOLVE THE GOVERNMENT. The county will burn down your house, kill your dog, molest your children, and deport you to Slovenia. The trees will remain untouched.
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says...

Other Moral: That's why they *FLAG* the problem tree, so there's less ambiguity about it. If the homeowner had flagged the dead tree with fluorescent tape and specified that when reporting the problem the first time, there's a good chance even the dimmest of crew chiefs could have figured out which tree was the problem.
Private tree services can have the same problems, don't assume you're off the hook if you hire them yourself. Flag the tree, put a sign on it, and *be there when the work is done* even if it means unpaid time off work.
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Sounds like an "urban legend" to me. Any documentation?
Bob
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