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
I would talk to my local councilman about this, it doesn't sound right to
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 !!
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
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
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.
Sounds like it is your problem to deal with. Welcome to the world of
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
email@example.com is Joshua Putnam
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