On May 28, 6:42 pm, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
That story from Charlotte sounds like an excellent test case for the
"tree ordinance" in that city... It sounds as if Charlotte is trying
dictate how the church must do its landscaping...
The church could quite easily defeat this tree ordinance on the
basis that the method they use to trim their trees back is an
aspect of the practice of their religion and is therefore protected
from regulation under the First Amendment protections...
While the trees that were trimmed may in fact be damaged,
the pictures posted with that article didn't show enough
detail about how and where they were cut... But somehow
this smells like the city wanting to extract its pound of
flesh from an otherwise tax exempt organization...
MANY cities have "tree ordinances" - and removal of hardwood trees,
in particular, from a property requires permission from the city.
Also: Particularly on commercial and institutional properties, the
landscaping, including the trees, is part of the registered "site
plan" which comprises part of the "building permit". The site plan
includes grading, stormwater management, and landscaping "features"
such as trees and ornamental plantings, as well as burms, parking
areas etc - and to change ANY of that requires permission from the
building or planning departments. Usually there is a minimum number of
trees that must be planted/maintained . A case could possibly be made
for removat of trees that were planted in excess of the requirement,
as long as they were not trees that were specified as "required" in
that location. However, I would err on the side of caution and check
with city hall before removing or altering in any major way, any tree
on such a property.
I live dangerously and trim low-hanging branches from city owned trees
on the boulevard in front of and beside my house when they get low
enough to comb my hair when walking under them on the sidewalk or when
mowing the grass -, or when they interfere with trees growing on my
own property and the city crews have not done anything about it. They
generally trim the street side to keep the busses and garbage trucks
from catching and tearing off limbs but appear to be blind to the
On May 29, 12:07 am, email@example.com wrote:
"tree ordinances" are irrelevant if this church made the argument
that such an ordinance impacted its ability to freely practice its
religion which is a protected right under the first amendment...
it also seems that some ordinances only cover removal and
replacement of removed trees but leave what constitutes
"trimming" open to too much interpretation... a "trimmed"
tree is *not* removed if it remains alive in the same spot
even though its size may have been greatly reduced...
around my area of the country trees have to be kept trimmed
so that there is a minimum of 6 feet from the lowest branch
to the surface of the ground level wherever a tree is located near
a sidewalk, walkway or pedestrian traffic, this is so people
walking will not catch their head on low branches and you
generally see 7 or 8 feet from the ground to the lowest branch
overhanging a sidewalk or walkway because people over
6 feet tall are somewhat common...
I don't know if you're familiar with Crepe Myrtle, but it's a rather nice
flowering tree that grows rather prodigiously. It's often hacked back to its
trunks (known as "Crepe Murder") to keep it woody and from growing too
large/fast. The article mentioned that they cut it back like that every few
years. That's pretty normal pruning for Crepe Myrtle. It does *not*
permanently damage the tree. In fact, the city does it with the Crepe Myrtles
in the boulevards, here.
Since that tree existed before the houses did, it's not up to either
homeowner to decide. It's up to God, mother nature, and the tree
itself. If the tree has anything to say, it will want both homes torn
down, because they are shading the tree from natural sunlight. So, in
summary, the solution is to tear down both houses.
Generally, each property owner trims those limbs which are above his
property. And, generally, one can trim as they wish...in some locales,
it is a code violation (probably to prevent spiteful acts) to mutilate a
tree (as in trimming all of the growth from one side).
Ideally, the two neighbors could go together and either have the tree
trimmed or removed. An arborist can thin out limbs so their is more
light and dead twigs are removed, and do it so that the tree is still
healthy and attractive.
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