The city often takes charge of trees around power lines and on city land. Many homeowners and business owners think of these trees as their own, but the reality is that the city can come in and trim them or take them down entirely if they’re considered “danger trees.”
This can become problematic. In some cases, the trees actually did not pose a danger. In others, the city workers leave debris and branches all over the worksite. In still others, the work negatively impacts the curb appeal and the value of the property. This can get far more complex than many people realize.
The best place to begin, then, is by understanding what constitutes a “danger tree” and when action is needed.
A subjective issue
Also often called a “hazard tree,” experts are quick to admit that this is a subjective issue with no set definition. It typically just means a tree that appears to pose some type of risk to the property, usually because the tree or the branches could collapse. Whether or not the tree is a risk has to be assessed by those on the scene.
That’s when things can get confrontational. Say you have a large oak tree outside of your business. It’s always been there and people equate it with your company. You even made it into part of your company logo when you started the business.
However, that iconic tree is growing near a power line. What if the city comes in, decides that it’s too hazardous to have near the lines, and cuts off the most prominent branches? What if they claim the entire tree could fall into the street and they want to take it all down in a controlled manner?
You can understand their need for safety, but you don’t actually think the tree is a risk. It’s in great health. It’s been there for 100 years. You’re not worried about it falling. If the city takes it down, that can really impact your company in a negative manner. What can you do?
This is just one example of how property owners may disagree with government decisions. If you do, you need to know what legal options you have.