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Trees, sidewalk damage – who owns, who pays?

Letter-to-the-Editor-698x408

By

Editor, Index-Tribune:

Ruthmary Thomas is not the only one who is perplexed by the city’s rules on trees and sidewalks (Letter to the editor, June 13, “Not our tree, not our sidewalk; why should we pay?”). On the one hand, you are not allowed to remove a tree in the parking strip, even though it is damaging the sidewalk and curb. On the other hand, when the damage continues and is a clear danger, you are responsible for replacement, which can amount to thousands of dollars.

Several years ago, three of my neighbors had trees removed and sidewalks and trees replaced, at no cost to them because they were a danger to the public.

Shortly after that, I petitioned to have my tree removed. By this time, the city was charging $250 for tree removal and sidewalk repair, but I felt the tree was causing too much damage. I was denied.

Unsightly asphalt and grinding down the sidewalk was the way it was dealt with. The damage continued. I petitioned again, and was successful.

I paid $250, the tree was cut down, but the sidewalk remained a hazard. When I brought this to the city’s attention, I was sent a letter saying I had 30 days to have the sidewalk repaired by a contractor with all the necessary permits and insurance.

By the city’s own admission, there are unsafe sidewalks all over town. Is the new policy a threat if you complain? Do homeowners just be quiet and let their insurance take care of it if there is an injury?

Kendall Fields, where are you? We need to have some answers. Who owns, who pays?

Florence Lose

Sonoma