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City of Berea wants to cut down trees on private property at risk of falling, residents say no

Posted at 6:58 PM, Apr 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-12 18:58:54-04

The city of Berea wants to pass an ordinance that would allow it to go onto a homeowner's private property to cut down what the city considers to be nuisance trees.

City officials say they have gotten many concerns about dying trees from residents.

“We’ve had a lot of complaints in terms of private property trees that pose real risks to both safety and property,” said Berea Safety Director Barb Jones.

Jones said it’s all about safety, but she understands it’s a sensitive issue.

“We’re not anxious to go on private property as a rule, because some people are really concerned about their privacy rights,” Jones said.

Jones said after the city receives a complaint, an arborist determines whether or not the tree needs to come down. If yes, the homeowner would be cited and given 30 days to have the tree cut down.

“Thirty days? Give them 60 or 90 I would say. Thirty days isn’t enough time. It’s expensive these days to cut down a tree and have it hauled away,” Berea resident Dave Schneider said.

If the tree isn’t removed, the ordinance would give the city the authority to cut the tree cut down and charge the homeowner for removal.

“Then we would bill them, and if they are unable to pay then it's assessed to their property taxes,” Jones said.

Berea resident Bill Borts, who has seven tall and old evergreens in his backyard, said the whole thing makes him uncomfortable.

“I really don’t want them on my property. They can come, but I would rather have a second opinion on my own. Wouldn’t you if it was your property instead of just going by what they say?” Borts said.

Bay Village and Lakewood, which are known for having a lot of very old trees - many over a hundred years old - have similar ordinances.