To the Editor: Tree removal plan criticized
Written by Marc A. Brunner   
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 09:34
I'm writing to express concern about foolish legislation working its way through the Bowling Green City Council, where the City Arborist has the authority to cite property owners for failure to remove dead and diseased trees. Failure to remove the trees within 60 days will result in a lien against the property.  There is no appeal process.
Why now? In the past how many dead trees have been removed by owners on their own schedule and as their budgets permitted without the intrusion of the Council and without incident to anyone? Hundreds if not thousands of dead ash trees were dead where they stood. Yet somehow we managed to remove them without this legislation.
I wonder if members of Council thought about the onerous burden this will create for property owner. Tree removal isn't cheap. Being forced to remove a tree, which the arborist solely deems a danger, may keep me from putting new tires on my car, from paying for my child's tuition, or keep me from replacing a furnace or roof. What about the retiree on a fixed income who can't afford to have the tree cut down within 60 days? That's easy. Just have the City hire someone to cut it down, and put a lien on the property so the kids can sort it out in probate!
And it's arbitrary. The arborist single handedly gets to decide which trees pose a danger. Are the trees on City-owned property exempt from this law? Will the arborist go easier on the City than he goes on citizens? Will the City only have 60 days to remove the tree? And why is he looking at my dead trees and not some dead trees on the other side of town? Shouldn't he be fair and account for all potentially threatening trees? What about trees on property lines?  It's hard to imagine legislation that so easily leads to caprice.
This is bad legislation. But even if it's adapted where those items that are most likely to lead to enforcement problems are removed, it's still a solution in search of a problem. As long as anyone can remember, autonomous citizens succeeded at managing removal of dead trees without the edicts of our local leaders. My hope is the Council realizes this and reverses itself from this foolishness.
Marc A. Brunner
Bowling Green

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