What rights do you have if a tree on public right-of-way came down on your car or house during Monday's storm?
Acting City Parks Director Brook Bench says homeowner's have a right to file a claim with the city. But first they must get three estimates. And then they can file the claim with the city's law department. But there is no guarantee that the city will pay for the damage.
Many trees is public right-of-way have been marked for removal with a spray painted “x” over the years. But due to a back log and limited resources, many of those trees are still standing.
Laureen Pickle lives near 61st and Miami in Benson and has had problems with a tree in front of her house before.
“Seven years ago we had those straight line winds and part of the tree fell down and took out my front porch and the car I had at the time. Totaled it,” Pickle said.
This time around her house was spared.
“This time it blew that way and took out my neighbors roof.,” she said. “And it took out part of her foundation.”
She is frustrated that it has taken so long for the city to remove the tree.
“There's been an 'x' on that tree for seven years. And I've called three or four times to the city to ask them when they're going to come cut it down. And they tell me that they're back logged. They're years behind,” said Pickle.
The acting parks director says, “We try to get to every tree we possible can. I know there's trees out there that are x'd. But when you have a storm of this magnitude with straight winds like that, x'd or not x'd, it's at the helm of mother nature,” said Bench.
But that doesn't help a homeowner's peace of mind.
“It's really frustrating,” said Pickle. “Because if that tree had blown that way, I would be minus a house today.”
A homeowner may have the option of paying a private tree service to remove a problem tree on city right-of-way. But it still must be arranged through the city parks department.