Homeowner order for tree trim on public right of way

An investigation into a tall order might surprise many property owners. A dangerous limb that was spotted by a city inspector was cut and now the closest homeowner has been told to pay. The woman told WOWT 6 News it's not fair because of where the tree stands.

Cheryl Weston lives along Emmet Street; she said a tree with dead branched posed a danger for those walking near the area.

"I'm concerned about the tree because we have kids in the neighborhood who walk up and down the street and those can fall out of the blue, there doesn't have to be a storm," said Weston.

A tree stands in public right of way in front of Shelly Brown's home.

"Its not my tree, its the city's tree," Brown told Six On Your Side.

But the city's Chief Field Inspector Dave Austin said many property owners don't realize that trees located in public right of way are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.

Brown got a notice with a deadline of next month, but city's inspector says he's flexible.

"If it got to the point our crews came and removed the dead wood out of the tree, you'd get a bill for it and have until the end of the year to pay it," Austin said.

Though Brown is grateful for more time to figure out how to get the tree trimmed, she isn't sure how she's going to pay it.

"I'm listening to him, but he's still saying I have to pay and I don't have money to pay. I'm barely living here," said Brown.

For the city's chief field inspector, convincing any homeowner they must pay for trimming a tree in public right of way can be a tall order.

"We want for you to have the time to fix this," Austin told Brown.

The city of Omaha sends out about 800 tree trim orders a year both on public right of way and private property. The inspectors will provide a list of licensed arborists and tree companies to help get the job done.