In Little Falls this winter, Catherine Stoch said trees on her property just off East Broadway were cut down without any notice from the city.
The maple, elm and ash trees had coexisted without problems from the power company and were on property grandfathered in as historic, she said. In addition to the trees, most of her grape ivy - used as a screen between neighbors - was removed.
During a winter without much time devoted to plowing snow, city street crews are working their way down project lists that include removing trees from the right-of-way. At the time, Stoch said she wasn't convinced the trees were a snowplowing problem to begin with. Two of the trees were behind power poles.
"Pruning I get, cutting I don't," she said. "What's the logic. What's in the way of the snowplow."
City Administrator Richard Carlson agreed in the Stoch case the city crew went beyond the right-of-way in its tree-clearing efforts. The city agreed to replant those trees this spring.
Widening the alleys is necessary for winter snowplowing and summer grading, Carlson said.
For Stoch, the bigger issue was a lack of communication. The city should have contacted property owners before cutting the trees, she said.
"I think communication with homeowners is something that really needs to happen," Stoch said.
Her example is likely to help property owners in the future. From now on the city agreed to notify neighbors when city crews are involved in clearing trees in the right-of-way, even if the clearing is not directly on their property.
"Which we probably should have done before," Carlson said.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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