Plant Health Care in Richmond, VA

Man vs. City Tree

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Man battles with city over fallen tree
By Laura Geller


The saga continues for one Richmond man fighting the city over a tree that toppled onto his house during Monday’s storm. Carl Archacki complained about the tree but Richmond officials would not remove it.

NBC12 obtained a city document that explains why Richmond didn’t remove the tree, which caused thousands of dollars of damage. Carl Archacki says he’s talking to a lawyer about his next steps.

His story struck a nerve with many Richmonders. He had warned about the tree, which was on city property but just yards away from his Monument Avenue house. He asked the city’s permission to remove it but was denied.

“The city inspection crew came and I understood it was a healthy tree,” Archacki explained.

Insurance experts say the health of a tree is the main factor used when assessing its risk. For example, if a tree in your yard was deemed healthy and fell into you neighbor’s yard during a storm, they say, it would be difficult to be found negligent.

Still, Carl is consulting lawyers on the possibility of filing suit against the city. A Department of Public Works spokesperson would not comment on this incident except to reiterate the tree was healthy.

The public works documents detail how the city arborist should inspect a tree to determine the risk. It looks at decay, lean, fungus and other categories and uses an involved formula.

Tree removal expert Steve Flournoy says the policy looks standard for the industry.

“All trees have a little bit of risk when they’re near a structure,” he explained. “Healthy trees are usually low risk but if you had an extreme storm, winds over about 60 mph can take down a perfectly healthy tree.”

Flournoy believes if officials gave all homeowners permission to remove city trees they’re concerned about, there’d be nothing left.

“You have to weigh the value-risk ratio because trees are nice and you get shade so you don’t want to clear everything out,” he said.

Archacki had just moved back into his newly renovated home after a fire damaged it almost two years ago.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.


Written by vaphc

June 30, 2012 at 7:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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