Kill trees before they require permit?

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  #1  
Old 04-26-12, 10:49 PM
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Kill trees before they require permit?

Around the house I grew up in and still own, my father planted four redwood trees and three other evergreens which I'm not sure what they are.

I love the trees but unfortunately, in what will probably turn out to be a wise move, I'm about to chop them down, but thought I'd get some last advice before doing so.

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Here are the details: I'm sure many people face the same situation:

It has probably been about 8-10 years now since my father planted the trees and their trunks are reaching the 10" diameter that would require a permit to remove, a permit type that is increasingly denied these days. I DO LIKE the trees very much and would like to keep them ...for now...

...but I can just see the situation I'll be placing my children in one day, when they inherit the house. The trees would have grown to sizes requiring permits, and the way things are going, given enough time, they are also likely be declared heritage trees one day. The trees will have grown to nuisance dimensions and some will probably be lifting and cracking the house's foundation -- as some of the trees are at varying distances from the house, from 15 feet to 60 feet away.

So what will then the "community" do to my children, twenty years from now, to thank our family for having planted the trees in the first place, for having cared for them, for having spent money to maintain them all these years, and for the beauty they have provided to the "community"?

They will probably say "We the people ...ordinance 44.21...deal with them and your cracking foundation and continue to care for your trees because we want to enjoy them and have put half of them on the city's heritage tree list. You try to remove them and we send the police with guns and punishment".

So please give me some advice because I'm about to chop down the beloved trees my own father planted. Unfortunately seems like I have to resort to "killing them before they grow"... beyond the permit 10" diameter threshold.

I have heard many stories of people with "heritage" trees in their backyards in my neighborhood and things are only likely to get worse. I no longer feel secure in my property's ownership so it's time for preemptive chainsaw measures.
 
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Old 04-27-12, 05:17 AM
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I hate to see otherwise healthy trees cut down if they are not causing problems. In some areas they get into power lines, etc. and the power company make a total mess of the tops of the trees. But, hey, they are encroaching on the right of way, and should not have been planted there to begin with.
In your case, the evergreens are probably fast growers and can be replaced if you desire to a better location or in fewer numbers. The redwoods, gosh, how close are they to the house? Will they actually cause problems in the future? If they are 60' from the house, I doubt they will be foundation crackers.
BUT, in all practicality, if your municipality has such strict requirements for permits to remove a tree at a certain size, and you intend to rid your property of them, now is the time, before big brother has a say in the matter.
 
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Old 04-27-12, 07:48 AM
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If your primary concern is that the trees will get so large that they may cause damage why not hire an arborist to advise you which trees, if any, might be problematic in the future? Then you can determine if any need to be removed.

Last year I removed 4 large trees on my property. I'm about ready to remove another that was damaged by a wionter storm. Big Brother was not involved. Actually, in my area Big Brother doesn't care.
 
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Old 05-06-12, 01:59 AM
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I have taken down the two closest redwood trees. One was a mere 8 feet from the house, the other about 14 feet.

I have hired an arborist to give me an opinion on the remaining trees.

I talked to a structural engineer friend who has made money in the past writing letters for people whose houses are threatened by large trees, letters that they then had to submit to city hall for permission to cut the trees -- and still, some of the requests were turned down when damage had not already visibly occurred. So I decided that the trees must go.
 
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Old 05-06-12, 05:08 AM
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Sometimes it is easier to ask for forgiveness, than it is to ask for permission.
 
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Old 05-06-12, 01:23 PM
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Those of you who want to see how homeowners who plant redwood trees (and possibly other large trees) and care for them for decades eventually get dragged in front of Pontius Pilot to be judged by the crowd please see (denial of application):

http://www.cityofsacramento.org/tran...st-summary.pdf

As for the age of the tree in the above permit denial it could very well be a mere 40-50 year old tree, causing extensive damage to the house from 16 feet away.

Now imagine your father or grandfather being the one who planted the tree.

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Also see this report and note the tone of the denial: “Your problem, deal with it, you bear the cost of unconventional sewer replacement, regular pruning of a 100 ft. tree, risk and cost of fallen branches, trenching and barriers etc. We don’t care, the public likes your tree and thanks to your father for planting it for us and to you for the bill.”

http://sunnyvale.ca.gov/Portals/0/Su...-2008-0105.pdf

Another homeowner in regulatory quandary here (see page 4)

http://www.ci.larkspur.ca.us/archive...C%20%20Mtg.pdf


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For redwood tree rates of growth see:

FAQ About Armstrong Redwoods

“Under ideal conditions, partial shade where they are protected from moisture loss, redwoods may grow two or three feet in a year. The stems of young trees may increase in diameter by an inch or more each year, but this rate diminishes with age.”

Redwood Myths

“The fact is that coast redwood is an extremely fast growing tree that can reach heights of 170 feet in 50 years on good California sites. Under ideal conditions radial growth can be up to one inch per year.”
 
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Old 05-07-12, 07:28 AM
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Interesting. I didn't read all the links, but browsed the Sacramento one. [Side note: I looked at the property on Google Earth and it appears the tree is still standing.]

The first thing that springs to mind is, if/when the tree comes down on its own (as noted as a possibility) is the City of Sacramento going to foot the liability bill or would that just be "tough luck" for the homeowner's insurer?
 
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Old 05-13-12, 07:35 PM
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I sure am glad I can cut anything I want in my yard. The only trees, the home owner can't cut, are trees that are between the road and the side walk.
 
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Old 05-14-12, 05:50 AM
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Ditto. I'm not anti-environmental or prone to hacking stuff down for nothing, but by God if it's in my yard that I bought and pay taxes on and I want to cut it down, it's nobody else's business, especially some government bureaucracy.
 
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Old 05-14-12, 10:54 AM
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I'm in the same boat or at least I thought I was until recently. My town does not require a permit to remove a tree with an exception that I was unaware of.

The first 10' of my lot is deeded to the town as a hedge for future road widening. Removal of trees along that 10' requires permission from the town although it is not a formal arrangement like a building permit. They just want to have a say I guess.

Last year I removed 4 large trees within that 10' strip w/o notifying anyone. I mentioned it to the local building official over coffee (prompted by this thread) and he quoted me the same "easier to get forgiveness . . . " adage that Chandler quoted. Apparently the permission is supposed to go though his office and he wants nothing to do with it.
 
 

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