El Chaparral residents react to Boone County tree trimming

Friday, October 16, 2009 | 6:41 p.m. CDT; updated 4:19 p.m. CDT, Saturday, October 17, 2009

COLUMBIA — Christopher Nesladek noticed debris on the streets of his El Chaparral neighborhood as he drove home Tuesday.

"I thought, it's not that windy," he said. When he arrived home, Nesladek found an oak tree and two of the burning bushes in his yard had been trimmed. The burning bushes were cut so far that they'll have to be removed, he said, because it would take them three to four years to grow back.

Nesladek learned later that the Boone County Public Works Department had trimmed his and his neighbors' shrubbery. When he called the county around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, they already had heard other complaints, and eventually, the county pulled the crew from the neighborhood early.

Northern Boone County Commissioner Skip Elkin said the county had gotten complaints from school buses that branches were in the way.

"We have a responsibility to keep our roads safe," he said.

Residents discussed the issue at a neighborhood association meeting. Elkin apologized, and Chip Estabrooks, the maintenance operations manager for the county department, visited the neighborhood.

Elkin said the county will work to notify residents earlier next time to give them a chance to trim the offending brush themselves.

As for Nesladek's yard, he said, "It's really too late to do anything." Nesladek said he and his family probably will replace the bushes with something else.

Several of his neighbors' trees and shrubs also had been cut back.

Mark Hitzeroth has lived at his house on Mesa Street for 34 years. The county cut two Linden trees and one Japanese maple in his front yard.

"Some of it was overkill," he said.

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Charles Dudley Jr October 16, 2009 | 7:48 p.m.

If those upset residents had taken care of their own shrubs and such then County Tax Money would not have had to been spent on man power and equipment to do the job.

What does County Ordinance say about property owners and their responsibilities in maintaining the shrubbery that might escape over and beyond their property lines?

It is nice though that Boone County Commissioner Skip Elkin did give the property owners an apology.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 16, 2009 | 10:14 p.m.

Maybe the school district and/or county should have informed the residents ahead of time, assuming the bus company's complaints are accurate?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 17, 2009 | 4:44 a.m.

John Schultz why should they have to contact them at all? It is usually and almost always the responsibility of the land owner to manage their lands.

Those land owners should be back charged for the county having to do the work they should be taking care of themselves.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 17, 2009 | 8:51 a.m.

Maybe the property owners weren't aware the trees or bushes were an issue for the bus drivers? Maybe the bus company was complaining about a small situation that could have been more easily rectified if the howeowners had been made aware of the issues the bus was having, or maybe the issue was overblown?

I think Skip has it right when he said "the county will work to notify residents earlier next time to give them a chance to trim the offending brush themselves."

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 17, 2009 | 8:57 a.m.

John Schultz give us all a break here in how can a property owner not know if their shrubbery is over hanging into the roadway or blocking views if they drive by it every day.

Unless they are just plain blind and then they should be wearing glasses to begin with.


(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 17, 2009 | 8:36 p.m.

Way to ignore the rest of my comments (as usual), Chuck. Maybe if you owned a house you would be a bit more sensitive to the county or other governmental entities doing something without notifying you of any potential problems. When Boone County Public Works put chip and seal on my road, they sent homeowners a letter. When the sewer district is planning on doing work, they notify their customers via its newsletter. Why shouldn't a similar courtesy have been extended in this case? By Skip's apology mentioned in the story, perhaps the county realizes it should have been handled a bit differently, no matter what the great Chuck Dudley decrees?

(Report Comment)

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