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.