Who’s responsible for fallen tree behind Chesapeake man’s house?

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – A man contacted 10 On Your Side for help after a tree fell on his fence during Hurricane Matthew, a week ago.

A tree line sits behind his property, so he wants the City of Chesapeake to cut it down and fix the damage.

However, a city spokeswoman says a city worker went to the home on Monarch Reach Monday, but couldn’t determine who the tree belongs to.

“Originally, it didn’t look as bad. I just thought it was a bunch of the bushes and maybe one limb. But once the rain kind of died down about 3 to 4 hours later, I went back out and to investigate the damage,” Karl Shannon said.

This isn’t the first time. Shannon says trees from behind his home have damaged his property twice before; once during a snow storm, another time on a windy day.

“This is like the worst out of the three,” he said.

The tree line and Route 17 are behind Shannon’s home. He thinks the city owns the land and should address it.

“I believe that soil back there is so saturated already then when we get more rain or snow it makes that foundation of that tree more likely to fall on my property,” Shannon said.

In the past, Shannon said he’s been told the tree line doesn’t belong to the city, but he’s fed up with falling trees.

“I just want to exercise my rights to see who owns this tree, because I don’t,” he said.

According to Elizabeth Vaughn, Public Information Coordinator for the Chesapeake Department of Public Works, a surveyor will be at the property on Tuesday to determine who owns the tree.

Additionally, she said, “If the City doesn’t own it, either the citizen does or the HOA does. If it turns out to be the citizen’s property, he’ll be able to remove it however he wants. If there are environmental restrictions, as he mentioned he was told in the past, they are most likely outside of his fence area so everything within that could be removed as he pleases.”

City of Chesapeake Tree Removal Policy:

City will remove all trees from both City Right-of-Way and private property that are City owned trees. City owned trees are those whose trunk (or center of trunk) is within the City right-of-way or on city property.

City will remove broken limbs overhanging the City Right-of-Way.

City will remove all portions of privately owned trees from City Right-of-Way, remaining portion of tree is responsibility of private property owner.

For trees on private property that obstruct public drainage, the City will remove only that portion of the tree within our easement that is obstructing drainage, the remainder of the tree is the private property owner’s responsibility.

The City is not responsible for damage to private property caused by hurricane events.

Residential property tree debris should be left at the side of the street, away from obstructions such as telephone poles, guy wires, fire hydrants, water meters, telephone and cable connection boxes etc., for pickup by City and contract forces.

Waste collection rules will be separately published for each event.

For information on storm debris collection, residents can call 382-CITY.