City removes trees, homeowner wants to know who will fix fence

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – When 10 On Your Side gets involved in a situation, we don’t stop until its resolved.

Last week, WAVY News told you about a Chesapeake man who said trees kept falling on his fence. After we stepped in, the city admitted the trees were in the right of way and removed them.

10 On Your Side success: City of Chesapeake removes trees from man’s fence

However, there is still no clear answer yet on who will ultimately pay for the damage.

A city policy may mean repairing the fence would be the homeowner’s responsibility.

Looking at the open space behind his home Monday, Karl Shannon told 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings, “[I’m] just going to have to get used to the absences of the trees and the backdrop.”

The six trees cut down last week by the City of Chesapeake now expose the damage to his fence.

“It’s about 8 to 10 feet of damage and it looks like the 2x4s have to be replaced and some of the two inch long shingles have to be replaced,” he said.

10 On Your Side went to find out who is responsible for fixing the damage.

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

The city’s risk manager wouldn’t talk about this case specifically, but he did explain the city’s policy.

“If a tree is blown over, it’s healthy and it’s an unpredictable event, mother nature caused the tree to fall, the city doesn’t have any liability,” Dan Hurley said.

The way Hurley breaks down the process to Cummings is by saying if the city doesn’t know about a tree and it falls, damaging your property, the city is not responsible for damage. So, they encourage citizens to report problems.

“If a tree was a hazard, it’s dead or dying or has some issue or could be potential harm the homeowner, just simply give the city notice and then the city would actually evaluate the tree and then with adequate time, it’s possible, the tree, if it needs to, be can be removed,” Hurley said.

That’s what happened in Shannon’s case.

Hurley said, after it’s reported, if a tree falls and the city hasn’t fixed the problem, the city may be liable for damage.

Trees have fallen on Shannon’s fence three different times. The first two times he contacted the city, but made the repairs himself. The last time, he contacted 10 On Your Side for the city to fix it. However, that hasn’t happened yet.

“What’s going to happen when there’s a storm? Am I going to have a repeat incident next year or the following years?” he asked.

Shannon told Cummings he will file the formal claim with the City of Chesapeake for repairs to his fence this week.

Instructions for filing claims

According to an email to Cummings from Heath Covey, with the city public communications department,

Regarding the tree situation on Monarch Reach, the homeowner has not filed a formal claim with the City as of yet. As such, we are not able to comment on the specifics of this particular incident or any past, potentially related incident(s). Risk Management will, should a claim be filed, evaluate it within the full scope of the details available.”

10 On Your Side has learned, the City of Chesapeake has had more than 600 reports of damage since Hurricane Matthew.

So far, residents have reported a little more than $10 million in damage. Meanwhile, the city itself has nearly $1 million in infrastructure damage.

Covey also said, “The city has received about 10 claims, to date, which are Matthew-related. This encompasses all types of storm-related claims…claimants have up to 6 months from the date of occurrence to file a claim, so additional claims may be forthcoming.”