Neighbors going out on a limb to save old Virginia Beach oak tree

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Neighbors living in Chic’s Beach are going out on a limb to save an old oak tree.

“I used to play around this tree when I was seven years old,” said Wally Damon, President of the Chesapeake Beach Civic League.

The league unanimously decided to recommend that the city do whatever possible to preserve the oak tree, located at the corner of Bayview and Chubb Lake avenues. Other neighbors have launched a petition.

“It’s always been here,” said Michele Zimmerman. “It’s very, very beautiful. It’s strong.”

But the old oak’s base appears to be in rough shape. Instead of being upright, the tree hangs, pointing toward a home that neighbors say is vacant. Its branches have grown tangled in between wires.

A spokesperson for the city tells 10 On Your Side that a concerned neighbor called officials about the tree. Crews came to inspect the tree, according to the city spokesperson, and were concerned about the oak’s integrity, which means liability issues and public safety concerns.

“Clearly it’s struggling but it’s also magnificent. All I see is greenery and green branches, thick trunks and beautiful limbs,” resident Elisa Morrell said.

Morrell would like to see a compromise. She’s proposed the city perhaps remove a portion of the tree.

“Can we look at options other than just whacking it?” she asked.

“This can be done, you know,” Damon said. “It’s easy to cut it down. It takes a little bit of work to try to save it. So why not do a little bit of work to save it?”

The city’s arborist says she estimates the tree is between 50 to 70 years old, but the only way to tell would require seriously damaging it. She tells 10 On Your Side that while the city recommends removing it because of public safety, they plan to get a second, outside opinion before taking any action.