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Albemarle Road church fined $100 per branch for excessive tree pruning
Charlotte Observer ^ | 06/02/2011 | Brittany Penland

Posted on 06/02/2011 9:34:45 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Every two to three years, Eddie Sales trims and prunes the crape myrtles at his church, Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church.

But this year, the city of Charlotte cited the church for improperly pruning its trees.

"We always keep our trees trimmed back because you don't want to worry about them hanging down in the way," said Sales, a church member.

The church was fined $100 per branch cut for excessive pruning, bringing the violation to $4,000.

"I just couldn't believe it when I heard about it," Sales said. "We trim our trees back every three years all over our property, and this is the first time we have been fined."

The fine will be dropped if the church replaces each of the improperly pruned trees, said Tom Johnson, senior urban forester for city of Charlotte Land Development Division.

"When they are nonrepairable, when they have been pruned beyond repair, we will ask them to be replaced," Johnson said. "We do that for a number of reasons but mainly because they are going to come back unhealthy and create a dangerous situation down the road."

Charlotte has had a tree ordinance since 1978, and when trees are incorrectly pruned or topped, people can be subject to fines, Johnson said.

Trees planted as a result of the ordinance are subject to the fines if they are excessively trimmed or pruned. These include trees on commercial property or street trees. They do not include a private residence.

"The purpose of the tree ordinance is to protect trees," Johnson said. "Charlotte has always been known as the city of trees. When we take down trees, we need to replace these trees."

Individuals who would like to trim their trees should call the city foresters to receive a free permit to conduct the landscape work.

Foresters will then meet with the person receiving the permit and give instructions on how to properly trim their trees, Johnson said.

The state Division of Forestry recommends that anyone trimming trees should be certified by the National Horticulture Board, but certification is not required to receive a permit.

On private property, fine amounts are based on the size of the tree improperly pruned. For small trees such as cherry trees or crape myrtles, the fine is $75 per tree. Excessive cutting can increase that fine to $100 per branch.

For large trees such as oaks or maples, the fine is $150 per tree.

Because there is a widespread lack of understanding on how to prune crape myrtles in the Charlotte area, Johnson said, residents found in violation regarding these trees are asked to simply replace them, and the fine will be lifted.

Sales said trees found in violation at the church must be cut down and replaced with new trees by October, but the church plans to appeal. Sales doesn't know how much it would cost to replace the trees.

"We trimmed back these trees in the interest of the church," Sales said. "If we were in violation, we certainly did not know we were."

Typically during the course of a year, Johnson said, about six private residents are found in violation of improper topping or pruning.

"We are trying to be pro-active and not trying to fine people excessively," Johnson said.

-- Brittany Penland is a freelance writer for the Observer's University City News.


TOPICS: Gardening; Society
KEYWORDS: albermarle; charlotte; corruption; donttreadonme; fine; govtabuse; lping; nannystate; rapeofliberty; treepruning; tyranny
“Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against—then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there it that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of lawbreakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

—Atlas Shrugged

1 posted on 06/02/2011 9:34:49 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Sounds like the simple solution would be to just remove the trees altogether and let Charlotte be known as the city too stupid to have trees.


2 posted on 06/02/2011 9:40:14 AM PDT by Anitius Severinus Boethius
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To: SeekAndFind

Sounds like the simple solution would be to just remove the trees altogether and let Charlotte be known as the city too stupid to have trees.


3 posted on 06/02/2011 9:40:17 AM PDT by Anitius Severinus Boethius
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To: SeekAndFind

Yep, we’re living a tyranny.

And for the record, a crape myrtle is not a “tree,” its a weed that blooms.

I’d tell the career dictator wanna-bees that the church is going to replace the overly-pruned branches in 6 to 8 months. They just need to be patient.


4 posted on 06/02/2011 9:40:17 AM PDT by subterfuge (BUILD MORE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NOW!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

How does one improperly prune a crepe myrtle, a tree that grows faster than many weeds?


5 posted on 06/02/2011 9:41:05 AM PDT by fso301
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To: SeekAndFind

There must obviously be something going on that’s not mentioned here. I’m guessing a feud between the city and the church. Maybe some animosity between a city council memeber and someon on the church board.

Or maybe the city just has a severe case of HUA.


6 posted on 06/02/2011 9:41:54 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd (I'm a Birther - And a Deather)
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To: SeekAndFind
Posting And You
7 posted on 06/02/2011 9:41:58 AM PDT by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: Anitius Severinus Boethius

LOL!


8 posted on 06/02/2011 9:42:00 AM PDT by proud American in Canada (To paraphrase Sarah Palin: "I love when the liberals get all wee-wee'd up.")
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To: SeekAndFind

I dunno. This law sounds awfully subjective.


9 posted on 06/02/2011 9:48:13 AM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: SeekAndFind

“When they are nonrepairable, when they have been pruned beyond repair, we will ask them to be replaced,” Johnson said. “We do that for a number of reasons but mainly because they are going to come back unhealthy and create a dangerous situation down the road.”

This is the kind of thinking that allows governments to control everything from skydiving to collecting rainwater, to personal hygiene.


10 posted on 06/02/2011 9:50:21 AM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: SeekAndFind

Church member Eddie Sells stands under one of the trimmed crape myrtles at Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church. The church's fine has drawn comments from across the nation


11 posted on 06/02/2011 9:50:28 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: SeekAndFind
Tom Johnson, senior urban forester

Tom Johnson, JAAWSP*

... Just Another A**hole With Some Power

12 posted on 06/02/2011 9:50:59 AM PDT by theDentist (fybo; qwerty ergo typo : i type, therefore i misspelll)
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To: SeekAndFind
A church needs to be cognizant of being a cooperative member of the community. Part of that is learning the rules for property owners and abiding by them. Leaning on a "but we're a church" defense is not good.

Our church is in an area with a good number of restrictions; it's in an upscale planned development area of our city. Ordinances require we maintain our landscaping at a high level, which was a good size cost for the church since we own a lot of land but are only growing the buildings in phases as the church grows.

We brought landscaping back in house, buying our own equipment and forming volunteer teams to do the work. We have saved a good deal of money, but we had to learn some ordnance lessons along the way.

Our city has a sound ordnance that restricts when lawn equipment can be operated. We got turned in for starting too early and got fined. They also have restrictions around bed areas vs grass areas, etc.

13 posted on 06/02/2011 9:52:59 AM PDT by 5thGenTexan
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To: SeekAndFind

Every two or three years I trim my Crape Myrtle’s back to the sticks. They always come back and need it again 3 years later.

This is BS. Theft is what this is.


14 posted on 06/02/2011 9:53:16 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Venturer

Once again proving that resident’s do not own property, they are merely leasing it from the Government.


15 posted on 06/02/2011 9:54:19 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Venturer

And it’s the Bureaucrats that come up with this baloney, not necessarily the elected officials. The Leftie/Environmentalists know where the real power is and that is where they are making it up as they go along. I thought Gainesville, FL had a bunch of lame wackos telling businesses what color azaleas to plant, but this takes the cake.


16 posted on 06/02/2011 10:06:31 AM PDT by Sioux-san
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To: Anitius Severinus Boethius

Sounds like a challenge is due here. I mean, who decides what overpruning is? How many branches per age and type of tree is lawful? Who and how was the fine per branch determined? Who goes around counting these branches? Is the person who does, knowledgeable about the “proper” number of branches a tree might have? Can you remove diseased branches and fall within the proper number of branches?
How can anything look more stupid!


17 posted on 06/02/2011 10:10:09 AM PDT by myrabach
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To: SeekAndFind

No one in my town can tell me what to plant, harvest or trim if it is not on city property.

I guess the lefty statist control freaks havent gotten around to us yet!


18 posted on 06/02/2011 10:13:44 AM PDT by bodfish ((Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity.))
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To: SeekAndFind

Trim them into the shape of a cross. Dare the bureaucrat to cut it down.


19 posted on 06/02/2011 10:13:44 AM PDT by DManA
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To: SeekAndFind

When a government has a “senior urban forester” it’s not the trees that need pruning.


20 posted on 06/02/2011 10:22:08 AM PDT by hometoroost (Love the Onion story on a closed-ceremony "transparency" award. Oh wait, that actually happened.)
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To: Anitius Severinus Boethius

I certainly hope the church has a lawyer and is willing to fight this. Why is it that liberals always know better and want to tell others what to do while professing to give us liberty? Fight now, fight hard, or all our freedoms will be gone before we know it! Nothing is too small to be ignored.


21 posted on 06/02/2011 10:24:27 AM PDT by Boomer One
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To: SeekAndFind
"excessive pruning.15 yard penalty and loss of freedom."


22 posted on 06/02/2011 10:54:56 AM PDT by WOBBLY BOB ( "I don't want the majority if we don't stand for something"- Jim Demint)
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.


23 posted on 06/02/2011 11:28:35 AM PDT by loungitude ( The truth hurts.)
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To: Responsibility2nd
I’m guessing a feud between the city and the church. Maybe some animosity between a city council memeber and someon on the church board.

People who are drawn to government that make these decisions have true evil in their heart. They have a sadistic view of humans. They relish making peoples lives miserable.

Our Founders main concern was that government would grow in power with people of this nature filling the ranks. Our Founders new the nature of people who are attracted to government employment.

If these government parasites succeed in destroying our Republic, they will be the ones to rightfully suffer the consequences.

24 posted on 06/02/2011 11:34:04 AM PDT by sand88 (Sarah Palin announces her run: August 12, 2011 11:10am ET)
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To: SeekAndFind
Back in the 1950s, GE had a motto “Live better electrically” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5KEu5WvdnE This link is for a retro-commercial that even has Ronald Regan in it. What is the motto today? “Live better Bureaucratically”

On Sun TV recently, there was an interview with a fellow from Cambridge, Ontario and in this instance, city staff actually broke into the fellow’s house while he was out and tore out a ‘non-compliant’ staircase ……and then sent him a bill for it. Absolutely frightening when city bureaucrats have turned into totalitarian jackbooted thugs! Here’s the interview with Ezra Levant… http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/search/all/while-you-were-out/963726178001/page/2

25 posted on 06/02/2011 12:35:02 PM PDT by hecticskeptic
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