If a tree fell…….would anyone hear?

Adriana Niebla said she heard a “swoosh” and then a big bang. She could not see out of he front of her house, pitch black, and then she walked out her backdoor, the front door was pinned shut by a giant oak tree that had collapsed on her front lawn.  Under the crashed ancient tree she found four cars ranging from a Ford Explorer to a small two door late model Dodge smothered in foliage . Two of vehicles are severely damaged by the huge tree that had a large canopy.

Adriana Niebla is says she warned Miami-Dade Public works about the tree months ago, tried to get them to trim it back if not remove it.  Now she wants the county to pick up the tab for removal, a job that is going to be no easy challenge.  So far no luck and likely not going to be any as the tree sits on a swale between the sidewalk and the street.  Despite the warnings the County says it is Adriana’s duty to maintain the tree.  “…please advised that the PWD (Public Works Department) does not provide pre-hurricane trimming service, instead, relies on the abutting  property owners to maintain the foliage fronting their property,” that in a e-mail from David Cardenas, Chief of Miami-Dade Public Works to NBC6 Managing Editor Liz Roldan.  So Adriana is out of luck and even after she protested that it is likely the Public Works Department fault the tree fell. You see the Oak tree is one of many in the area west of Red Road that were planted in the late 1940’s, years later side walks were laid inside the tree line in many neighborhoods.  In the sidewalk construction process the contractors cut the roots resulting in many trees having roots on one side of the root ball.  With a shallow water table the roots are not that deep anyway.  Adriana’s tree fell in a light wind, it did not take much to topple the old oak. 

The lesson  here is two fold. If you are in an older neighborhood check your front yard tree’s root system, see if they have been cut to accommodate sidewalk construction and  remember it is your responsibility to manage tree maintenance even on the swale in front of  your home, at least that’s the rule from the the County Public Works Department.  Oh, and by the way if you have a dangerous tree and want to take it down, you have to secure a permit from the  Department of EnvironmentalResources which generates another set of hassles.

Meanwhile Adriana is sticking to her guns, demanding that the PWD staff come cut the tree out of her yard. At last look the fallen oak was still crashed in the Niebla’s front yard

Late today Adriana phoned to say her County Commissioners office, Rebbecca Sosa is the commissioner, called to say that they will remove the tree as soon as Adriana’s adjuster is finished with the cars.  But no official word from PWD, we will monitor the case. Adriana is still skeptal  and will call back when the chain saws start ripping the massive tree trunk.

 

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