On Tuesday, the council will consider a new law that makes homeowners responsible for maintaining street trees and sidewalks and liable if they fail to do the job and someone gets hurt.
The city says it no longer has the money to proactively prune trees after eliminating several tree-trimmer jobs last year. It still has two pruning crews that work on trees that pose immediate safety risks.
Under the new law, property owners must maintain street trees and other landscaping mostly along the grassy parking strip between the sidewalk and the gutter.
If a property owner doesn’t do his/her duty and someone gets hurt from uneven sidewalks or a low branch, then the property owner is liable for damages, under the proposed ordinance. And if the city gets sued over that, it can try to recover its loss from the property owner.
On the bright side, residents won’t have to pay a fee to obtain a permit for replacing a street tree. But if they damage a street tree, fines range from $250 to $1,000