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Thread: The Good Neighbor's Remorse

  1. #1

    The Good Neighbor's Remorse

    My neighbors have this massive almost dead maple tree in their back yard -- probably 70' tall. I've grown increasingly concerned about the tree because if it fell the right way -- the direction of local prevailing winds, btw -- it would smash the smithereens out of my deck and kitchen, and perhaps even more of my house.

    The neighbor has been trying diligently to get someone to take the tree down for the past year. Finally he found someone reasonable through his company and they had a date set to take out the tree.

    The day before the tree was to be removed, the local electric company (rhymes with "puke") left a note on the neighbor's door saying they would not drop the power to our two houses but they'd be happy to set temporary poles and string temporary lines for $20k.

    I told the neighbors that they could stage the crane in my backyard and then not need to drop the power lines out at the street. Last night the tree man came by and inspected my yard and agreed he could do the work from there -- with a 23-ton crane in the middle of my backyard.

    So now I have the good neighbor's remorse: I can't go back on my word (and I stand to benefit by having a peril removed) but I'm worried about what a 23-ton crane might do to my yard, my trees, and a sewer lateral.

    Have you ever done something nice for a neighbor and had it come back to bite you in the arse?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Restoration of the yard should be part of the agreement. As far as underground damages, the owner of the crane should have insurance to cover such damages. You may mark your sewer lateral to make sure he doesn't set an outrigger right over the line (especially if it isn't very deep)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    You should notify them by certified mail regarding the tree. If you don't, once the tree falls in your yard...it is your tree. I found out the hard way. If you notify them, the responsibility should be theirs.
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
    http://metzendorf.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I'm sure it varies by state but I've been under the impression that even with a letter sent to them they are not liable for any damage from their tree falling into your house.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
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    Can't somebody with a powersaw (chainsaw) climb up the tree (with harness for security) and start cutting the small branches first until he goes down the trunk? I did that when one of the big trees in front of my house leant to the fence after being smashed by a strong typhoon last year. You have to tie the branches so that you can control it from falling anywhere.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by Jess View post
    Can't somebody with a powersaw (chainsaw) climb up the tree (with harness for security) and start cutting the small branches first until he goes down the trunk?
    That was the best alternative, but none of the companies they talked to actually showed up to do the work.

    Quote Originally posted by savematoon
    As far as underground damages, the owner of the crane should have insurance to cover such damages. You may mark your sewer lateral to make sure he doesn't set an outrigger right over the line (especially if it isn't very deep)
    When I thought about this more, I realized the lateral is at least 5' below grade and probably not that close to where the crane would be. The likelihood of the crane damaging it is minimal, really.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    See what being nice gets ya?!

    I'm all for the passive agressive approach - try talking to the neighbor just casually, saying well, I hope my yard doesn't get tore up by the crane.....

    It's a tough situation, because the tree being removed is definately in your best interest as well!

  8. #8
    Bumpity Bump Bump

    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner View post
    See what being nice gets ya?! It's a tough situation, because the tree being removed is definately in your best interest as well!
    Although I was out of the state due to a family emergency, the results were mostly satisfactory. The crane didn't damage any of my trees or depress the brick path I installed in the back yard, so that was good. One of the outriggers did leave a 24"x24" depression about 3" deep in the grass and it appears some fluid may have leaked from the engine discoloring (perhaps killing) a fairly large area of grass. Certainly nothing I'm going to complain about.

    I do feel bad for the neighbor, however. They took all but the last 12' or so of the tree and left. He said he's having a devil of a time getting them to come back and remove the last bit of it. Maybe next time he won't pay in full up front.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    Glad that turned out alright for you. I remember when we had a huge oak on our hill taken down more than 5 years ago, these boys came out to do it with chain saws and ropes. There is still a depression in my yard where one of the huge branches struck the ground. It cost more to grind out the stump so I asked them to carve a seat out of the remaing trunk instead. It was a great perch from which to sit and gaze on the water.

    I callled them boys, but these young men were powerfully built, like freakin lumberjacks, and agile too, and those arms on that crew leader ...

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