Our View: Trees and sidewalks

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:12 PM

Editorial Board

Some residents in Harrisville have received notice from city officials that they will have to pay for damages to sidewalks that have been caused by trees on their property.

City officials say they are working with residents on the issue but that doesn’t necessarily include sharing any of the costs to replace sidewalk blocks or remove a tree.

The former is much more inexpensive than the latter.

While we sympathize with homeowners who are facing the expense of dealing with the adverse consequences of a tree on their property that they did not plant, they are still responsible for what is on their property. When one buys a home, one buys what comes with the home.

If a tree that is on someone’s property falls and damages the property of someone else, it’s likely the owner of the property where the tree originated would be liable.

Also, a damaged sidewalk is a liability to the city that it cannot afford to leave unfixed. Broken sidewalks, besides the aesthetic damage, can also be a health hazard to residents.

Having said that, if the trees causing damage to sidewalks are found to be as a result of a city initiative in the past, it would certainly be considerate of city officials to offer to share in any costs associated with fixing the sidewalks or removing the tree.

However, if the resident is forced to pay the entire cost of the repairs, it’s not an inappropriate solution. Unexpected, and unpleasant expenses are not uncommon when one is maintaining their home and property.

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