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Forest Hills oak deemed unsafe

Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 8:42 PM
Last updated 10:06 PM
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Gould Hagler, a 50-year resident of Au­gusta’s Forest Hills neighborhood, always thought the Darlington oaks that line the streets outside his Park Avenue home would outlive him.

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This Darlington oak in the Forest Hills community has been deemed to be a danger to the public.  SARA CALDWELL/FILE
SARA CALDWELL/FILE
This Darlington oak in the Forest Hills community has been deemed to be a danger to the public.

Hagler, 89, is not so sure now about the 85-year-old trees.

Augusta traffic engineer Steve Cassell said Thursday that the city will cut down another Darlington oak in Forest Hills – at 3035 Park Ave. – for public safety reasons. It will be 30th tree the city has removed in the past three years from Forest Hills.

“I wish the tree could stay; I really do,” said Hagler, one of about 40 home­owners to sign a petition to save the oak. “It’s a shame we have lost so many trees so quickly, and that we’re going to lose some more. The residents here love the shade they provide and the beauty of their branches.”

Cassell’s decision followed two weeks of speculation that the oak’s life would be sacrificed for private development.

A notice saying the tree “interferes with the development of public property” appeared on the oak shortly after Jerry and Kimberly Lindman demolished a home overlooking the tree to build a larger and more modern house. Later, the document was changed to say the “tree is hazardous, i.e. contains decay, extensive deadwood or other structural problems.”

Cassell said he delayed demolition in order for a second arborist to confirm the oak is a “danger to the public or adjoining property,” criteria to be met to remove a tree on a public right of way.

Henry Frischknecht, a member of Augusta’s tree commission, inspected the tree. On Monday, he used a city bucket truck to get a closer look at its upper branches and cavities.

In an e-mail sent to Cassell on Tuesday, Frischknecht said the oak “has to be placed in the hazard tree category and should be removed” after he found a 2-foot cavity along the tree’s two major branch intersections.

The week before, arborists said that if untouched, the oak would last five to 10 years, but that the Lindmans’ planned circular driveway would cause 50 to 60 percent root loss and shorten the tree’s lifespan.

“It’s just deteriorated too far,” Cassell said. “There’s significant rot, especially in the branch section of the tree on the main trunk-line. Ba­si­cal­ly, the tree is hazardous.”

Cassell said he is scheduling the tree’s removal. Lind­man declined comment.

According to Augusta’s ordinance, any tree deemed a danger to the public or adjoining property are exempt from a vote of removal by the tree commission and can be removed for safety reasons.

Cas­sell said the neighborhood can appeal to the Au­gus­ta Commission; however, he added, “once a hazardous tree is identified, there is a liability threat to the city.”

Forest Hills residents said they have not decided whether to appeal. Their district commissioner hinted that it might be possible.

“If they’re going to take the tree, the neighborhood may want to bring it to full commission,” Mary Davis said.

Comments (13) Add comment
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just an opinion
2494
Points
just an opinion 10/31/13 - 10:56 pm
1
3
Money talks

Clear cut them all so concrete can be poured! Or just move to Columbia County.

countyman
19745
Points
countyman 11/01/13 - 01:07 pm
1
5
Forest Hills will remain elegant

I definitely think you want to make sure the charm of the intown neighborhoods remain intact, but cutting down one tree won't turn Forest Hills, Summerville, Olde Town, Country Club Hills, and Midtown into the neighborhoods you see located all over Evans and Martinez..

I think the owner of the property should be allowed to construct the driveway and the person is building a newer larger home(property taxes).

I still don't understand why more people aren't interested in the Sand Hills neighborhood. The Sand Hills, Harrisburg, and Laney Walker neighborhoods all have bright futures ahead.

thauch12
6489
Points
thauch12 11/01/13 - 03:06 am
5
0
Wishful thinking countyman

"The Sand Hills, Harrisburg, and Laney Walker neighborhoods all have bright futures ahead"... said noone ever ;)

seenitB4
85822
Points
seenitB4 11/01/13 - 06:28 am
3
0
Well.. you should buy there

I still don't understand why more people aren't interested in the Sand Hills neighborhood. The Sand Hills, Harrisburg, and Laney Walker neighborhoods all have bright futures ahead.

Prove it.

mooseye
264
Points
mooseye 11/01/13 - 07:03 am
4
0
Its funny

that the tree was not identified as a hazard until someone wanted to build something adjacent to it???

JRC2024
8592
Points
JRC2024 11/01/13 - 07:42 am
1
0
Countryman, I support you

Countryman, I support you upbeat view but cannot support you on the neighborhoods that are loaded with Section 8. Not the best type of or safest people to live around. Also not the cleanest.

Little Lamb
45396
Points
Little Lamb 11/01/13 - 08:20 am
2
0
Future

Cutting down old oak trees that are rotting is not a bad idea.

But why is there no mention of replanting young Darlington oaks when they cut down old ones? If the city won't do it, perhaps the neighborhood association will.

Little Lamb
45396
Points
Little Lamb 11/01/13 - 08:42 am
2
0
Thuggery

Countyman posted:

The Sand Hills, Harrisburg, and Laney Walker neighborhoods all have bright futures ahead.

The sheriff will have to run off the thug element before things change in those neighborhoods. I guess some would have the sheriff re-locate the thugs to south Augusta, but banishing them to another state would be preferable.

nocnoc
41451
Points
nocnoc 11/01/13 - 08:53 am
0
0
Unsafe is unsafe

A few years ago a mother was killed in Atlanta when a branch crashed on to her car. Several large limbs falling on cars and some on cars have caused serious damages and major accident in that area also.
So yes it is a serious issue.

Trimming and cutting are only PART of the solution.

I ALREADY see a Family friend or Political Friend being appointed the Augusta Official Tree Arborists.

Note: Tree Arborists are NOT a Joe's Tree cutting service person.
There is special training and certifications to become an Tree Arborists.

EXAMPLES:
https://www.natlarb.com/html/what_is_an_isa_arborist.html
https://www.natlarb.com/html/arborist_training_information.html

nocnoc
41451
Points
nocnoc 11/01/13 - 09:08 am
0
0
Let us equally share the Section 8 problem.

Lets pass an ARC ordinance requiring that Section 8 be equally distributed across ARC and in all communities.

Do you hate the idea of Sections 8's being placed in your community?

Well now maybe you understand a little of why the South Side has a problem with being a Section 8 dumping ground.

deestafford
26620
Points
deestafford 11/01/13 - 09:13 am
0
0
I have posted against cutting this tree down as I see it every

morning as I walk. It is beautiful and perhaps the largest on Park Ave. However, if it is damaged to the extent that it is a safety hazard I reluctantly agree it has to come down. Some of the limbs on this tree will weigh well over a ton and could cause deadly harm if it fell on someone.

Sadly, she must go and many tears will be shed at her demise.

nocnoc
41451
Points
nocnoc 11/01/13 - 10:06 am
2
0
Green Suggestion for everybody

Why not take some cuttings from the tree and dip them in a rooting solution and plant them and grow new ones to replace it.

Basically the same tree just being replaced with the same tree.

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-new-tree-branch-44685.html

grinder48
1901
Points
grinder48 11/01/13 - 10:16 am
0
0
Why Wait
Unpublished

Why has the city waited until "a 2 foot cavity along the tree’s two major branch intersections" was found? Why isn't the city taking better care of its assets? I know, funding. Bottom line is that trees, like people, have lives; they don't live forever. But dead trees should be replaced with long-life hardwoods already off to a good start. I vote for the majestic live oak.

JRC2024
8592
Points
JRC2024 11/01/13 - 09:27 pm
0
0
Dee, While waiting for my

Dee, While waiting for my automatic gate to open a limb from one of my oaks fell on the top of my car. Scared the H--- out of me, broke the windshield and banged up the hood. When I went to move it I realized how lucky I was and how heavy the limb was. It could have gone thru my sunroof and hurt me bad. I was lucky.

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