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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Resident feels out on limb

  • Frustrated with township response
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  • After trying to resolve a tree problem for years, a resident is fed up and wanted to share her story.
    Amy Minnich's neighbor has a large pine tree in their yard that is leaning into her yard, causing a nuisance.
    "It's about 60 feet over my house," Minnich said. "It's hard to keep up with."
    Minnich said she has to clean her roof, shingles and gutter a lot to get the pine needles out. She added that the grass on that part of her yard doesn't grow well and there is even mold on the siding of her house as well as the chimney.
    "The back roof has now been replaced for the third time because it is an impossible feat to keep the pine needles cleaned off and free from rotting the shingles although my efforts are valiant," Minnich stated. "The branches of this tree have chipped away the cap of my chimney. I just cannot keep up with the tree's wastes. The pine needles blanket my patio and flower beds and they continually clog my rain gutters and down spouts."
    She said that her neighbor doesn't have that problem because so much of the tree is leaning over her property.
    In September of 2012 Minnich spoke to the then Texas Township zoning officer, Steve Ostrander about getting the branches on her side cut off.
    "I'm not asking to get the tree cut down, but just the branches that are on my side," she said.
    Three people from different tree companies even checked it out.
    "They all said they couldn't believe the tree didn't come down yet," Minnich stated. "Steve Ostrander saw this tree as enough of a problem that he somehow got the property owners to hire a contractor to have the branches of their tree removed from over my property and my home."
    She said the contractor explained what he would do and also took pictures of the parts of her property that "could be damaged" during the process.
    "I signed the contract, which explained that anything of mine that might be damaged would be returned to its usual state as in the photos," Minnich said. "The trimming was scheduled for the following Saturday."
    Page 2 of 3 - She explained that on the morning of when the tree was supposed to be trimmed, she got a call saying it was canceled.
    "I could spend the $700 to have it done myself, but why should I? It's not my tree," Minnich stated.
    After Ostrander left as zoning officer, Minnich then dealt with new officer Sandi Scull.
    When Scull was still employed by the township, she also told Minnich she would take care of it.
    Now Scull is no longer in that position.
    "Both Steve and Sandi told me to take it up with the magistrate or get an attorney," she said. "I don't get why it could get so far just for it to stop."
    Even the township supervisors aren't helping.
    "I spoke with Don Doney and he said the supervisors don't get involved," she said. "If it was his house he'd want it taken care of."
    She added that she only wants the supervisors to look at it and realize there is a problem.
    Minnich explained that she tried to resolve the issue in the usual route, but is still getting nowhere.
    "I went to the magistrate and was told that it isn't guaranteed to work if the owners don't pick up their certified mail," she said.
    Minnich stated that she's been fighting this "for years," and that it's getting to the point where she's "fed up."
    "I feel like the owners aren't being held accountable," she said. "There should be some accountability. Three companies have told me they're surprised it hasn't fallen over yet and it's really leaning over my house. The roots are even growing on my side. I think if anyone were to look at it they'd want to get it taken care of."
    Minnich stated that the bottom line is that Ostrander got as far as getting the owners to hire somoene to take care of it, "but it never happened."
    "Why can't we get that far again?" she asked.
    She added that one of the tree companies said her chimney and her stove "would draft better" if the branches were taken care of.
    Page 3 of 3 - "You're not supposed to be walking on your shingles and I'm up there at least two times a month," she said. "This tree has grown up over my home enough that if I do not continually climb onto the back roof to clean up its pine needles it will need to be replaced for the fourth time. So, if something is in fact dangerous and two people agree how is this left unresolved? My taxes help pay whatever official holds the position to help me and yet it only goes so far."

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