Does the government, at any level, care exactly how you trim your trees? You’d better believe it.
Every two to three years, Eddie Sales trims and prunes the crape myrtles at his church, Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church. But this year, the city of Charlotte, NC, cited the church for improperly pruning its trees. “We always keep our trees trimmed back because you don’t want to worry about them hanging down in the way,” said Sales, a church member. The church was fined $100 per branch cut for excessive pruning, bringing the violation to $4,000. “I just couldn’t believe it when I heard about it,” Sales said. “We trim our trees back every three years all over our property, and this is the first time we have been fined.”
Is there nothing Mr. Sales can do? Will the city offer him an olive branch, if you’ll pardon the punnery? Oh, sure it will. With Southern gentility, Mr. Sales and his church have been informed that there’s a simple alternative to paying up:
The fine will be dropped if the church replaces each of the improperly pruned trees, said Tom Johnson, senior urban forester for city of Charlotte Land Development Division.
Rogier is a Dutch-born, New-England-dwelling multi-media maven (OK, a writer and photographer) whose dead-tree publishing credits include the New York Times, Wired, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Reason.