Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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NY1 For You: Brooklyn Homeowner Now Has Options in Tree Root Battle

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The owner of a landmarked Brooklyn house turned to "NY1 For You" after a city tree damaged his property and the city asked him to pay to have it removed. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following "NY1 For You" report.

Homeowner Leslie Zafra says a city tree is ripping up his sidewalk and the Parks Department is asking for a lot of green from him to have it removed.

"We received a letter from the forestry department explaining that after careful evaluation, we can, we have the permission now to remove the tree. However, we would have to make a check payable to the city Department of Parks for $19,095 for restitution, which we find to be overly excessive," says Zafra.

Back in January, NY1 reported about the healthy tree that was creating an unhealthy situation, as its roots were slowly destroying Zafra's property. After NY1 called the Parks Department a spokeswoman said the agency revisited their calculations.

Now, Parks has cut their restitution fee in half asking for $8,000 instead of $19,000, or the equivalent of seven trees to be planted at a city park in order for a permit to be issued to remove the tree.

In that case, Zafra would still have to pay to remove the tree and repair the sidewalk.

However, if Zafra leaves the tree, Parks has offered to repair the sidewalk for free as part of its trees and sidewalks program -- options that will hopefully help Zafra get to the root of his problem.

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