RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Some Richmond residents have voiced concerns about troublesome trees that they fear could turn deadly during storms.
One Richmond man said he’s growing more and more worried about a dead tree outside of his home, claiming the city isn’t responding to his concerns.
Donald Case said the tree across from his Richmond home has become barren with no leaves and its branches hanging on nearby streetlights. He said he’s scared for the future of his home and his neighbors’ homes during future storms.
“Even though I’m across the street and not a direct target. It’s just not right for them, or, I mean, it could still, you know, fall in any direction,” Case said.
Case said his neighbors have even stopped parking on the street under the tree because they’re scared of falling limbs and branches. Case said he brought these concerns to the city back in July and has been struggling to get answers.
“I tried to call, I was given a phone number, and that phone number went absolutely nowhere,” Case said. “I finally got ahold of a person. And that’s when I was informed that they are working on it.”
Case said he’s still waiting to hear what the city’s plan is concerning the dead tree.
“Of course, you know, my taxes just went up $400 a year, and I don’t see much being done around here,” Case said.
8News also reached out to the city to better understand the process of removing trees like this as well as leftover debris from storms. A city spokesperson sent back an answer three days after 8News’ initial inquiry that said the Department of Public Works is “adequately staffed to manage the assessment/removal/collection of trees and debris.”
In response to questions about removing problematic limbs and trees before a storm hits the area, the Richmond City spokesperson said trees are assessed daily and not every assessment request qualifies for removal or pruning.
The city’s entire statement to 8News reads as follows:
In the aftermath of storms or wind related events, the Department of Public Works (DPW) implements its Debris Management Plan. During an activation, DPW dispatches personnel to five control zones that are strategically located throughout the City during and after storms. These employees are responsible for the assessment, collection, and removal of debris/trees in those previously mentioned areas.
The primary source of notification is from Emergency Communications. These calls come during or shortly after the weather event and are logged and tracked by Urban Forestry personnel. When the storm has subsided residential calls typically increase as residents have assessed their property and surrounding areas and they have made the necessary contacts. Residents may call the department directly or use the City’s 311 system however, these requests are combined and logged with all the other storm related calls.
Prior to removal of any debris each location is assessed to determine the level of expertise necessary for the debris removal. Trees that are in wires require Dominion Power to remove and those that are impacting private property may require private or emergency responders such as the Fire Department.
Once the assessment has been completed, crews are assigned, and work is completed in a strategic manner – the first priority is to clear and open the public right of way.
The Department is adequately staffed to manage the assessment/removal/collection of trees and debris. Trees are assessed daily by our City Arborists and in the aftermath of storms. Every assessment request does not qualify a tree for removal or pruning. Regardless of whether it’s from a storm or not, limbs naturally fall from trees even if when they are healthy. The September 7 storm involved high winds and is considered one of the biggest storms in the last five years, especially in terms of fallen trees – and it’s a good example of large numbers of healthy trees losing limbs and falling.
Note: there were over 300 requests from the September 7 storm event and about 30 requests from Ophelia. The Urban Forestry Division is still in the process of cleaning up from both events.”Petula Banks, Director, Office of Strategic Communications & Civic Engagement
Case told 8News he just hopes something happens sooner rather than later.
“We’ll just see what happens. And I’m sure something will happen, but when will it happen?” Case said.