Resident seeks removal of fallen tree, damage compensation from county

Posted at 6:41 PM, May 14, 2019

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — James Wyrick takes pride in his landscape, but a toppled tree in his front yard’s been a proverbial thorn in his side. He said the tree once stood on the opposite side of Barney Road, but fell in May 2018 and blocked the roadway.

Wyrick said, “(The) road commission came out and apparently hooked on to the root end of it and shoved it onto my property.”

“It also tore up my drip irrigation system,” he said.

Wyrick said the day after it fell he called the Road Commission of Kalamazoo County to have it removed and was told he’d have to fill out a form. So he did that.

“(I) emailed them for an update one month later and again two months after the incident, and finally, I was informed that on the bottom of that form said that they could take up to 12 months to dispose of the tree,” he recalled.

“If they haven’t done anything in a year on it (then) I’m done with bureaucracy,” Wyrick said.

The Kalamazoo resident said he received an email last summer that stated the job was on their schedule. He initially reached out to the Problem Solvers in June of last year. We told him to give the road commission the full 12 months, as they state.

“Well, it’s been more than 12 months now,” Wyrick said.

Wyrick emailed the Problem Solvers again in early May 2019. FOX 17 spoke with road commission leadership which sent the following in an email:

According to our Road Commission of Kalamazoo County (RCKC) records, a tree may have been responded to at **** Barney Road during an emergency response after falling in the road was “completed” after a Tree Removal Notification Form was received on May 4, 2018 by the RCKC on January 18, 2019. As noted, it may take up to 12 months to address the fallen tree/branch after moving it outside of the traveled portion of the road after receiving a Tree Removal Notification Form from a resident. The RCKC receives over 900 tree related service requests, which does not include the emergency tree removal calls impacting safe travel. We were not aware that this particular emergency response tree remained an issue until today. We have since followed up, will review the concern and apologize for any inconvenience to the property owner. For more detailed information on tree removals from emergency responses, please visit our website and the Tree Removal Brochure.

Wyrick said, “I would have hoped that some time during the winter or spring, early spring before they had to get busy patching, that they could have used some of their time.”

He said he didn’t take care of it himself for a couple of reasons, including not wanting the damages to his irrigation system and shrubs to be overlooked. The road commission said it won’t compensate Wyrick if those items were within the right-of-way. Wyrick said those items were not in the right-of-way and that he still wants compensation.