CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kevin O’Brien has a unique and strange looking problem in his back yard: a tree’s root system is on the other side of the drainage ditch behind O'Brien’s house, but with the wet winter, it shifted and now looms over his fence.
“We’ve had some pretty windy days, and I kept looking out saying, ‘here it comes,’” O’Brien said.
The tree sits on the side of the drainage area between Kevin’s property and his neighbor behind, but neither owns it.
Because it’s on a City of Charlotte easement, they are asking the city to come out and either trim the tree or take it down altogether before it causes damage.
When O’Brien was denied by the city, he asked for NBC Charlotte and Get McGinty for help, and when we investigated the issue, we learned that even though the creek has been offered to the city and that technically they own it and others like it, they don’t do any maintenance until a major problem exists-- for them.
Lina James with the City Attorney’s Office says, “Until the City formally accepts it (the easements) or begins to maintain it, it doesn’t become the City’s.”
And, even if this drainage area were on the city maintenance list now, the tree wouldn’t be their job unless it clogged the creek. It’s also been made clear that if a homeowner sees damage will occur, that homeowner has the duty to mitigate damage before it occurs.
It’s not the answer O’Brien was hoping for, but it’s an explanation he says he can accept.