“You have been so lucky to have never been in the situation where people are not comfortable with you taking the trees out,” said Ingham County Services Commissioner Mark Grebner.
Concerns have been raised about tree removals due for new construction starting this spring. Dobie Road, along with two other locations in Okemos is going to begin construction. Trees were supposed to have been removed in late March for construction to start, however, with late tree slips returned from residents, workers have been unable to cut trees down for a week.
Tree slips need to be signed by homeowners for the company to cut the trees down, or so they think. Grebner was concerned because if someone does not want the tree cut down they would not sign the slip. But, as it turns out, a signed slip is not required to start clearing trees.
Kelly Jones, road department manager and director of the Local Road Department Program, said, “tree slips are asking what you want to be done with the wood, not whether you want the tree removed.” Furniture and fireplaces are examples that she stated.
County Services Commissioner Randy Maiville was under the impression that “the road workers come one day and are cutting the tree down the next,” he was concerned about what happens when slips are not signed right away.
“We give the homeowners time to digest it and decide what to do. A lot of times they will decide right away and we will get it done,” said Jones. “Eventually we will just cut the tree down if we don’t get a response that they want the wood.” If there is no response the wood will get disposed of instead of going to the homeowner.
The road department gets the tree slips signed so that they have the authority to tear down the trees needed to start construction, “we haven’t had an issue where someone doesn’t understand the need for the project and once you sit down with them they will hear you out,” Jones said “if they do not want the tree cut down we try and reason with them but will eventually go to legal as it is scarier to hear from the law rather than coming from me.”