Tree trimming about to be enforced

Published 8:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2018

Saluda to notify residents by end of September

SALUDA — The city of Saluda should have letters out in a couple of weeks to residents who need to trim their trees and bushes.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday and discussed the tree-trimming ordinance.

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Mayor Fred Baisden said the city’s tree trimmer is currently busy laying sod for the World Equestrian Games, so enforcement is currently behind.

“I don’t blame him, but we’ve got to start doing something,” Baisden said. “Some corners are dangerous.”

Baisden said he and Commissioner Paul Marion have gotten some of the same calls from residents who cannot see. He said it is dangerous, and he has recently almost gotten hit because he could not see while pulling out.

Marion said he has heard some of those concerns, but has also heard from residents who wonder if the city is going to enforce the ordinance or not.

Baisden said he does not think when trees were planted 100 years ago people planned for the traffic Saluda has now.

“As times change, you have to change what you do,” Baisden said.

As Commissioner Leon Morgan says, if he can ride down the street and his mirror hits it, the tree needs to be cut, Baisden said.

“Lots of our streets are basically one-way,” Baisden said.

Saluda resident Nettie Sweet asked from the audience when she has to have her trimming done.

The city’s tree trimming ordinance includes that property owners have to cut trees and brush 18 inches off the road. If the city has to trim properties, it charges property owners $275.

“I just wanted to know if there was a date I have to have all mine done because I don’t want to pay the $275 for not having it done,” Sweet said.

City Manager Jonathan Cannon said the city can send notices and begin enforcing the ordinance after that.

Baisden said after speaking with City Attorney Jana Berg, the city does have rights of way. He said Saluda used to have ditches and now they are gone, and the city has water running down the streets because it does not have anywhere to go.

“We don’t have the money for what needs to be done,” he said.

Baisden also said in his opinion, 18 inches is not enough. He said that decision was made two or three boards ago.

Commissioner Stan Walker said the city needs to look at what it can afford to do.

“I think we need to start looking at enforcing the ordinance or we change it,” Walker said.

Cannon said the city is about two weeks behind enforcing the ordinance where it was the same time last year.

In a week or two, he plans to get letters out to those who need to trim, and they will have 30 days following the letter before the city will start enforcement.