Aldermen approve removal of trees

Dave Marner

Owensville aldermen on Tuesday authorized public works employees to remove four trees in city right-of-ways which are deemed a nuisance or are impeding completion of a street project.

Two of the requests came from property owner concerned about public safety from deteriorating and aging trees falling on roads or sidewalks. Two trees approved for removal are beside Fidelity Communication’s office on West Sears where curb and street improvements are in progress.

Jeff Kuhne, the city’s public works director, told aldermen the trees beside Fidelity’s office were “definitely impeding on the curbing, sidewalks and street” work which began last fall and is scheduled to continue this year. Another, overhanging Springfield Road, is splitting and threatens to fall onto the road.

“All of those trees are in the city’s right-of-way,” said Kuhne.

Kuhne said the removal cost will come out of the street department’s budget. “No cost to the landowners. It’s in the city right-of-way,” Kuhne said to Ward 1 Alderman Karl Buck’s inquiry about who would pay for removal. Landowners along West Franklin and Springfield have requested the trees be removed.

The trees beside Fidelity “almost have to (be removed) there with the (new) curb,” said Kuhne. “We cut through the roots already.”

Ward 2 Alderman Denis Bohl abstained from voting on the motion to remove the trees since she works for Fidelity.

Aldermen also approved Ordinance No. 1254 which repeals the city’s existing Chapter 215 on municipal code offenses to comply with state legislation approved in 2014 which revised state statutes on “crimes and punishment.” Approval of Senate Bill 491 and House Bill 1371 prompted the city to revise its codes to comply with state statute, by adopting a new Chapter 215 in city codes, according to City Administrator Nathan Schauf.

“It’s a lot of words and pages to align us with state statutes,” said Schauf of the 76 pages of state-authorized municipal codes. “We’re adjusting (Chapter 215) to comply with state statutes as they relate to municipal courts. We’re just trying to keep pace and match with state statutes.”

Approval by roll call vote was 4-0.