Permitted destruction

treemove.jpg This notice was left at some people’s doors on Tuesday night after sundown. The house is old and small. It’s being removed in favor of two McMonstrosities going in on the same lot. A giant live oak tree has already been felled.

People had been told that the move would occur at around four o’clock this morning. In fact, it began shortly after midnight. Two off-duty police officers in uniform and using their taxpayer-owned vehicles, as is perfectly legal, escorted the procession.

The towing, of course, was just a threat. Notice was short, in any event, and many neighbors travel on their jobs. Of course, they park on the streets, since older neighborhoods were built with few driveways. The base of the house could just barely pass if a vehicle was parked on one side in a given spot. The top, with its projecting eaves, was another story. Within a block, part of the house had been ripped off as it passed a tree.

Accompanying the house as it moved was the screech of branches scraping the house passing beneath them or alongside. Sometimes the house didn’t pass beneath, but just ripped branches from the trees, all of which afford the 14-foot clearance required by the City for the passage of sanitation trucks. Also accompanying the house were the shouts of outraged householders.

Neighbors were ordered not to obstruct the roadway. Where branches didn’t shear off to allow passage, the chainsaws came out. Householders who had seen these events ran ahead to awaken other tree-owners farther along the route.

Following the house was a vehicle drawing a trailer into which went the thickest fallen and sawn limbs. Smaller debris, such as twigs and leaves, was left in the roadway, but the larger evidence was carried away. Neighborhood photographers may have captured some of this.

2 Comments so far

  1. ttrentham (unregistered) on April 28th, 2005 @ 10:16 am

    Wow, would I be pissed if someone moving a house off my street started cutting branches off of my trees. That can’t possibly be legal, can it?

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on April 28th, 2005 @ 10:47 am

    The permit was legal. There are probably requirements to be bonded and insured. We thought we heard somebody being told something along the lines of “so call my insurance company” or maybe the householder was being instructed to turn to his own insurance company. As the house blammed along, the chainsaws came out to completely sever limbs left dangling. The chainsaws came out in the wake of damage already inflicted. There were two young men, without hardhats and wearing cheap safety goggles only, who rode atop the roof of the cab of the vehicle actually pulling the house along. They would crouch or stand up and try to push branches aside, manually or with poles. A tree that’s hundreds of years old doesn’t have flexible limbs, needless to say, and can’t be pushed aside. Better a clean cut than a jagged item hanging down. They were probably required to cut those danglers down at any rate, to keep them from hitting vehicle windshields passing along afterward. They were given a legal and permitted right of passage; a street is only so wide; as they say in a theater of war, the trees were just collateral damage.

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