by Max Brantley
John: I have spoken to Bruce Moore and he advises me that he has left word for you to call him concerning whether or not the City has authorized you or any other private organization to plant trees within the public right of way. It is my understanding that the City has not granted you, the Association or any other person or entity the right to plant trees in the right of way in front of our building.
I told you I object to you or the association planting trees in front of 2904 Kavanaugh. Your trees and the holes in the sidewalk will increase the burden upon the servient estate of our abutting land to which burden we object. The trees will be a nuisance, will obstruct the views of the building and will create a hazard for my family and any guests or invitees attending our property as well as members of the public. Moreover you have left an open hole in the sidewalk with inadequate warnings putting the traveling public at risk for injury.
I recommend that you take a look at McGee v. Swearengen, 199 Ark. 735, 109 S W 2d 444. As the owner of the property abutting Kavanaugh, we own the land under the sidewalk and the street to the centerline thereof subject to the public’s right of travel. The Public’s right does not include the right to plant trees, absent consent of the abutting property owner. To apply your logic, I have the right to come to you house next week and dig up the lawn in the right of way in front of your house and plant trees all across that right of way fronting your home, all without bothering to call you in advance.
I think you probably ought to give Bruce Moore a call before you go any further. His cell number is XXX-XXXX.
Finally, please accept this email as a demand that you and the association immediately replace the concrete you have removed and desist any further planting activities in front of our building. You can reach at 501-XXX-XXXX if you need me. Hal
Thanks for your call earlier this afternoon. I was sorry to learn that you are upset about the trees that are being planted by HRA along Kavanaugh Boulevard’s sidewalks this weekend.
Based upon my review of the attached city records, your property line (2904 Kavanaugh) ends well north of where HRA caused tree beds to be installed and where trees soon will be planted. From my review, the tree beds and trees will be planted on City of Little Rock property. If I am incorrect, I feel confident that the tree beds HRA installed at least fall within the City’s 30 foot right of way calculated from the centerline of Kavanaugh Boulevard. If you have a recorded survey that you believe shows otherwise, please supply it to us.
I have copied for you below the city code provision I mentioned to you in our call. Until you are able to provide us with a recorded survey that shows that the planted trees fall exclusively within your property or not within the City’s right of way, I recommend that you refrain from following through on your threat that you communicated to me in our call (that you will remove the trees that HRA plants in the tree beds) until such time as you obtain the required city permit. I’m confident that HRA, Hillcrest residents, and the city would have an interest in ensuring that Section 15-51 is enforced. [The code prohibits tree cutting within public right of way or on city property without permit.]
Please call or email with any questions or concerns. Also, please understand that I am only a volunteer assisting HRA with this year’s tree planting project, as I have done every year the organization has planted trees along Kavanaugh Boulevard. I have copied Mr. [Arthur Paul] Bowen (who I understand is HRA’s president) on this email.