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gianmarco

Neighbor cut down our tree

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11 minutes ago, gianmarco said:

Just went out to take some pictures and look at this whole thing again.  Trunk is ~2 feet in diameter and this tree is closer to 70-80 feet in height.  Easily 50+ years old. 

This tree was right next to the front corner of our house ~ 20 feet away.  This wasn't some tree just sitting off to the side in a non noticeable area. 

This was by the NW corner of your house, correct?  He's tearing down the semi-ranch house next door with the unkempt lawn?  (Strava-based research and Google Map views, my friend.)

Being a tree on the north side of your property, you're not losing the shade, which is a good thing.  If you can move beyond the shock effect here, I'd stay strong on the point that he messed up ...but hold that thought for now.  As he gets into construction of a larger, new place, I expect you'll have other battles coming related to the construction.  Even if things go fine, you might want to use this chip (no pun intended) to bargain for some evergreens to better separate your property and view from whatever monstrosity he'll be putting in rather than a single new tree.  I.e., you've got an edge on him here, if the error is verified, so slow-play it and see how construction goes.  Strike one against him.  Spring would be a better time to replant anyway, I'd imagine.  

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If the branches and roots extended into his property, then I'd think that he had the right to at least trim the thing.

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2 minutes ago, tri-man 47 said:

This was by the NW corner of your house, correct?  He's tearing down the semi-ranch house next door with the unkempt lawn?  (Strava-based research and Google Map views, my friend.)

Being a tree on the north side of your property, you're not losing the shade, which is a good thing.  If you can move beyond the shock effect here, I'd stay strong on the point that he messed up ...but hold that thought for now.  As he gets into construction of a larger, new place, I expect you'll have other battles coming related to the construction.  Even if things go fine, you might want to use this chip (no pun intended) to bargain for some evergreens to better separate your property and view from whatever monstrosity he'll be putting in rather than a single new tree.  I.e., you've got an edge on him here, if the error is verified, so slow-play it and see how construction goes.  Strike one against him.  Spring would be a better time to replant anyway, I'd imagine.  

:thumbup:

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1 hour ago, Dan Lambskin said:

Classic case of “have sex with his wife” here

and BURN IT DOWN

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8 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

Stick it to him. Just make sure to log all communication. Get as many photos as you can before the crew leaves. 

Good one.  Take a bough

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1 hour ago, gianmarco said:

Did not discuss any potential compensation yet.  He wanted to get a survey to see where the tree lies which I completely agree with.  I didn't say I'm putting the screws to him at all.  I simply said I was trying to read about our area and what happens if someone takes down a tree of yours and that's what I read. 

At the same time, I get being apologetic, but you also have to be responsible.  As a new neighbor, just coming in and taking down trees before we even got a chance to meet up as we discussed isn't the best way to start on his end.  And we're not talking about a small tree here.  You can't just replace a 50 ft tree.

I haven't done anything with him yet or asked for anything.  That's why I'm starting here to get some ideas.  I was pretty calm talking to him this morning, listened to him, and said to let me know what he finds out with the survey and then we can talk.  Not sure how else I could have handled it at this point. :shrug:

Says who?  Make the ####### go out and buy you a NEW 50 ft. tree.  

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38 minutes ago, Bucky86 said:

If he works in construction I'd make it give you a free bathroom remodel or something. Pretty lame as money can't really replace 50 years of tree growth. There was something similar in Denver recently where construction next door dug up a bunch of tree roots and killed the tree. 

There is zero chance I would have a contractor do “free” work in my house as payment for something else. He would have no motivation to do it properly or in a reasonable timeframe at all.

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9 minutes ago, Thunderlips said:

Says who?  Make the ####### go out and buy you a NEW 50 ft. tree.  

I’ve seen golf courses add big trees like that before. 

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49 minutes ago, Ditkaless Wonders said:

Go out on a limb and try anyhow.  Get to the root of the problem if you can.

It seems that if he wants sound advice from the FFA crowd he's barking up the wrong tree.  

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My two cents - 

I agree with some that the neighbor is playing "dumb," and likely felt it would be easier to apologize and displace blame than it would be to talk to you about it.  You don't cut down something that's been there for 50+ years, that you can't replace, and that you might not even have a right to cut down without talking to the neighbor FIRST.  If you weren't home, he should have either waited or tried to contact you via other means.  That's not something you act hastily on.  Anyone saying the OP should value the future relationship of the neighbor is overlooking that the neighbor is the one who got off on the wrong foot here.  You don't do that as a good neighbor.  

If this were determined to be on your property, and you wanted to push the issue, it could EASILY be a 5-figure payout owed to you.  Tree costs are nutso - and in this case, there's no way he can replace it with a tree of equal size/age.  Physically impossible.  So that means the cost owed to you would be even higher.  That's not even considering non-tree costs such as damage to your perceived resale, etc.  

I don't understand why he had to cut it down right that instant.  He should have talked to you first, no exceptions.  If it were me, I'd be livid - I would not be able to just "get over it."  I'm a tree guy - I appreciate the value trees add to real estate and have planted a ton of trees on our property.  It's painful to watch them grow so slowly and I'd love to have more mature trees.  I can't imagine how mad I'd be if someone cut one of my trees down, even if it is by accident.  You don't do things that aren't reversible without fully understanding what's going on.  

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10 minutes ago, hagmania said:

I'd demand at least tree-fiddy.

golf-clap

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2 hours ago, IC FBGCav said:

Really lay the wood to her, too.

and make her BARK like a dog

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7 minutes ago, Fat Nick said:

My two cents - 

I agree with some that the neighbor is playing "dumb," and likely felt it would be easier to apologize and displace blame than it would be to talk to you about it.  You don't cut down something that's been there for 50+ years, that you can't replace, and that you might not even have a right to cut down without talking to the neighbor FIRST.  If you weren't home, he should have either waited or tried to contact you via other means.  That's not something you act hastily on.  Anyone saying the OP should value the future relationship of the neighbor is overlooking that the neighbor is the one who got off on the wrong foot here.  You don't do that as a good neighbor.  

If this were determined to be on your property, and you wanted to push the issue, it could EASILY be a 5-figure payout owed to you.  Tree costs are nutso - and in this case, there's no way he can replace it with a tree of equal size/age.  Physically impossible.  So that means the cost owed to you would be even higher.  That's not even considering non-tree costs such as damage to your perceived resale, etc.  

I don't understand why he had to cut it down right that instant.  He should have talked to you first, no exceptions.  If it were me, I'd be livid - I would not be able to just "get over it."  I'm a tree guy - I appreciate the value trees add to real estate and have planted a ton of trees on our property.  It's painful to watch them grow so slowly and I'd love to have more mature trees.  I can't imagine how mad I'd be if someone cut one of my trees down, even if it is by accident.  You don't do things that aren't reversible without fully understanding what's going on.  

Thank you.  Saved me some typing.  Lawyer up.  Neighbors suck.

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1 hour ago, tri-man 47 said:

This was by the NW corner of your house, correct?  He's tearing down the semi-ranch house next door with the unkempt lawn?  (Strava-based research and Google Map views, my friend.)

Being a tree on the north side of your property, you're not losing the shade, which is a good thing.  If you can move beyond the shock effect here, I'd stay strong on the point that he messed up ...but hold that thought for now.  As he gets into construction of a larger, new place, I expect you'll have other battles coming related to the construction.  Even if things go fine, you might want to use this chip (no pun intended) to bargain for some evergreens to better separate your property and view from whatever monstrosity he'll be putting in rather than a single new tree.  I.e., you've got an edge on him here, if the error is verified, so slow-play it and see how construction goes.  Strike one against him.  Spring would be a better time to replant anyway, I'd imagine.  

thanks, mcnulty

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Burn his house down and then apologize and explain that you tried to get in touch with him first.

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2 hours ago, gianmarco said:

Did not discuss any potential compensation yet.  He wanted to get a survey to see where the tree lies which I completely agree with.  I didn't say I'm putting the screws to him at all.  I simply said I was trying to read about our area and what happens if someone takes down a tree of yours and that's what I read. 

At the same time, I get being apologetic, but you also have to be responsible.  As a new neighbor, just coming in and taking down trees before we even got a chance to meet up as we discussed isn't the best way to start on his end.  And we're not talking about a small tree here.  You can't just replace a 50 ft tree.

I haven't done anything with him yet or asked for anything.  That's why I'm starting here to get some ideas.  I was pretty calm talking to him this morning, listened to him, and said to let me know what he finds out with the survey and then we can talk.  Not sure how else I could have handled it at this point. :shrug:

All depends on your state's laws, but it's timber trespass if it was on your property (and may also be trespass, negligence, and a few other potential claims).  Once you establish where the tree was located relative to the property line, if you need to establish a value contact a landscaping company and find out how much it would cost to replace the tree (it's pretty pricey to relocate and plant a mature tree, but it gets done all the time).   Under some state laws, not only are you entitled to 3x the value of the tree and attorney's fees, but in some cases you can recover for additional damages as well.   

If the tree was straddling the property line, that generally makes you tenants in common and depending on your state's laws may not trigger a timber trespass statute.  Instead you'd be looking at claims for trespass, negligence and waste.  As with all legal issues, you need to understand the laws of your jurisdiction and should seek local counsel if you want actual legal advice.

As a practical matter, I'd see what happens with the survey and see what the neighbor wants to do to make it right.   If he's reasonable, work with him, but it doesn't hurt to know what you'd be entitled to if things go sideways.

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2 hours ago, IC FBGCav said:

We need pics of stump and back yard.

:ph34r:

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2 minutes ago, -fish- said:

All depends on your state's laws, but it's timber trespass if it was on your property (and may also be trespass, negligence, and a few other potential claims).  Once you establish where the tree was located relative to the property line, if you need to establish a value contact a landscaping company and find out how much it would cost to replace the tree (it's pretty pricey to relocate and plant a mature tree, but it gets done all the time).   Under some state laws, not only are you entitled to 3x the value of the tree and attorney's fees, but in some cases you can recover for additional damages as well.   

If the tree was straddling the property line, that generally makes you tenants in common and depending on your state's laws may not trigger a timber trespass statute.  Instead you'd be looking at claims for trespass, negligence and waste.  As with all legal issues, you need to understand the laws of your jurisdiction and should seek local counsel if you want actual legal advice.

As a practical matter, I'd see what happens with the survey and see what the neighbor wants to do to make it right.   If he's reasonable, work with him, but it doesn't hurt to know what you'd be entitled to if things go sideways.

This is where I am now.

FWIW, our survey shows the property line at 23'4" from our house. The stump begins 21'10" from our house.  90% of it was on our side from what I can see.

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2 hours ago, TheIronSheik said:

Am I the only one who thinks the neighbor is full of crap about telling the tree guys not to cut that down?  I'm guessing he thought it would be easier to claim it was an accident then go through the hassle of having to deal with if it could or could not be cut down.  

Maybe, but who cares? Probably no way to know for sure.

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4 minutes ago, Terminalxylem said:

It was a mistake. Let it go.

This will be the excuse I use when I kill someone with my car.  "Geez.  Get over it already.  It was a mistake."

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2 hours ago, gianmarco said:

That tree was the one he wanted to discuss with me as he knew it was likely on the property line which makes it both of ours. 

To me this is the key line in neighbors deception. 

Why would this huge tree 20’ from his neighbors house even need to be discussed? Shouldn’t interfere with his home construction and provides privacy both ways. 
 

Even a total dunce worker with a chainsaw has to be questioning the decision to take down a glorious tree like that without asking 5x. 
 

To people saying “No big deal; let it go.” Wth are you smoking? I love the property I have now but I STILL miss the 135 year-old oak trees I had at my last property towering over the house, and it’s been 12 years. 

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Just now, Terminalxylem said:

Maybe, but who cares? Probably no way to know for sure.

He cares.  What do you mean "who cares"? :confused:

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I was a claims adjuster in a past life and actually handled a claim where one of our tree companies did something similar.  They cut down 30-40 little saplings clearing out some land and they spilled over onto the wrong lot.  

The guy that owned the lot contacted an arborist.  This guy put a value on each and every little sapling.  Guy came up with a number of like $2500 per sapling.  I think we ended up writing him a $25k check. 

Contact an arborist and show him the stump.  He'll put a value on it and you can go from there.  I'd be pissed too.  These guys know better.   I haven't read the entire post yet, but sounds like this guy knew he needed to talk to you about it and then just said screw it and did it anyways.   You could really push this issue and get some cash out.  

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2 hours ago, ChiefD said:

For those of you saying, well, it's just a tree... come on.

A 50 year old tree is no joke. I'd be pissed as hell if my neighbor accidentally cut down my 50 foot oak tree that has been there since 1967.

If I just bought the property and had no special attachment to the tree (not certain it’s even on his land), I’d forget about it. Sounds like there are other trees in the the forest.

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From his actions so far, I'm guessing this guy is playing nice because that's his entire plan.  He gets what he wants by taking advantage of your kindness.  Is being friends with neighbors that important?  Our last house we were very friendly with neighbors on one side and never spoke with the neighbors on the other side.  Didn't affect us one bit.  I wouldn't be a jerk to the guy, but I'd be really nice as I explained to him that my lawyer would be in contact with him.

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34 minutes ago, Fat Nick said:

My two cents - 

I agree with some that the neighbor is playing "dumb," and likely felt it would be easier to apologize and displace blame than it would be to talk to you about it.  You don't cut down something that's been there for 50+ years, that you can't replace, and that you might not even have a right to cut down without talking to the neighbor FIRST.  If you weren't home, he should have either waited or tried to contact you via other means.  That's not something you act hastily on.  Anyone saying the OP should value the future relationship of the neighbor is overlooking that the neighbor is the one who got off on the wrong foot here.  You don't do that as a good neighbor.  

If this were determined to be on your property, and you wanted to push the issue, it could EASILY be a 5-figure payout owed to you.  Tree costs are nutso - and in this case, there's no way he can replace it with a tree of equal size/age.  Physically impossible.  So that means the cost owed to you would be even higher.  That's not even considering non-tree costs such as damage to your perceived resale, etc.  

I don't understand why he had to cut it down right that instant.  He should have talked to you first, no exceptions.  If it were me, I'd be livid - I would not be able to just "get over it."  I'm a tree guy - I appreciate the value trees add to real estate and have planted a ton of trees on our property.  It's painful to watch them grow so slowly and I'd love to have more mature trees.  I can't imagine how mad I'd be if someone cut one of my trees down, even if it is by accident.  You don't do things that aren't reversible without fully understanding what's going on.  

this.

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32 minutes ago, Fat Nick said:

My two cents - 

I agree with some that the neighbor is playing "dumb," and likely felt it would be easier to apologize and displace blame than it would be to talk to you about it.  You don't cut down something that's been there for 50+ years, that you can't replace, and that you might not even have a right to cut down without talking to the neighbor FIRST.  If you weren't home, he should have either waited or tried to contact you via other means.  That's not something you act hastily on.  Anyone saying the OP should value the future relationship of the neighbor is overlooking that the neighbor is the one who got off on the wrong foot here.  You don't do that as a good neighbor.  

If this were determined to be on your property, and you wanted to push the issue, it could EASILY be a 5-figure payout owed to you.  Tree costs are nutso - and in this case, there's no way he can replace it with a tree of equal size/age.  Physically impossible.  So that means the cost owed to you would be even higher.  That's not even considering non-tree costs such as damage to your perceived resale, etc.  

I don't understand why he had to cut it down right that instant.  He should have talked to you first, no exceptions.  If it were me, I'd be livid - I would not be able to just "get over it."  I'm a tree guy - I appreciate the value trees add to real estate and have planted a ton of trees on our property.  It's painful to watch them grow so slowly and I'd love to have more mature trees.  I can't imagine how mad I'd be if someone cut one of my trees down, even if it is by accident.  You don't do things that aren't reversible without fully understanding what's going on.  

He probably had the tree stuff scheduled in advance, hence trying to get a hold of the OP when he was unfortunately on vacation.  Yes the neighbor is the one starting things off on the wrong foot, but the question is, are you going to escalate this or are you going to be the bigger person and find some common ground.  It could have been a miscommunication between the neighbor and the tree company.  It is absolutely true that there is no way to replace the tree, so you'll get some money, that won't bring the tree back, it won't make you less upset that the tree got cut down.  All it is really going to do is further sour a potential relationship with your new neighbor.  If it were something that a monetary award would reasonably give you the ability to replace what you loss I'd probably feel differently.  In this case I'm not seeing how it is going to help anything.  This is also all before the neighbor as had to chance to offer any compensation at all.

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1 hour ago, gianmarco said:

1)  A good bit, honestly.

2)  No idea

3)  I think that's very reasonable.  Just not sure what kind of comparable tree can accomplish that but certainly open to it.

if its that important, they can replace the tree.   it will cost him thousands but you can transplant a mature hickory tree right back into that spot.

 

me-   i hate trees and love to cut them them down so i'd probably have the guy buy me a professional smoker for the back porch then have him cut all the hickory into firewood and stack it in your back yard.  Probably get 4-6 cords out of it, enough to cook every day for years.  

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Arborist is the way to go. If you have a city/county environmental office they probably have one on staff or can get you in touch with one.

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12 minutes ago, TheIronSheik said:

This will be the excuse I use when I kill someone with my car.  "Geez.  Get over it already.  It was a mistake."

Maybe he should try that line as he runs over his neighbor?

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Look at the bright side:   you won't be raking as many leaves this fall.

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14 minutes ago, TheIronSheik said:

He cares.  What do you mean "who cares"? :confused:

He cares about the tree. Not sure how assuming the neighbor’s actions were intentional will make this situation any better. 

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Lots of people significantly undervaluing a tree ITT (which is why I am sure the neighbor would try and make things right by giving $1000 or whatever). You can probably buy a nice mid-tier luxury car from the payout, we are not talking $200. If all the people saying "who cares" want to leave that money on the table, go ahead. 

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8 minutes ago, Foosball God said:

He probably had the tree stuff scheduled in advance, hence trying to get a hold of the OP when he was unfortunately on vacation.  Yes the neighbor is the one starting things off on the wrong foot, but the question is, are you going to escalate this or are you going to be the bigger person and find some common ground.  It could have been a miscommunication between the neighbor and the tree company.  It is absolutely true that there is no way to replace the tree, so you'll get some money, that won't bring the tree back, it won't make you less upset that the tree got cut down.  All it is really going to do is further sour a potential relationship with your new neighbor.  If it were something that a monetary award would reasonably give you the ability to replace what you loss I'd probably feel differently.  In this case I'm not seeing how it is going to help anything.  This is also all before the neighbor as had to chance to offer any compensation at all.

:goodposting:Unless there is a realistic way to replace it with a comparable tree, not a battle worth fighting.

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50 minutes ago, Fat Nick said:

My two cents - 

I agree with some that the neighbor is playing "dumb," and likely felt it would be easier to apologize and displace blame than it would be to talk to you about it.  You don't cut down something that's been there for 50+ years, that you can't replace, and that you might not even have a right to cut down without talking to the neighbor FIRST.  If you weren't home, he should have either waited or tried to contact you via other means.  That's not something you act hastily on.  Anyone saying the OP should value the future relationship of the neighbor is overlooking that the neighbor is the one who got off on the wrong foot here.  You don't do that as a good neighbor.  

If this were determined to be on your property, and you wanted to push the issue, it could EASILY be a 5-figure payout owed to you.  Tree costs are nutso - and in this case, there's no way he can replace it with a tree of equal size/age.  Physically impossible.  So that means the cost owed to you would be even higher.  That's not even considering non-tree costs such as damage to your perceived resale, etc.  

I don't understand why he had to cut it down right that instant.  He should have talked to you first, no exceptions.  If it were me, I'd be livid - I would not be able to just "get over it."  I'm a tree guy - I appreciate the value trees add to real estate and have planted a ton of trees on our property.  It's painful to watch them grow so slowly and I'd love to have more mature trees.  I can't imagine how mad I'd be if someone cut one of my trees down, even if it is by accident.  You don't do things that aren't reversible without fully understanding what's going on.  

True.  I believe it was none other that Mister Carl Weathers who once proclaimed "It's better to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission, Baby". 

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don't go to an arborist for a cost estimate.  go to a landscaping company that replaces mature trees.  

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16 minutes ago, Foosball God said:

He probably had the tree stuff scheduled in advance, hence trying to get a hold of the OP when he was unfortunately on vacation.  Yes the neighbor is the one starting things off on the wrong foot, but the question is, are you going to escalate this or are you going to be the bigger person and find some common ground.  It could have been a miscommunication between the neighbor and the tree company.  It is absolutely true that there is no way to replace the tree, so you'll get some money, that won't bring the tree back, it won't make you less upset that the tree got cut down.  All it is really going to do is further sour a potential relationship with your new neighbor.  If it were something that a monetary award would reasonably give you the ability to replace what you loss I'd probably feel differently.  In this case I'm not seeing how it is going to help anything.  This is also all before the neighbor as had to chance to offer any compensation at all.

I'd rather have money and a neighbor who I don't have to talk to.  I mean, that's win-win-win for me.

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2 minutes ago, huthut said:

Lots of people significantly undervaluing a tree ITT (which is why I am sure the neighbor would try and make things right by giving $1000 or whatever). You can probably buy a nice mid-tier luxury car from the payout, we are not talking $200. If all the people saying "who cares" want to leave that money on the table, go ahead. 

Maybe he should wait to see what the neighbor offers before escalating the situation? And as others have said, the cash isn’t likely to replace the tree’s true value.

Anything short of replanting a comparable tree isn’t worth the effort and impact on neighborly relations, imo.

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Maybe if you get sentimental about the tree, you can strike a cord with your neighbor. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(been dealing with flat tire woes all morning so my pun is late)

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4 minutes ago, Terminalxylem said:

Maybe he should wait to see what the neighbor offers before escalating the situation? And as others have said, the cash isn’t likely to replace the tree’s true value.

Anything short of replanting a comparable tree isn’t worth the effort and impact on neighborly relations, imo.

Or, don't wait and then say the lawyers went ahead without your say.  You told them to sue other people, not him.  Tell him your sorry.  Hopefully he won't escalate things and become a jerk just because your lawyer messed up.  I mean, for the good of the neighborhood friendship.

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From wiki 

Studies have shown that trees contribute as much as 27% of the appraised land value in certain markets and cite the following table[49]which can be extrapolated with care.

Basic tree values (varies by region)[50]

diameter
(inches)value
(1985 US$)

10$1,729

14$3,388

18$5,588

26$11,682

30$15,554

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24 minutes ago, Osaurus said:

Maybe if you get sentimental about the tree, you can strike a cord with your neighbor. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(been dealing with flat tire woes all morning so my pun is late)

you're kind of letting the air out of this thread.

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I'd be super pissed, but I'm also an irrational **** most of the time.

Edited by greedygoat
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12 minutes ago, Dan Lambskin said:

From wiki 

Studies have shown that trees contribute as much as 27% of the appraised land value in certain markets and cite the following table[49]which can be extrapolated with care.

Basic tree values (varies by region)[50]

diameter
(inches)value
(1985 US$)

10$1,729

14$3,388

18$5,588

26$11,682

30$15,554

Yeah, this is what I'm finding out too.

The largest tree I've been able to find in the area is a 6" caliper American Beech Tree.  The diameter of that, to compare, is about 2 inches (vs. 20 inches of what was just cut down).  That tree is ~15' in height.  The cost of that tree is ~$2,000 and would cost another $1000 to plant.  That's just a fraction of the size of the tree that was lost.

Going by the above I quoted, at 3x the damages, we're talking between $20-30K in damages. 

I found this which puts the value at $7,200 (60%, then 80% of $15,000).  We're talking almost $22K at that point.

I'm all for being neighborly, but there's a reason for these values. 

Edited by gianmarco
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1 hour ago, Johnny Rock said:

To me this is the key line in neighbors deception. 

Why would this huge tree 20’ from his neighbors house even need to be discussed? Shouldn’t interfere with his home construction and provides privacy both ways. 
 

Even a total dunce worker with a chainsaw has to be questioning the decision to take down a glorious tree like that without asking 5x. 
 

To people saying “No big deal; let it go.” Wth are you smoking? I love the property I have now but I STILL miss the 135 year-old oak trees I had at my last property towering over the house, and it’s been 12 years. 

I have a bunch you can come take.   They suck

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