Landscaper’s tree-removal snafu could lead to fines

Updated Sep 11, 2015
The house was actually in Atlanta city limits, not Brookhaven. Photo: Trey Benton/ The Brookhaven PostThe house was actually in Atlanta city limits, not Brookhaven.
Photo: Trey Benton/ The Brookhaven Post

A landscaping company faces thousands of dollars in potential fines because it filed a “Tree Removal Application” with the wrong city.

Hamilton Land Services, which was preparing for a landscape reconstruction project, applied back in February with the city of Brookhaven, Georgia, for permission to cut down four trees.

Brookhaven Arborist Kay Evanovich, who is in charge of reviewing tree-removal requests, said a permit technician indicated on Hamilton’s request that the job site was in Brookhaven.

“I did review the photos and documents provided by the applicant and approved the permit as it met code requirements at the time,” Evanovich told The Brookhaven Post.

The only problem was that the job site is actually in the city of Atlanta. So naturally the landscaping company was a little surprised when the Atlanta police showed up while they were in the middle of removing two pines and two magnolias from a yard.

Neighbors had called the cops believing that the trees were being removed illegally because in Atlanta notice must be given to area property owners 10 days before the removal of trees.

“I showed them my permit and really thought I was doing the right thing,” said Daniel Galyas, a Hamilton Land Service employee. “That was when I was told we weren’t in Brookhaven; we were in Atlanta.”

A stop-work order was issued. Although Hamilton Land Service eventually obtained a permit to continue the work, it may still face fines. The company says it plans to appeal any fines that are assessed due to its initial error.

“The city of Atlanta understands the issue and how it happened,” Galyas said.

Brookhaven has implemented a new process to ensure the mistake isn’t repeated. From now on, the person who reviews tree-removal permit applications must check all site information on every application.

“The permit technician made an error at intake,” Evanovich said. “That type of error should not happen again with the procedures we use now.”

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