Too much fall color from lot a concern for residents

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Photo by Sue Suchyta


The resident of a house on Chatham north of a privately owned wooded lot spoke to the City Council Oct. 13 on behalf of his neighbors hoping to find out if the city can make snow fences available to contain leaves so that they no longer have to wade through foot-high drifts of leaves in their yards and streets after strong winds bring more fallen leaves their way.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – Residents of a southeast section neighborhood may have too much of a good thing: They’re being overwhelmed with colorful autumn leaves.

Whenever a north wind blows, their neatly raked lawns and sidestreet become overwhelmed with drifts of leaves.

The onslaught of leaves from a wooded lot of mature trees can continue well into winter. And leaves aren’t the only problem — they’ve also proven to be a fire hazard. Resident Mike McClain recalled a leaf fire that spread out of control several years ago and caused $20,000 worth of damage to a nearby home.

McClain, who lives in the 9900 block of Chatham north of the wooded lot, asked at the Oct. 13 City Council meeting if there were any ordinances that could encourage the property owner to install a snow fence to contain leaves or some way to prevent the ongoing onslaught.

He was quick to say that he doesn’t want the property owner to be cited, but does at least want a snow fence installed to prevent leaves from blowing around. McClain said that when the property owner, who is busy with real estate, does make an effort to contain the leaves, it is only a “Band-Aid” effort.

Residents want to know if the city can make snow fences available to contain leaves so that they no longer have to wade through foot-high drifts of leaves in their yards and streets after strong winds bring more foliage their way.

McClain said residents with homes on Melbourne, Chatham and Reeck roads north of the wooded lot are impacted the most.

A resident who lives in the 17000 block of Midway, just south of the colorful stand of mature trees, said she has no problem with leaf accumulation from the wooded lot. She said most of the leaves are blown north of her home into the streets mentioned by McClain.

City ordinance officer Pete Simakis said ordinances are “tough,” but don’t specifically address raking leaves.

A statute regarding removal of dangerous or dead material says that “an owner, occupant or person in charge or control of any lot or parcel of property within the city shall remove from any tree, shrub, plant or vine on such lot or parcel of property all dead, decayed, broken or dangerous limbs or branches.”

McClain expressed concern that leaf accumulation from the lot could allow another fire to start and spread to nearby homes.

Mayor Gary Burtka reiterated Simakis’s comments, but said he might be able to have a “good neighbor” talk with the owner of the wooded lot.

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