Durham residents upset after dozens of newly planted trees removed at city’s request

Driving You Crazy

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Dozens of newly planted trees are no longer standing in one Durham neighborhood.

Residents upset about it reached out to CBS 17’s Laura Smith hoping to get answers about why this happened.

The neighborhood, Chapel Run off N.C. Highway 54, was developed about two years ago. Trees were planted along the main road, Crossland Drive, as you pull in.

The trees along the sidewalks were dug up in late January after the City of Durham requested developer David Weekly remove them.

CBS 17 reached out to the City of Durham’s Public Works Department and found the developer didn’t obtain a license to plant the 25 trees on the left side of the sidewalk. They were supposed to be planted on the “public-right-of-way.”

“Trees are required to be planted outside of the right-of-way unless a license agreement has been obtained to allow the trees to be in the right-of-way. The license agreement places the burden to maintain the trees on the Home Owner’s Association, the City would be responsible for maintaining the trees,” said the city’s public works department.

The builder asked residents if they wanted the trees planted in their backyard. CBS 17 is told at least one person accepted the offer, everyone else declined. The remainder of the trees were “re-purposed” to other projects.

CBS 17 reached out to David Weekly for a statement:

“David Weekly Homes has been in communication with affected customers and remains willing to pay for the replacement of the trees. We hope that a reasonable solution can be worked out with the City and the residents of the community.”

One resident said he was looking forward to seeing the trees grow taller and provide shade to the main roadway into the neighborhood.

According to TreePeople.org, trees provide a list of benefits to the environment such as:

Combat climate change by absorbing excess carbon dioxide in our atmosphere
Help clean the air by absorbing odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.
Provide oxygen and in one year can provide enough oxygen for 18 people
Keep neighborhoods cool
Conserve energy

If there’s something driving you crazy in your part of town, contact reporter Laura Smith at LSmith@CBS17.com.

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