The Rogersville Housing Authority approved a low bid last week to cut trees and bushes from its Church Hill properties, including 13 at Old Mill Race and 25 at Stroupe Court. Photo by Jeff Bobo.
CHURCH HILL — Although the Rogersville Housing Authority has withdrawn plans to cut down all the trees at its Rogersville properties, the Church Hill cuttings are still moving forward.
On Thursday the RHA Board of Directors accepted the low bid to remove 25 trees from housing authority property at Stroupe Court and 13 trees at Old Mill Race, as well as all bushes from both locations.
The RHA had also originally planned to remove all the trees from its Rogersville properties on Locust Street, Locust Circle and Gray Street.
The Rogersville cutting project was abandoned last month, however, after local residents expressed opposition at a city Tree Board meeting.
The city of Rogersville has an ordinance that requires permission of the Tree Board before any trees can be cut on public property or within the historic district.
RHA Director Becky Wolfe told her board Thursday that Church Hill has no such tree ordinance. Still, the RHA sought a letter from Church Hill confirming there is no legal issue with the tree cutting before the project moved forward.
Church Hill fire chief and building inspector David Wood inspected both locations, noting that among the trees slated for cutting were maples, pines, oaks, flowering pears, dogwoods and a variety of bushes.
Wood noted in a report to Mayor Dennis Deal that several large trees were hanging over onto apartments at both locations and some trees were close to sidewalks and causing damage.
“At Old Mill Race they’re cutting because they’re going to add more parking there next year,” Wood told the Times-News on Thursday. “They only have enough parking for the actual people who live there.”
Wood added, “Stroupe Court was more maintenance issues, and they’re going to replace roofs up there too.”
In the report he prepared for the mayor, Wood included a list of pros and cons pertaining to keeping the trees.
Among the pros were that they provide shade to residents, a habitat for birds, sound barriers, fall colors, they’re environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing.
The list of cons included maintenance issues such as raking, pruning, cleaning gutters and roof damage from leaves, limbs and animals.
Wood also listed cons such as sidewalk damage, wind and storm damage, staining on roofs from leaves and pollen, pollen in the spring, mold in the fall and erosion, especially under the larger trees where grass can’t grow.
Although the city of Church Hill didn’t express opposition to the RHA tree cutting project, due to the lack of a tree ordinance similar to Rogersville’s, Church Hill couldn’t stop the project if it wanted to.
A schedule for the Church Hill RHA tree cutting wasn’t released.