Residents of Cherokee County Continue to Be at Risk Due to Falling Trees

The Victory Place subdivision in Cherokee County is plagued by the persistent danger of trees collapsing with every passing storm, which not only instills apprehension but also inflicts substantial property damage. The recent occurrences of trees falling onto residential properties and vehicles have intensified apprehensions, necessitating a more thorough examination of the obligations and conduct of the parties involved.

Last month, homeowner O’Neal Wilburn was personally exposed to the perils presented by the precarious trees when one of them collided with his bedroom. The impact was sufficiently severe for him to tumble away and collide with his shed. A few hours later, an additional tree collapsed, obstructing the driveway of a neighbor. “Everyone is extremely distressed about the situation,” Wilburn told Ashli Lincoln, an investigative reporter for Channel 2.

A board member of the homeowners’ association, Chris Frymeyer, is proactively pursuing strategies to alleviate these potential dangers. He highlighted the possibility that the developer of the subdivision, Smith Douglas Homes, could be held accountable for the issue. As stated by Frymeyer, the developer erroneously apprised locals that the county, not the householders or the developer, was accountable for the removal of potentially hazardous trees. As residents inadvertently appealed to the incorrect authority, this misinformation has caused substantial delays in resolving the matter.

The homeowners’ association engaged the services of an arborist to conduct a proactive assessment of the situation. The results were disconcerting: over thirty trees were detected as imminent hazards to the residences. Additionally, the arborist observed that the substantial deforestation conducted in preparation for the subdivision’s construction had undermined the stability of the residual trees’ root systems, thereby elevating the probability of their collapse.

Frymeyer provided valuable insights from the county’s vantage point, highlighting that the developer had the opportunity to consult county officials prior to the escalation of the situation concerning the management of the wooded areas. “Had Smith Douglas approached us and informed us that certain trees in our vicinity might present a problem for homeowners, we would have provided them with the appropriate procedures to eliminate these trees,” he elaborated.

The proprietors may be required to bear the financial burden of removing the endangered trees, which could potentially amount to $3,000 each. This has contributed to the community’s frustration, as members feel let down by Smith Douglas Homes.

Smith Douglas Homes issued the following statement in response to the ongoing issues: “We are cognizant of the tree damage that a number of our community homeowners have encountered. The damaged trees in this instance are situated within a buffer zone designated by local authorities as non-disturbed. The act of tree removal within this vicinity is strictly forbidden.

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The inhabitants of Victory Place become increasingly anxious as each storm approaches, heightening the urgency of the discourse surrounding accountability, protection, and communal assistance. A resolution that prioritizes the householders’ welfare without imposing undue financial strain is desired.

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