Little bug is creating big problems for residents - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-Team Investigation

Little bug is creating big problems for residents

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The Emerald Ash Borer killed a woman's tree in Seymour (WFSB) The Emerald Ash Borer killed a woman's tree in Seymour (WFSB)

The Emerald Ash Borer has become the source of some big arguments statewide, over property lines.

When the Emerald Ash Borer kills trees, they turn them into a safety hazard, as well as a point of contention.

Just like thousands of trees in North America, the Emerald Ash Borer eradicated Ethel Wegner's ash tree on Maple Street in Seymour.

With the dead tree planted so close to the street, it needs to be removed.

“I think it's a public safety issue. If that tree goes down, it's going to go over the road, into our neighbor's home,” Wegner said.

That’s where the fight starts.

Wegner has been going back and forth with the town. She wants to know where her property line ends and when a tree of a certain size becomes the town's responsibility.

“First selectman, the public works director, town planner. I've gone to the planning and zoning meeting,” Wegner said, but so far she hasn’t gotten a straight answer.

Licensed Arborist and Tree Removal Specialist Peter Bourret from Green Acres Tree and Shrub Care examined the tree.

He wouldn't speculate on the property lines; that isn't his business, but calculating costs is.

“With the stump removal, it would range about $2,000,” Bourret said.

The first selectman’s office said generally, the trunk of the tree needs to be in the right of way, which is 25 feet in any direction from the center of the road.

The town says since they don’t have a tree warden, they brought Ansonia’s out to assess.

He found Wegner’s tree did not fall within those guidelines.

Experts say, with the Emerald Ash Borer slowly tearing through the valley, they know this type of problem will persist, not just in Seymour, but statewide. 

“No doubt about it. There are just swaths. Everywhere they go, they just take it out,” Bourret said.

Bourret's advice is to treat your tree and not worry about it dying and the headaches that come with removing it.

But if you have a dead tree and it might the town's responsibility, check in with your zoning board to see what the laws are. It could save you thousands.

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