With Stapleton trees now 10 or more years old, many of them are interfering with the visibility of stop signs, a violation of Denver Municipal Code.
Up to 300 notices have been sent to Stapleton homeowners that they are required to prune or remove plant material to clear visibility within 150 feet of stop signs or traffic signals, says Scott Gilmore, deputy executive director of Parks and Planning. The tree lawn in front of homes is in the city’s right of way, but homeowners are required to maintain it.
Stapleton resident Rob Johnson, who received one of the notices, raised a concern that if trees within 150 feet of a stop sign have to be removed, Stapleton and the rest of Denver would lose thousands of trees.
Gilmore says the city will work with homeowners to save as many trees as possible and only about five trees will have to be removed in Stapleton. The rest just require pruning. “Stapleton is a new community and a lot of new trees have been planted. As those trees grow, some limbs are obstructing signs,” says Gilmore, who points out that they enforce the same policy all over the city.
The notices say homeowners have 3 weeks from the date on the notice to comply. And failure to correct the violation will result in a citation for $150 and subsequent citations for up to $999.
But Gilmore points out that these are just notices, not citations. “We’ll work with residents. We just want to be sure they’re working with our Forestry Department to address any safety issues caused by these trees that are blocking signs.
“We’re not going to issue any fines. We’re going to work with the citizens to try to make sure that we’re saving as many trees as possible. The last thing the Forestry Department wants is to cut down trees,” says Gilmore.
Arboreal Inspector Mara Fielding-Purdy, the contact person listed on the notices, reminds those who hire tree trimming that they are required to hire licensed contractors. Click here for a list of licensed contractors. Fielding-Purdy provided the following diagram showing how to properly trim a tree for do-it-yourselfers.
Trees must clear the sidewalks by 6.5 feet and clear streets by 13.5 feet.
Stop signs must be visible from 150 feet.
Safety pruning includes dead, broken or dangerous limbs greater than or equal to 2 inches in diameter.
For more information contact Mara Fielding-Purdy at 720-913-0644 or firstname.lastname@example.org.