Leaning tree troubles Rosedale residents

April 22, 2008|By Liz F. Kay

THE PROBLEM --A dead tree is leaning against two others and threatening to fall onto a Rosedale street.

THE BACKSTORY -- Bill Van Camp lives on Gilmore Avenue, facing a strip of land next to the CSX railroad tracks.

More than a month ago, a tree on the CSX property fell over, held upright only by branches that lodged against two smaller trees.

"The next big wind or a few good rains, you're going to have a couple of trees go with it," Van Camp said.

He said he's afraid that the falling tree will take out utility lines as it falls into Gilmore Avenue -- and possibly smash his fence and truck.

Van Camp called the Baltimore County Department of Public Works, and a staff member from the Bureau of Highways took a look. But because the tree was on CSX property, she called the company to report the problem.

"She followed up afterward twice," said Van Camp's wife, Gina. "She told them it was a dangerous situation."

David Fidler, a spokesman for Department of Public Works, confirmed that the inspector called CSX on March 12 -- and had to call seven other numbers before she identified the correct place to call in Florida.

"They know all about it," Fidler said. "It's their responsibility if it's on their property."

That would change, however, should the forces of nature send the dead tree crashing down onto Gilmore Avenue.

"If it lands in the roadway, the county will clean it up," Fidler said. For now, however, "it's on their property -- that's what makes it their responsibility and, I assume, their liability."

But as of last week, no one from the company had responded to their request.

"I can't believe it hasn't come down yet," Gina Van Camp said. "As soon as those branches go, that will be it."

CSX spokesman Robert Sullivan said someone would inspect the tree this week.

WHO CAN FIX THIS -- The CSX Web site lists 877-TellCSX (835-5279).

UPDATE

On Wednesday, less than a week after city Department of Housing and Community Development personnel removed from an abandoned Poppleton rowhouse a cornice that was threatening to fall off, the back wall collapsed.

City workers demolished the rest of the building, originally included in a Poppleton redevelopment plan, on Thursday.

"Given that the property was to be rehabbed, we will have to have the developer look at the lot and assess [it] for new construction," wrote Cheron Porter, spokeswoman for the Department of Housing and Community Development, in an e-mail.

The other two houses in the group were undamaged; the shared wall between 1228 and 1226 Rankin appeared to be in good shape, Porter wrote.

James Smith, whose sister, Nora Giles, lives in one of the three houses on Rankin Place, an alley, said, that after the demolition, his sister had no water in her house until Friday.

"The only damage she has is the inconvenience," Smith said.

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