PALM COAST, FL - September 15, 2017 - As citizens clean up their yards after the hurricane, the City of Palm Coast has prepared a short Q&A about tree removal and pruning.
Q: Who should I call to remove/prune my tree?
A: The City cannot recommend any particular tree service. On the City website, www.palmcoastgov.com, search for “business tax.” Select “Tree Surgeons” from the list of business types to find all of the tree services that have their business tax paid and are registered with the City. Those businesses are expected to know Palm Coast’s regulations for tree-pruning. The City does not verify the insurance for these vendors, so ask to see a copy of their insurance. If you have not confirmed that they are registered with the City through the City website, also ask to see a copy of their Licensed Business Tax Receipt (business license).
Q: Whose tree is it?
A: In this scenario, a neighbor is complaining about a tree from the adjacent property that has branches (either alive and extending onto the roof or broken and hanging) that extend over to his property. It is not the responsibility of the tree owner to prune the branches, but the adjacent property owner is permitted to prune the branches that extend onto his property. The adjacent property owner is not allowed to prune up vertically any branch that extends over the property line as this could harm the tree. They should prune back to a lateral branch or the main trunk if the damage extends that far. This would not require a permit from the City, and the City would not be involved in this type of civil issue.
Q: Who pays for the damage caused by a tree that fell from one property onto a developed lot?
A: This is a legal issue for an attorney or property insurance companies, but generally, if the tree was in good condition and fell onto another property and caused damage, it is not the responsibility of the tree owner to pay for damages or remove the tree from the adjacent property. There may be issues if neglect is cited where the property owner should have known or was made aware of a tree’s hazardous condition before it fell. In this case, the tree owner may be responsible. This civil issue is between the neighbors and their insurance companies.
Q: What should I do if a neighbor’s tree is still endangering my property?
A: Residents whose house is being endangered by a dead, dying or diseased tree from a neighboring property or public right-of-way should call City of Palm Coast Urban Forestry to report the tree issue. An inspector will be sent out to determine the action to be taken. Urban Forestry is at 386-986-3758. Also, call Urban Forestry if you have any fallen trees from the public right-of-way that have damaged private property.
Other City of Palm Coast updates:
Debris Pickup Update – Storm debris removal will begin Saturday, Sept. 16. To expedite debris removal from residences, the City asks residents to help by separating everything at the curb into the following categories:
- Vegetative Debris – leaves, logs, plants, tree branches, etc.
- Construction & Demolition Debris – building materials, asphalt shingles, drywall, lumber, metal, plastics, etc.
- Normal Household Trash – Normal household trash and bagged debris of any kind will not be picked up with debris as part of this program. You should continue to follow your normal garbage and yard trash schedule for normal garbage and bagged storm debris.
Debris should be placed on your property near the curb – NOT on the street. Don’t pile vegetative debris on your water meter box or your sewer clean out cap or your PEP tank lid. The City may need access to these systems during storm recovery.
Please be patient. It will take several passes through Palm Coast before all the debris (whether bagged or loose) is picked up. Simply leave the debris at curbside until it is picked up. This process is expected to take several weeks.
Commercial businesses and apartments, townhomes, and condominiums are responsible for their own debris cleanup and hauling. Hurricane debris will not be picked up by Waste Pro or the City’s debris collection contractor. Businesses and multi-family residential developments should not place debris at the curb.
Pet Care After the Storm – Keep your pet safe. As temperatures rise in your home without power, your pets need special attention to keep cool and safe. Here are some ideas:
- Ensure they have plenty of water. If possible, add ice to the water or create a large bowl of ice and float a smaller bowl of water in the ice to keep it as cool as possible. You can also give your pet ice cubes to lick, chew or play with.
- If you have rooms with ceramic tile flooring, be sure to allow your pets in those rooms. Tile is cooler than the surrounding air and will help keep your pets cooler.
- Hose down or spray down your dogs. The evaporating water will help keep them cool. Alternatively, you can purchase a cooling towel or bandana.
- Take your pets for a ride in the air-conditioned car or to a pet-friendly store for a break from the heat. But never leave your pet in a parked car.
- Allow your pets to go on the back porch or lanai, as long as they are in the shade. At night, it’s often cooler outside than indoors.
- Consider purchasing a commercially available cooling pad for your pet.
Limit water use – As the wastewater sewer system continues to be taxed because of the power outage, please limit your water use for showers, flushing, dishwashing. The less water that goes into the wastewater system, the less that has to be pumped out and trucked to the wastewater treatment plant.
If you get power restored and your PEP alarm sounds, please continue to limit your water use until the PEP alarm stops. If the PEP alarm continues after 15 minutes, please call Customer Service at 386-986-2360 to report.
Customer Service hours - Palm Coast Customer Service will continue to take calls tonight for issues related to City services, including water and sewer, streets and drainage. The number is 386-986-2360.
If you have property damage, hire a licensed contractor - All contractors other than for debris removal and landscaping/tree removal are required to have a license. Ask to see the license, and take a photo of it, if possible. Call the Palm Coast Building Division at 386-986-3780 to make sure they have the right license. Also, get a written contract before the work starts.
Permit fees waived for Irma-related damage – Fees will be waived through Nov. 30, 2017, for permits for fences, sheds, soffit/fascia/siding repairs, A/C equipment change-outs, electrical repairs (mast, weather-head, panel, lights), roofing, screen enclosure (aluminum cage) and docks for damage incurred as a result of Hurricane Irma. Information on the permits required, when necessary, and timing for acquiring those permits is available at the City’s website at www.palmcoastgov.com. It is the City’s intent to expedite all hurricane-related permits. Many minor repairs will not need a permit whatsoever. For any clarity, please call the Building Division at 386-986-3780.
More information on storm recovery is available on the City’s website at www.palmcoastgov.com. The City is also providing information on these social media accounts:
Flagler County Emergency Management is posting storm information at www.flaglercounty.org/irma.
Any questions about City of Palm Coast services – water and sewer, streets, drainage – should be directed to Customer Service at 386-986-2360.