Local News

Cary Neighbors Fight Over Trees On Property Line

Posted August 6, 2003

— Four freshly cut stumps mark the battle line between two neighbors in Cary.

Betsy Terjesen said the trees that once stood tall on the land were hers.

"They were beautiful trees and they were over 20 feet tall," she said. "After we bought the house, the builder planted them for us. Simple as that."

However, a closer look at the property line shows two stumps on Terjesen's neighbor Chris Spencer's property and two stumps on the line. Legally, people have the right to cut down trees on their property, but in this particular case, it was a matter of inches.

"I wouldn't kill trees just for the sake of an inch or two," Terjesen said.

Neighbor Chris Spencer said the trees were on his side of the line. He wanted them removed. He said he even offered to pay to replace them.

"We tried to be easy to work with," he said. "It wasn't like the minute we found out, we took them down. It was well over a month after we had communicated with them."

Cary planning and zoning director Jeff Ulma said his department works with neighbors to find a compromise, which sometimes involves selling a few feet of land and moving the property line.

"I imagine a couple times a week, people are dealing with exactly where a line is and what's going on," Ulma said.

"We tried to do this as amicably as possible. However, sometimes people work with you and sometimes, they don't," Spencer said.

Neighborhood spats are a serious problem in many cities. In Mesa, Az., a mediation team was established to help resolve conflicts. In Concord, Calif., part of the city's Web site is devoted to tips on how to deal with differences.

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