North Ridgeville resident flummoxed over city’s threat to press charges over tree

Resident says city worker promised to have it cut down, but didn’t follow through.

North Ridgeville resident flummoxed over city’s threat to press charges over tree
Kathryn Corbin says the X appeared on this tree after a city worker promised to have it removed, at no cost to her.

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH (WOIO) - A North Ridgeville woman says she’s getting conflicting messages from the city about a tree in her yard. First, a city worker told her it had to come down, but that the city would pay for it. Now, she’s gotten a certified letter in the mail, telling her she has to foot the bill, and threatening her with a crime if she doesn’t get it done quickly.

It started in August, after Kathryn Corbin says a storm caused some branches from a large tree in her yard to fall onto Lorain Road. Before she could have them removed, the city did it, and then placed a note on her door.

Tree trouble in North Ridgeville

When Corbin called City Hall, she says a city worker informed her they were condemning the tree, and it would have to come down.

“I said, ‘Well, how much is it going to cost me?’ He said, 'Nothing. The city will take care of it.”

Kathryn Corbin says the X appeared on this tree after a city worker promised to have it removed, at no cost to her.
Kathryn Corbin says the X appeared on this tree after a city worker promised to have it removed, at no cost to her.

According to a small green note placed on Corbin’s door, the tree would come down in September. But that deadline came and went, and the tree remained.

The notes, left by a city worker, told Corbin the tree would not be removed on 9/5, as she had been told.
The notes, left by a city worker, told Corbin the tree would not be removed on 9/5, as she had been told.

Corbin says she got word that the cost of the cutting down the tree would have been tacked onto her taxes, but not until after she got a certified letter in the mail. The letter, which came last week, told her she was in violation of city law.

“I was annoyed, I was, you know, very disappointed, in the City of North Ridgeville, that obviously the communication is not what it should be,” said Corbin.

The certified letter, sent from City Hall, told Corbin she was breaking the law by not cutting down the tree herself.
The certified letter, sent from City Hall, told Corbin she was breaking the law by not cutting down the tree herself.

She says she contacted city leaders, but they told her there was no way for them to remove the tree, and while a city councilman's email offered to extend her deadline to get the tree removed, she never heard from the worker who told her he would have it removed.

“Yeah, an apology would be nice, but even explanation,” said Corbin.

Now she’s facing a big bill to have the large tree cut down, despite assurances she wouldn’t have to pay for that. She told me it wouldn’t have bothered her if the city had just issued the notice, but she doesn’t like the way city officials handled the situation. She also worries she will be billed for the work the city did to remove limbs from the road in front of her property, despite always getting the work done herself in the past.

“The way it was done is not right,” she said.

By Wednesday afternoon, Cleveland 19 News had reached out to City Hall, but we did not hear back from anyone regarding Corbin’s case or the way it has been handled.

Meanwhile, Corbin says she’s accepted the fact she’ll likely be stuck cutting down the tree herself. However, she says she doesn’t trust the city’s assessment that it has to be torn down.

“I think at least what they should so is cut down this this branch that’s overhanging Lorain Road here. I agree it should be cut down, but in all fairness, I am not the only person with branches hanging down over the road,” said Corbin. “If you drive through the city, there’s many, many of them.”

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