Resident, Kingston feud over fallen tree
by Neil McGahee
Aug 13, 2013 | 1319 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In a sometimes contentious verbal battle, Kingston resident Larry Camp and Mayor Ron Casey continued to argue over the responsibility for the cleanup of a large oak tree that uprooted in July.

At last month’s meeting, Camp told the city council that two of his vehicles were badly damaged when an oak tree, its roots weakened by the excessive rainfall, uprooted crushing Camp’s three vehicles and damaging part of his house at 41 Cemetery St.

Camp said the tree, located in a neighbor’s yard, was very near the city right of way. Casey assured Camp that the city would investigate the matter of responsibility.

“I was told by Mayor Casey that the city did not have any right of way on any side street,” Camp said. “So when I got home, I checked my plat and it showed the city had a 15-foot right of way from the center on each side.”

But, when Camp said he talked to the city’s insurance representative, the representative said it was the first he had heard about it.

“I called the man myself and told him and that’s why he came up here,” Casey said.

“The man said it was the first he had heard about it,” Camp replied. “I’m not saying you did or didn’t. All I have to go on what I was told on the phone. The city did come out the next week and took pictures and verified that it was an act of God and the city had no liability for the damage.”

Casey countered that the insurance company told him that “we have absolutely no responsibility whatsoever.”

Camp said he was told the city had no responsibility for damage but the cleanup costs were between the two homeowners and the city.

“I want them to remove the debris that is still blocking my driveway and reimburse me for the $300 I spent hiring a tree company to remove enough debris to allow us to get safely in and out of our driveway,” he said.

“You’ve got a standard lawyer thing there saying that there is this much right of way on a road, but we don’t have no right of way in Kingston,” Casey said, his voice rising. “That was a wagon road, one-lane wide. If we took 15 feet from the center of that road, do you have any idea how much property those people would lose. All I can tell you is the man and woman from the insurance company told me we had no responsibility for the tree. It’s between you and the gentleman that owns the tree. That’s just something the lawyer drew up. It would be right but in Kingston we don’t have any right of way. We never did.”

Camp referred to a tree that had fallen on Johnson Street a few years earlier that the city had removed.

“That was just a little stump that was out on the right of way,” Casey replied. “You are wanting us to do something that the insurance company doesn’t want us to do. If we do it then we become liable. All I can do is tell you go to court and get a lawyer.”

“OK, sir, if we have to take that next step, we will,” Camp countered.

Casey replied that the city doesn’t have equipment that could handle that type of job.

Camp suggested that the city hire an outside company to do the work.

“If we move that tree, who’s going to reimburse the city?” Casey asked.

“That’s not my problem,” Camp said.

“Well, that’s a problem for us,” Casey said. “All I see you can do is to sue your neighbor because it’s his tree. If you would like to sue the city get in line and go for it.”

In other business, the council:

• welcomed a new business, “Barter Breeze,” a collectibles and antique gallery that participates in bartering as well as retail sales, opening at 26 Railroad St.

• approved Casey to work with the Bartow County Water Department to certify the city’s water safety.

• adopted revisions to the city’s zoning ordinance and map.