City reaches deal with tree lopper
An east Aspen property owner responsible for the destruction of a half-dozen city-owned cottonwood trees reportedly has reached a deal with the city.City officials have not yet released the name of the person or people responsible for cutting the tops off the trees, which are in the public right of way, in April. According to city officials, the punishment for damaging public property could be up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.But the city has filed no case, and the police, the parks department and the city attorney couldn’t or wouldn’t name who they believe is behind the deed.”I have no idea what his name is,” said Stephen Ellsperman, deputy parks director. Police Chief Loren Ryerson said he was not certain of the status of an investigation police are reportedly conducting, and City Attorney John Worcester referred questions to assistant city attorney David Hoefer.Efforts to reach Hoefer on Tuesday and Wednesday were not successful.Two different corporations own the property adjacent to the topped trees, at 926 and 936 E. Hopkins Ave., according to Pitkin County records. Rapids East LLC owns half the duplex, and Plastics Management Inc. owns the other half. Both corporations are listed at 53196 N. Main St. in Mattawan, Mich. No names of individuals are attached to the county records for the property.City forester Aaron Reed said Wednesday that Hoefer and attorney Fred Peirce, who is representing an unnamed landowner whose property is adjacent to the topped trees, have reached a deal.Reed said Ellsperman sent him an e-mail that says the deal calls for: The damaged trees to be dug up to a depth of 32 inches below the surface replacement of the topsoil with a “high quality topsoil in accordance with city specifications” replacement of the trees, although it is not clear if the new trees will be cottonwoods or some other species, or whether there will be five or six of them replacement of the sod along the grassy strip between the curb and the sidewalk, and installation of a system to keep tree roots from bulging up through nearby sidewalks installation of an irrigation system for both the trees and the sod.Reed said there was no dollar amount connected to the description of the deal, but he said, “It’s going to be quite costly.”Attempts to contact Peirce late Wednesday were unsuccessful.John Colson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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