The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

October 19, 2013

Businesses, officials seek agreement

CLINTON — City officials and local businessmen are working together to reach an agreement to rectify the improper removal of four trees on city property in Clinton’s west end.

Local businessman and Realtor Steve Howes has said that if and when they are issued, he will pay any penalties in connection with the removal of four Purple Ash trees that were located on city property at the corner of 19th Street and Lincoln Way in Clinton.

“I was led to believe that behind the parkway was private property, so I forwarded that information on,” Howes said.

Although a penalty has not been issued, Howes could face up to $400 in fines plus re-planting fees, according to Clinton’s tree ordinance.

Clinton City Attorney Jeff Farwell said Wednesday that he has been working with all of the parties involved to reach an agreement on what penalties will be distributed and who will receive those punishments, but has not reached that agreement.

“We’re trying to work on a deal with all the people involved with the situation,” Farwell said. “No fines have been issued yet.”

According to the city ordinance, removal of parkway trees without a proper permit is punishable by a $100 fine for each violation, plus applicable court costs. Each violation that is committed will be handled as an individual violation and will be treated accordingly.

Both Howes and his client, Clinton Auto Group owner Craig Miller, say they were informed the trees were located on private property and would not require a permit to be cut down.

However, City Engineer Jason Craft said the trees were in fact on city property based on a design plan from the Iowa Department of Transportation for the Lincoln Way Streetscape project from 2001. Craft also confirmed there were no proper tree permits obtained prior to the removal of the four Purple Ash trees.

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