WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - It's a fight over a tree. D.C. wants to plant more. Charley Pereira of NW D.C. says "not in my front yard." Problem is, that's exactly where the District wants to dig.
"Just another example of government abuse of power," said Periera.
Periera lives in the Crestwood neighborhood. He bought the home in 2009. He lives there with his wife and kids. They like their front yard the way it is. On Wednesday, Perieria says they got a visit from DC Arborist Shaun McKim.
"He said 'I've decided I'm going to put a tree right here in your front yard.' Well, what do you mean?...'Well, I'm the D.C. arborist and I decide where all trees are going to go in Washington, D.C."
Periera says McKim told him his family has no say in the matter.
When asked how it made him feel Periera replied, "Impinged upon. Like we have no rights as citizens. This government employee has a power trip and he's going to do what he feels like, regardless of our opinions."
Before you think Periera is a tree hater, he says he's not. He just spent thousands of dollars to landscape, take out a rotted tree, and plant a new fir. He wants the District to plant their tree someplace else.
DDOT told us that the space where they want to plant is actually considered "public space," even though it looks like it's part of Pereira's front yard. That's because the Pereira's don't have a sidewalk, so DDOT says they consider 12 feet from the curb to be acceptable planting space.
A spokesperson also said, "The District is willing to coordinate the exact location with the homeowner, but as part of the agency’s mandate to reduce the impacts of storm water runoff we are required by the EPA to plant trees in all viable and legitimate planting locations within the public space. "
We asked DDOT to supply the EPA regulations and to define "viable and legitimate" as it relates to planting space. We'll continue to follow up.
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