Husk contractor fined for killing tree over 100 years old

The City of Savannah is seeking to recover more than $37,000 in fines and restitution from a local contractor for fatally damaging a City-owned Live Oak tree, a City spokesperson announces.

"On Thursday, August 3 the City sent a Notice of Violation to Dustcom Limited, Inc. On July 18 Dustcom was tying in a water line for a new restaurant at 12 W. Oglethorpe Ave.," the spokesperson says.

"Construction crews dug a hole in the median without notifying the City and violated the project’s right-of-way permit. The hole was dug too close to the tree and the excavation severely damaged the tree’s root system, including the structural root."

The City issued a stop-work order and assessed the condition of the tree. The City says it also requested a third-party assessment from a private arborist.

"City arborists and the private arborist all concluded that the root system was damaged to such an extent that the tree could not be saved, and recommended removing the tree for public safety reasons," the City says. :The tree is more than 100 years old and stands 47 foot-tall."

The City of Savannah intends to pursue collection of its losses, in accordance with the Savannah Landscape and Tree Protection Ordinance, as follows:

Fine for violation of the terms of conditional right-of-way permit – $500.00
Cost for arboricultural consultant—$1,700
Cost to remove tree – $6,800
Appraised value of 42” Like Oak tree –$27,671.78
Cost to replace tree with 3” caliper Live Oak –$500.00

The damaged tree is reportedly scheduled for removal in the next 7-10 business days.