15-Foot Trees Create Tension For Peterson Park Neighbors; Some Say City Could Have Resolved Landscaping Feud Years Ago – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – A North Side homeowner enjoys privacy with tall trees lining his property line, but his neighbors say the hedges block their sunlight and even the air, a hassle that keeps reaching new heights.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory is investigating allegations that the city of Chicago allowed the landscaping feud to continue.

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Tensions over trees are at an all-time high in peaceful Peterson Park.

“They were leaning against the wall,” said Roula Savakis, pointing out her second-floor window at the towering trees of her neighbor.

Standing at least 15 feet tall, she shared pictures of the green that stretched across her property line in all seasons. She has been harassed by the branches for several years.

“We can’t even see through. It’s just a limit. We feel like we are – it’s a prison, ”said Savakis, who also said her neighbors are making minimal efforts to preserve the landscaping along their gangway.

“She turned to me and said, ‘Well, they’re on your side. You do it, ”Savakis said of an interaction with her neighbor.

So Savakis took matters into his own hands a few months ago and chopped off part of the hedge. Now her neighbors are suing her for at least $ 100,000.

Asher and Cynthia Kohn accused Savakis of violating state wrongful tree cutting law. They alleged that they intentionally and illegally damaged 38 of their trees.

“They only pruned the side of the tree that was basically invading their land,” said Savakis’ attorney Dan Garbis. He said what his client was doing was in her right.

The Illinois Fence Act appears to state that five feet is the maximum height for a hedge. The tree fence in question is undoubtedly much higher.

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“I believe that both sides would have been better served if the city had been more proactive” [through enforcement]”Said Garbis.

The Kohns have never been fined despite multiple violations of the city. Recently, the Chicago Department of Buildings found that “the growth is so thick and dense” and “affects the light and ventilation”.

More than a year ago this inspection.

“It is ridiculous that we are dealing with this. It shouldn’t have taken so long, ”said Savakis.

Or gone that far, one might argue.

CBS 2 first interviewed the Department of Buildings about overgrown trees in general.

“The Bureau of Forestry does not allow shrubs / bushes to be planted if they become disruptive.

Chicago city law states that within 10 days of a violation, a property owner must correct the situation with trees / shrubs / plants causing nuisance. The city “may remove the condition or have it removed” if the homeowner does not respond, and these costs are passed on to the homeowner.

So what happened in this particular case? The Department of Buildings has checked and confirmed to CBS 2 that the homeowner has failed to follow previous advice on how to fix the violations. DOB added that it cannot cut down a hedge on occupied private property, but that it has referred the case to the Chicago Legal Department.

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The Kohns weren’t home when we passed. CBS2 asked their attorneys for comment but never heard a word.

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