Chicago area residents have to pay for their dead ash tree removal

- The Chicago suburbs are dealing with dead ash trees, and some residents are being told that they have to pay for it.

The Emerald Ash Borer has been killing ash trees for 14 years in the Midwest. Ash trees continue to fall victim and that's why suburbs like Evanston are enforcing regulations on its residents.

"I have employees that scout the whole city on a regular basis,” said Paul D’Agostino, Evanston Bureau Chief of Environmental Services.

When those employees spot a dead ash tree on a homeowner's property, the city sends a letter.

In Evanston you have 30 days to remove the tree. After a second warning, an administrative adjudicator can fine them up to $750 a day for not complying.

"That usually gets their attention,” D’Agostino said.

Evanston isn't alone. Other suburbs are also trying different ways to get homeowners to knock down dead ash trees.

Schaumburg can place a hold on a homeowner's tax transfer stamp. If they don't knock down the tree, they can't sell their home.

One of the more strict suburbs is Mount Prospect, according to the Chicago Tribune. Between April and August, homeowners are given 10 days to remove dead trees. At other times in the year, they're given 30.

“I think it’s way too short for some people, especially with a diverse community like Evanston. We don't have people that just have several thousand dollars sitting around available to take a tree down with such short notice,” D’Agostino said.

The reason for these stringent regulations is that dead ash trees can pose a danger to homes and people around them.

“If they don't take them down Ash trees will become extremely brittle once their dead and fall over quite rapidly. In a matter of months and not years like other species of trees,” D’Agostino said.

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