Nothing city can do about trees endangering Kent familyon January 17, 2013 @ 9:58 am (Updated: 11:46 am - 1/17/13 )
It was around 4 a.m. when he went downstairs to investigate and discovered that the wind had blown a massive tree onto his home. Moments later, another one crashed to the ground.
When the sun came up he surveyed the damage. The trees tore down his fence, ripped into his siding and put a dent in his roof.
While one of the trees fell from his neighbor's yard, another came from a vacant lot adjacent to his property. Overgrown with bushes and littered with trash, the lot is an eyesore in the Kent neighborhood, which is full of well-kept, beautiful homes.
Dao, a father of two young children, set out to find the owner of the parcel as three more trees on the property are dead and in danger of falling as well.
"I'm scared, I'm very scared," he said. "My family cannot sleep at night."
But Dao has been unable to locate the owner of the property and the city of Kent said there is nothing they can do to help him. Because the lot is privately owned, the city is unable to cut the trees down.
"They cannot do anything and I cannot do anything either," he said.
David Galazin, an assistant Kent city attorney, said the only legal option for Dao is to take the owner of the parcel to court or ask for the right to remove the trees due to the imminent danger to his family.
"The neighbor cannot go onto the property, the city cannot go onto the property," Galazin said. "The constitution really is designed to protect the property interests of landowners, homeowners, and to prevent government intrusion."
Galazin said Dao could face a lawsuit if he were to cut the trees down without permission from the owner.
According to county records, the vacant lot is owned by a company called Dreamworks Construction. However, phone numbers for the business are no longer in service and addresses in Renton, Newcastle and Magnolia once associated with the company are dead ends, including an address where the company is registered for property tax purposes. Certified mail sent to the last known address for the business was returned.
Dao is concerned the trees will fall before he can get a court order to have them removed.
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