Easement confusion leaves homeowner with tree over his head - KPTV - FOX 12

Easement confusion leaves homeowner with tree over his head

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

One Nashville homeowner knows what it feels like to have something hanging over his head, and the garage where he restores antique cars and motorcycles is one big storm away from becoming rubble.

Terry Walls said a big, leaning hackberry tree near his garage appears to be on Metro Nashville property, but through a strange twist of legal events, nobody is claiming responsibility for the tree.

"My garage is going to get crushed," Walls said.

For now, the tree is kept upright by a couple of chains, and it appears the tree is on the Metro Nashville easement. It's not on Walls' deed, and its location is marked as an easement or alley.

Metro Councilman Tony Tenpenny has been calling everyone in government for a solution.

"I would love to see Metro and my constituent come to some kind of agreement. I believe they really could work this out between the two of them. If this thing falls, and he's in there, we are probably going to a funeral," Tenpenny said.

However, Metro said while the spot may have been designed as an easement, the city never accepted it as an easement. So, that makes it private property, and Metro Public Works cannot legally cut down the tree.

"We are bound by law. The government is not allowed to spend public tax dollars on private property. We would be breaking the law to do that," said Mark Macy, Public Works assistant director of engineering.

Now, the tree that is still not on Walls' property truly is his problem, which could cost $1,800 to have removed.

"I've been a machinist and mechanic for 30-plus years and am currently jobless. I have a little money, but $1,800 is a good chunk on me unemployed," Walls said.

Walls' insurance company said it can't do anything until after the tree actually falls. Walls said it's going to be difficult to come up with the money for removing the tree, but he said it would be foolish to wait to collect insurance money and build another garage.

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