30-year-old redwoods on chopping block, residents upset

RIO BRAVO - Some residents at Country Elegance in the Rio Bravo area remain concerned about the homeowner association's decision to remove two redwood trees from the property.

Residents contacted 23 ABC last month after the association decided to cut down the trees because they were causing a problem with the septic tank on one of the properties.

The two trees in question only affect the handful of homes, while the septic tank issue only affects one home.
Country Elegance at Rio Bravo has more than 65 homes on the property.

Some of those residents pled with the association to consider all options then gathered signatures from other residents who also wanted the trees saved.

At that time, residents said board members told them they will consider other options, that included relocating the septic tank. However, the homeowner does not want her driveway touched to move the septic tank.

"We met with board members who told us they will look at all the options and do their due diligence before they come to a decision. A decision, they said would include everybody," said Michael Sullivan, homeowner.

However, yesterday one of the board members served a notice that the trees were going to be cut down Wednesday morning.

The board told 23ABC they considered all the options, and made the decision based on what is best for all homeowners.

That action prompted homeowners to get an attorney stop that process and address the board.

"They are acting unilaterally, they may have voted on it, but they missed a step that they agreed to do, to include and bring in those interested parties and the homeowners," said Gabriel Godinez, attorney.

Godinez contacted the homeowner association president as well as the property management company who said the trees will be cut down.

"At the end of the day, if the trees have to be cut down and the board did exactly what they promised to do, which was consider all the options and include the homeowners in that decision, we won't be happy but at least we would be satisfied," said Sullivan.

The homeowners contend that the septic tank is damaged beyond repair and will have to be replaced anyway.

Replacing the septic tank and cut down the trees is a about $4000 less than saving the trees by relocating the septic tank.

At this point, the only legal option for the homeowners is to get a temporary restraining order and forced the board to disclose why they made the final decision.

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