Huntington Woods residents want to cut down strict tree ordinance

HUNTINGTON WOODS, Mich. – For as far as the eye can see, a canopy of green and bark blankets the homes and streets of Huntington Woods.

It's a nostalgia city officials are looking to preserve. In fact, there is a new ordinance in place to discourage homeowners from chopping down the trunks, branches and leaves of healthy trees, allowing Huntington Woods to live up to its name.

It's about keeping a character. However, Allison Iverson said it's a hit to the pocket book.

"If you have a lot of money, you'll be able to afford to do what the city wants. It's going to hurt the people that don't have a lot of money," she said.

If you'd like to cut a tree in this town you first have to apply for a permit which costs $75. That permit will be refunded if the tree is dead, dying or otherwise hazardous. If tree cutting is approved, then you pay a $450 performance fee guaranteeing you will replace the tree which was cut down based on its diameter. Your money will be refunded after a year.

"You can choose to not pay to get new trees, but you'll pay to the city's fund that they have set up," said Iverson.

For Iverson, it's not just about the money -- it's about rights.

"It's my property. If I want to cut a tree down in order to have an addition or to have more sunlight in my backyard, that's no one else's business. That's my business," she said.

More than 500 people agree. Iverson started a petition and received the required amount of signatures to have the ordinance suspended -- for now.

Local 4 spoke with the city manager who said the city commission is on board with repealing and revising the ordinance. They are willing to work with the residents to keep what's vital to their community in tact.