Raleigh family's 100-year-old oak cut down by power company

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A Raleigh family is seeking compensation after its 100-year-old red oak tree was cut down by Duke Energy.

The tree located at Mal Weathers Road and Twin Springs Road was taken down in April and the sawn-up pieces of the trunk were left in a big pile.

But the Bohn family says it didn't give permission for the tree to be destroyed and it wants the pile of wood removed.

Jeff Brooks, a spokesperson for Duke Energy, told ABC11 Duke Energy crews made a mistake in notifying the wrong property owner that the tree was to be cut down.

"They notified the property owner whose house is in front of the tree, when in fact the tree belongs to a house located behind that house," Brooks said about the tree, which is located in front of a driveway that wraps around a house facing the street, leading to the tree owner's home.

Frustrated by what happened, the Bohn family turned to someone else battling the company over tree removal. John Kane is in a legal fight with Duke over a willow tree on his property Duke claims is dangerously close to its transmission lines.

Kane has even set up the website CitizensRooted.com to document his case.

Read more about Kane's legal battle with Duke Energy HERE and HERE.

"It's been over three months now. Duke's yet to clean up the mess. They've yet to offer compensation for destroying this person's private property," Kane said of the Bohn family's case.

"There's not even, obviously, a power line here," Kane said, about the spot here the oak tree stump is located. "Duke does not have an easement. There's no right of way. They made a mistake."

Brooks says Duke Energy manages vegetation growth around power lines to ensure reliable services, so the company often has to trim or remove trees.

The power lines near the Bohn's chopped red oak are across the street, but Brooks says the tree presented a hazard to the reliable operation of that line.

"When our arborist investigated it and evaluated the tree, they noticed a number of rotten spots in the base of the tree that were declining over time," Brooks said.

"We identified that tree as a potential, given the direction that the decay was growing, (that) it could potentially fall in a storm, or other high wind situation," he added.

Brooks said the Bohn family has filed suit against Duke Energy, but that the company is working with them to reach a "reasonable outcome."

"We've actually gone out to meet with them and have offered removal of the tree as part of a potential settlement with the customer to try to mitigate the situation," Brooks said.

Read more on Duke Energy's tree management process HERE.

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