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Two neighbors are at an impasse over one of the neighbors trees that the other neighbor finds unsightly, scary and messy. The first neighbor, call him Neighbor A, refuses to hear anything the other neighbor, Neighbor B, says about his trees. He planted them twenty years ago for privacy and shade and they are doing the job. If they drop limbs on Neighbor B’s property, he can just pick them up and consider it free firewood.
And no, he will not consider cutting down these trees and planting something shorter, cleaner and neater, even if Neighbor B offers to pay half.
What to do? If Neighbor B truly feels Neighbor A’s trees are a hazard (the limbs they drop are huge and he fears for the well being of his dog, his kids, his wife and himself) or even just a nuisance (he’s tired of picking up debris and having half his yard in shade), he may well hire an attorney and write Neighbor A a threatening letter. If Neighbor A ignores it, the two may find themselves in court, with costly attorneys and experts and staring at a long, grueling legal battle that will ensure there is never any good will between these two neighbors again. One may even end up moving away just to avoid the “despot” next door.
Fears and accusations of harassment, name calling, hang up phone calls, even tree damage or poisoning may well ensue.
How to avoid all this?
Try mediation first, before you resort to legal action. But not just any mediation. Because even in mediation, positions can harden and experts can argue, until an impasse forces the parties into court anyway.
Try Tree Dispute Resolution with an experienced neutral tree expert, who works side by side with a neutral attorney mediator.
Litigation is costly, especially if each side is forced to hire attorneys and experts, pay court fees, attend endless depositions and fill out countless paperwork. Try mediation instead. We work with you to solve the thorny problems that come between neighbors, their trees and their views. We help you deal with hazard trees and nuisances. What is unique to our service is a trained neutral consulting arborist provides expert assistance in finding the right solution for your situation. Our goal is to keep trees and relationships healthy and thriving.
Here is what one lawyer said about the use of neutral experts in mediation:
The expert is jointly hired by both sides and the cost is shared equally by both sides. The expert’s role is to openly provide independent, neutral expert information and analysis to both side and more so, to the process as a whole. The non-aligned expert becomes a mutual asset and a resource for all parties in developing options for settlement.
Shared costs. Shared usage. Heightened value. The joint use of a neutral, independent expert is a beautiful thing: The client pays less money and gets more value. And the experts find it liberating and freeing, allowing them to do their best work. (Michael Zeytoonian, http://www.disputeresolutioncounsel.com/2009/06/using-neutral-experts-in-mediation/#more-81)
Take your tree dispute to mediation instead of court. Use trained, experienced neutrals, including a consulting arborist/urban forester with more than twenty five years experience helping people with the same issues facing you now. Share the cost of having an attorney-mediator and neutral expert serve you, and help solve those thorny problems.
Save time, save money, save your relationship with the neighbors.
Try mediation first.