IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Tree-mendous nuisance
A CLUMP OF OVERHANGING mahogany trees on the property of the St John The Baptist rectory at Holders Hill, St James, has been a huge irritant to Emerson Neblett and his family.
A frustrated Neblett, who owns two neighbouring houses, has been praying and pleading unsuccessfully with the church for the past four years to cut the 40-foot trees.
His family, who have been living next door to the rectory since 1986, have had to clean leaves on a daily basis and spend their own money to get overhanging branches trimmed, on termite treatment, and to repair roofs, fencing and guttering, adding up to thousands of dollars.
Neblett said over the years that priests residing at the rectory would have got the imposing trees trimmed but this has not generally been the case since 2012.
“We went through more than 15 years that I was complaining about these trees,” he said. “Three years ago the church committee was out here and they decided they would get [the Ministry of Transport & Works] or CERO to come and trim them. When we did check with CERO and MTW, not one soul ever called them from the church.”
Neblett said the church was not being a good neighbour.
“Archdeacon Eric Lynch went down here with the committee and the most upsetting part about it is that one of them said if it was lime trees we wouldn’t want them cut down. I was so mad because I have lime trees and cherry trees on my property and I trim them. I had a tree there hanging over on the church property and I spent $4 000 to cut the tree down and take it away.
“Every year I have to buy bags to put the leaves in and I have to pay a man $200 to carry them away. Then I got to pay somebody else another $200 to go up on the other house I build and clean the guttering. I complaining but nobody seems to be listening . . . I just want the church to trim them,” Neblett said.
Some of the imposing mahogany trees have damaged Emerson Neblett’s fencing as they hang from the church’s property onto his backyard.
His daughter Lisa said she had also emailed the church on several occasions but most of the emails went unanswered, though she received one acknowledgement.
She added that since 2012 she had been “calling and going to the diocese a lot and a little satisfaction was [received] but not enough”.
“I was battling with the priest on this matter for a while. To be fair, we had mile trees which were overgrown on both their side and ours, which we cut in the hope that the priest, as he is responsible for maintaining the grounds, would make an effort to maintain his but none of this was done,” Lisa said.
She added: “We spent over $3 000 to cut down and remove our trees as fair neighbours and in this exercise the priest said that he spent close to $9 000 trimming all the trees around the premises already and is not prepared to spend such again.”
With hurricane season set to begin on June 1, the Nebletts said they were concerned that branches falling during bad weather could damage their homes.
Neblett, who said he had spent close to a million dollars to build his new home, has vowed to take the matter to court if the church continues to ignore his pleas.
When contacted, Archdeacon Lynch said he was aware of the situation.
“I do acknowledge complaints about the trees from our property on to theirs but that is the most I can say at this stage,” the church administrator said. (MB)