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Residents angry about tree removal in Noblesville neighborhood

Residents angry about tree removal in Noblesville neighborhood

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — People living in the Oakmont neighborhood of Noblesville are furious at the city government’s plans to remove 163 trees from their community.

Most of the trees are along Hardin Oak Drive where Courtney Kulp lives. She said she chose the neighborhood because of the trees.

“I remember driving down the street when we were in kind of that phase of ‘Are we really gonna buy this house?’ and I remember just driving down the street and loving how the street looked,” Kulp said Wednesday.

Republican Mayor Chris Jenson said Wednesday that the trees are causing the concrete sidewalks to buckle, posing a safety hazard for residents.

“At the end of the day, our job, No. 1 in Noblesville, is public safety, Jenson said. “Making sure the city is safe, as well as ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliant.”

Most of the Freeman maple trees were planted in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and have reached the end of their lifespans. Jenson defended the city’s decision to only replant 94 of the trees.

“A lot of them can’t be replanted, especially if they are in violation of our ordinance,” Jenson said. “If they are blocking a stop sign, if they are too close to a fire hydrant.”

Kulp is upset the city isn’t considering other options, such as taking out the trees in phases rather than all at once, or removing the sidewalk and creating a bike lane. She also doesn’t like how quickly the city is moving with this project.

“We argue that this will affect property values, because when you have two developments next to each other that are essentially the same developers, and you have one with mature trees and one with sticks, you’re going to be drawn to the one with mature trees,” Kulp said.

Jenson said the tree removal should start in July. Jenson said an arborist will make sure the new trees won’t cause problems down the line.