An 80-foot oak tree slain by Hurricane Sandy's winds lays just about three feet from the corner of Jack Singiser's Logan Township home where his bedroom is located.
"I'm surprised how lucky I am. I really am," he said.
From Singiser's home nestled at the top of Fifth Street in wooded Logan Township, he can see tree service trucks lined along streets on the far mountain as people rid their properties of trees strewn by the storm.
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
Homeowner Ronald Wilt (left) watches as Miles Smith (center) and Ernest Ebersole from Lofty Heights Tree Care remove spruce trees and grind them up in a chopper at his Maple Hollow Road home in Duncansville. Wilt lost eight trees in the storm.
When trees fall from right-of-ways to residential property, ordinances may vary on whether it's the municipality or homeowners' responsibility to dispose of the dead wood.
In Altoona and Hollidaysburg, public works employees drag trees fallen to streets from right-of-ways to sidewalks for homeowners to dispose.
"We know people aren't going to be happy about that, but we don't have the manpower or resources to pick up and dispose trees," Altoona city manager Secretary Kim Carrieri said.
Logan Township Director of Planning and Zoning Cassandra Schmick said if a tree falls on private property from a right-of-way, then "the township would take care of it." But trees on an unopened right-of-way owned neither by the township or homeowners is a different story, she said.
"An unopened right-of-way means it was set aside as a right of way, but if the township never takes it over, then the township doesn't own it," she said.
Aside from the oak tree which almost squashed Singiser's home, another tree fell on his property from an unopened right-of-way.
The unopened right-of-way was plotted out when the subdivision was created "who knows when - maybe as early as the 1800s," Schmick said, but the developer never constructed a road.
There are "a lot" of unopened right of ways in the township Schmick said. "They are not even ours so I can't even guess how many."
Trees Unlimited employee Ed Wert said if homeowners have no use for the trees as firewood, the Altoona tree company workers throw the trees in a chipper and transported to a private compost pile.
Lofty Heights Tree Care employee Colton Trotter said the Hollidaysburg-based company could use the trees they collect for several purposes.
"Depending on the species of the tree, we either give it away, chip it and sell it to be made into mulch, and some goes to the sawmill if it's worth it," Trotter said.
Mirror Staff Writer Russ O'Reilly is at 946-7435.