by TOM BENSON
DULUTH, Minn. - An amendment that would prevent city environmental workers from treating diseased trees is brewing controversy in Duluth.
The amendment, presented by Duluth City Council President Jeff Anderson, would revise a previous law regarding the planting, maintaining, and removal of vegetation on public and private property. The revision would clear up some uncertain language pertaining to city workers inspecting vegetation on private boulevards.
The proposed amendment has been met with both favor and uncertainty from council members.
"I guarantee this," said council member Jay Fosle, "if you show up on my property, and I don't know who you are, I will be out there asking why you're there."
The current law, which gives city workers the right to venture on to private property to inspect trees for diseases and other afflictions such as Dutch Elm disease and the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer, is unclear in the notification of the current residents to the inspector's arrival.
"The language (of the law) is an extreme overreach," said Councilor Todd Fedora.
As far as revision, many council members are for the proposed amendment.
"A seven day notification of the residents seems reasonable," said council member Sharla Gardner.
While the council discussed the prospects of the new amendment, City Attorney Gunnar Johnson was connecting the legal pieces together.
"It would take 30 days after the publication of the revised law for said law to be in full effect," Gunnar said.