JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In addition to the stress of cleaning up debris from Hurricane Matthew, some homeowners have received notices from the city of Jacksonville requiring them to remove trees off their properties within 15 days.
City officials said it will take at least 30 days for crews to pick up the massive amount of storm debris, but some Jacksonville homeowners are not getting the same leniency.
Chris Becker said he cannot even live in his house right now because of the damage to his roof from a fallen tree, yet he received a notice Wednesday from the city that said he needs to remove the tree within 15 days.
"I was meeting with the insurance adjuster and when I arrived to the house, I noticed I had a big yellow sticker on my garage door," Becker said.
On top of the overwhelming cost of cleanup, Becker said the city has only given him 15 days to get the huge tree off his house, or else there could possibly be a lien put against his property.
"I just got really irritated because I feel like their time would be better spent out helping people or doing something, other than writing up citations," Becker said.
In Becker's case, the city said a neighbor filed a complaint. A spokesperson said that when a complaint is filed, or there is a safety hazard concern, a notice is issued as part of standard procedure.
"Following protocol, I guess that's what they have to do. I just imagine if someone called in immediately after a hurricane to report a tree on someone's house that the city would not send somebody out there. They would say something along the lines of, 'We just had a storm, so I am not going to send my people out there,'" Becker said.
The city said they can work with people in certain cases because of the vast destruction from Hurricane Matthew and the 15-day time period can be extended.