A State Street house will be razed rather than moved, to prevent further damage to the canopy on a tree-lined stretch of road in north Omaha.
Mark Lavin said he and his wife, Ann, stopped the move of the ranch house as soon as they learned it had led to several trees being culled Friday.
As the trees came down, neighbors intervened, with one of them using her car to block the tree cutters. A city forester soon arrived to temporarily halt the work, and by day's end, Mayor Jim Suttle had rescinded the tree-cutters' permit.
“We love that area,'' Lavin said of the neighborhood, which borders the Omaha Country Club on the north. “We've done everything we can to save trees.''
Lavin said he and his wife bought the walkout ranch at 6621 State St. with plans to build a new home on the land. The couple sold the ranch to their new home's builder, who was preparing to move it to Fort Calhoun, going west on State Street, then north on 72nd Street.
The builder, whom Lavin declined to name, hired Scrib's Moving & Heavy Hauling of David City, Neb., to handle the move, which included the tree culling by ALL About Trees.
“We did everything by the book,'' said Deb Lensch, office manager for Scrib's. “We had all our permits in hand.''
Carolyn Johnson, 49, who lives in the nearby Raven Oaks neighborhood and pulled her Nissan off the road Friday to stop the tree crew, said she “wasn't opposed to the house's move. I was opposed to cutting down that many trees.''
She estimated that “40 to 50 trees,” mostly on the north side of State Street, had been lost. She said she would pay to replace the trees.
Others living in the area also have offered to replace the downed trees, Aida Amoura of the Mayor's Office said Monday. Omaha Parks and Recreation Director Brook Bench said city crews were on the scene Monday cleaning up, hauling away logs and cutting off stumps.
Johnson said she spoke with Lavin on Monday, and they discussed donating to the needy whatever can be salvaged from the ranch house.
“We're going to try to make this as ‘green' as possible,'' she said.
Lavin said he was sorry about the loss of trees — and glad that Johnson stopped more trees from being cut down.
“My wife would have done the same thing,” he said.
“(Ann) is just sick about it. She can't even drive out there and see it.
“I probably overpaid for it (property), but we wanted the quietness,'' Lavin added. “We wanted to be near the trees.''
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