She's stumped as to why the village cut them down last week.
“There was no warning whatsoever,” said Percy of 320 S. Lake Ave. “This was the handy work of the village that came in and did this with no notification. If you look at the stumps, there's no indication of disease or bugs. There are no power lines there. The power lines are across the street.”
Percy said she felt sick to her stomach when she saw the trees missing when she returned home from work last Tuesday. All that remains are four stumps, the largest about 2.5-feet in diameter.
“You come home and that's what you're confronted with,” said Percy, who works in Muskegon. “I noticed from a block away. I started to hyperventilate. It was just devastating to look at, absolutely devastating.”
Village officials say the trees were dropping large limbs and posed a threat to public safety. Percy said in the three years she's lived in the brick home at the corner of South Lake Avenue and Summer Street, she's never seen large branches down.
Village Manager Chris Burns and Public Works Director Roger Belknap said a former homeowner had asked that the trees be cut down and staff was unaware the property had changed hands.
“They were put on the removal list several years ago by the previous owner,” Burns said. “This year they rose to the level to be removed. This is one of those odd situations where the ownership changed and we were not aware of it. Regardless, the trees were dangerous and probably would have been removed either way.”
The Tribune tracked down two previous owners – Dan Vukcevich, who lived in the home immediately prior to Percy's purchase in 2010; and Pauline Pravda, who lived in the home for 64 years prior to Vukcevich. Both Pravda and Vukcevich said they had no issues with branches dropping during their tenure in the home and neither had requested that the trees be trimmed or cut down.
Quite the opposite, according to Vukcevich.
“I love trees,” he said. “I had no problems with those trees. It stinks that they cut them down.”
Pravda called it “stupid.”
Vukcevich said when the village cut down a tree immediately east of his property line about five years ago, he called to complain. History seems to have repeated itself.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.