North Huntingdon, PA – Three officials from North Huntingdon are being sued in federal court after the township removed 10 trees from a resident’s front yard on October 24th, 2019.
Curt Orner filed a lawsuit on December 30th against the Township manager, Code Enforcer, and Police Cheif.
Orner is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the five-count lawsuit, alleging the township violated his constitutional rights by taking his property without due process or just compensation, as well as depriving him of his civil rights when they abused their authority.
Orner claims he paid a landscape company $2,000 to plant 15 arborvitae trees in April of 2017. In May 2017, he was told that two of his neighbors complained about the trees and said they blocked the vision of motorists.
The Code Enforcement Officer notified Orner in May of 2019 that he was violating a township ordinance that requires property owners to remove any traffic hazards.
According to the lawsuit, the Town Manager and Police Chief allegedly told Orner on July 17, 2019, that he had to cut down some of the 15 trees he planted, or the township would cut them down.
Orner trimmed the trees but maintained they were not in a right of way. The Police Chief allegedly sent Orner emails asking him when the trees would be removed. Orner was notified on Oct. 8 by the Code Enforcement Officer that he had until Oct. 21st to remove the trees, according to the suit.
The township had 10 of the trees cut down a few days later on Oct. 24th.
Orner claims he spent $1,500 on a survey to prove the trees were on his property and not in a right of way.