I live in a California HOA. When the community was built 32 years ago the City granted a five foot easement on each lot. The easement is for the benefit and use of the property to which it is adjacent and not for the property to which it is reserved. In doing this the City created one side of each lot with a zero lot line. There is a building restriction within the easement and the property owner on the zero side has the right to use the easement for maintenance and utilities.
Problem: My neighbor has two large trees within the easement and refuses to maintain them. I now have a cracked foundation and both the water and telephone boxes are being lifted out of the ground from the tree roots. Both trees have encroached onto my property with roots and overhanging branches.
I contacted the City arborist and asked to have both trees evaluated. In their opinion both trees need to be removed. If I root prune or trim either tree I would render the trees unsafe and either tree could fall on my house or garage. I also contacted the utility companies and their position is when the service is interupted they will respond and cut the roots without consideration of the trees being damaged or falling on my property.
I asked the neighbor to remove both trees and he refused. He didn't believe the arborist so I had another arborist come out. Same opinion both trees need to be removed.
I have found numerous municipal codes regarding tree maintenance but the City position is the trees on are private property and this is civil. I have even found dangerous trees in the municipal code. I tried to use the trees as a structure in the easement and of course that didn't fly. The HOA says this is a neighbor to neighbor dispute and wants no part of it.
The City is willing to enforce the easement if he put a building in it but not the trees.
Please advise what options I may have other than civil litigation and do I have any options with the City? Why have municipal codes if they won't enforce them. I am not sure that as a citizen I have the power to enforce municipal codes. Thank you for assistance.