Keeping the Right of Way Clear
The City of Key West wants to remind property owners that they are responsible for tree and shrub trimming from the property line extending into the public right of way.
City and federal laws require that public rights of way allow pedestrian passage. Many of the rights of way in Key West have become overgrown and impassable for pedestrians. Some of the smaller lanes have become overgrown with trees that make it difficult for trash collection.
It’s dangerous for pedestrians to step out into the street because foliage has overcome the sidewalk. Many intersections have become hazardous as well. Overgrown landscaping can block a driver’s line of sight and cause an accident.
The property owner is responsible for this upkeep. Additionally, the homeowner is liable if someone were hurt as a result of the overgrown foliage. Property owners can be cited for failing to keep these areas clear.
According the ADA and City Code, landscaping must be trimmed at least 80 inches above a walking surface and a minimum of 36 inches – or the width of the sidewalk — for clear pedestrian passage.
As some areas are becoming overgrown, we want to urge property owners to trim their landscaping. Some of the city’s small lanes are the most in need of attention, including Cornish, Canfield, Elgin, Curry, Thompson, Knowles, Whitmarsh, Hibiscus, and Higgs Lanes.
If a property owner’s trees are obstructing the public right of way, the City must issue a free permit for most tree trimmings. The process is easy. If you’re not sure whether a tree or shrub needs such a permit, call Karen DeMaria, our Urban Forestry Specialist, at 305-809-3768.