Wisconsin Community Housing Cooperative

Woodlands Policy (Adopted by WCHA Board about 1995)

A major responsibility of WCHA is the long-term management of the woods for the enjoyment of the present and future residents and for maintenance of the Crestwood community and its property values. The woods, in their entirety, belong to all of the residents of Crestwood.

The primary uses of our woods have been to provide a natural setting for our community, as a wildlife refuge, as a buffer against growing urban density and activity and to offer opportunities for recreation. Management for these uses has included trail construction and maintenance, tree for sanitation and safety, encouragement of desirable species and tree planting.

In accordance with the By-laws and Deed Covenants, WCHA has developed the following policy toward the Association's woodland holdings:

1. Planting or restocking of selected species, if found suitable by the Association, will be permitted on a case-by-case basis. Only species native to the area may be planted on Association property. They must be compatible with management goals for the specific site.

2. Cutting or removal of living or dead trees, shrubs, and plants is generally prohibited (with the exception of exotic species). Cutting or removal will be permitted only with the express approval of the Board if it directly supports the primary uses of our woods, as previously stated. It is essential that we protect and promote the growth of desirable species to enhance the appearance of the community, prevent erosion and provide shelter for wildlife. Even fallen trees frequently contribute to these objectives and act as nesting, perching, and climbing habitat, as well as natural benches for passersby. Removal will be necessary when undesirable trees and shrubs or ground layer species pose a danger to adjacent private property, trails or the character of the woodland.

Removal will be needed especially in the case of exotic species such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, black locust, Norway maple, garlic mustard, dame's rocket and celandine. Box elder is native but can also be a problem. Controlled burning is used to help with the elimination of exotic species in the wooded areas.

When cutting or removal of trees is permitted, access will be provided to Crestwood residents only and in a manner that permits equal access to all residents. When permitted, wood may be taken for personal use only and not for sale. (See more under "Wood cutting" below.)

3. Trails and school paths are provided by the Association. This network is maintained under the direction of and with approval of the Association.

4. Certain equipment and structures are provided by the Association. Additions to and modification of this equipment can be undertaken with Association approval.

5. Disposal of leaves, brush and grass clippings or any other trash will not be permitted on the Association green spaces or woodlands.

6. When using Crestwood trails and greenspaces, please treat our community property gently by leashing and cleaning up after your dogs. Under Madison ordinances, dogs must be leashed when off your property. Dogs on a leash that is no longer than six feet are welcome at Glen Oaks Park, but dogs are not allowed in Bordner Park or Owen Park. The City of Madison will issue a fine of $86.50 for the failure to clean-up after your dog, or to carry sufficient equipment to do so, or for allowing pet waste to accumulate on your property. Violations of these rules should be reported to Madison’s Animal Control Unit at (608) 267-1989.

Emergency Handling of Trees or Limbs on Association Property

If a Crestwood resident knows of a tree or limb on Association property that blocks a trail or presents an immediate danger to life or property, contact a Board member. The Board will see that it is removed as soon as possible. Emergency removal will be approved by a minimum of two Board members and the Forester, if available.

Routine Reporting of Potentially Diseased or Dangerous Trees on Association Property

If a Crestwood resident knows of a tree on Association property that is believed to be diseased and a danger to healthy trees or a potential danger to life or property, contact a board member. Diseased trees will be considered by a professional forester; potentially dangerous trees will be considered at the next board meeting. The Association will cover the cost of removing any such tree found by the board to be completely on Association property and half the cost of removing any such tree found to be partially on Association property.

To determine tree ownership in the case of such a tree bordering a Crestwood lot, the homeowner will be required to clearly identify their lot corners. A majority of the board will then inspect the tree and corner markers and make a decision as to tree ownership. If the homeowner disagrees with the board’s decision, the homeowner must submit an accredited survey of the lot line. If the survey shows that the board’s decision was erroneous, the Association will cover the entire cost of removing the tree.

On an annual basis, the board will have a forestry consultant do an analysis of trees on Association property to identify those that present a danger to the health or safety of the woods or personal property.

Wood Cutting on Association Land

If a Crestwood resident wishes to cut and remove wood from Association property, please call the wood cutting coordinator, Chuck Pils. Wood must be removed in an appropriate period of time.

Guidelines for Cutting on Association Land

At those times when a tree must be removed from Association property, Crestwood residents should follow the following guidelines for cutting:

Have a written authorization from the Secretary as your permit to cut.

Observe all appropriate safety procedures (line of fall, chainsaw safety, hazard to passersby, etc.)

If it is not necessary to remove the entire tree, cut only that portion or limb that must be removed.

Once a tree or major limb has been cut down, the wood should be removed from the forest within seven days. If not, another woodcutter may be requested to remove it.

No motorized vehicles are permitted in the woods unless expressly authorized by the Board for special circumstances.

Cut trunks at ground level.

Wood that is cut on Crestwood property is for home use of residents only. It is not for sale or profit.

For the peace and tranquility of Crestwood, power tools should not be used before 9:00 a.m.

Planting Policy on Association Land

No one in Crestwood shall put in or remove plantings on any Association land without submitting a specific site plan to the Board that includes locations, species, and characteristics of the plants involved. Written Board approval or disapproval shall be given.

Fallen Trees on Your Own Property

In our experience, the clearing of fallen trees on residents’ lots and repair of any resulting damaged property is the responsibility of the person who owns the land on which the tree falls, not the person who owned the tree prior to its falling.

Refer to your homeowner’s insurance policy regarding coverage of fallen trees on your property. While neighbors are sometimes willing and able to help, the owner retains the responsibility for tree removal.