SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When you enter the Silverleaf Arcadia neighborhood in North Scottsdale the first thing you'll notice is the multi-million dollar homes that fill the community.
What you will also notice are the hundreds of Sissoo trees that line the streets and people's properties. Shading the roads, parks, and homes.
"That’s why our family moved here,” Barry Chasse one of the residents said when talking about the towering trees.
“Everybody knew this was the tree neighborhood,” Paul Petelin another homeowner said.
It was a big draw for many who wanted to live in a neighborhood that wasn't your typical Arizona community.
Not everyone is a fan of the trees including the homeowner's association, DC Ranch.
Tom La Porte has lived in Silverleaf Arcadia for close to five years. He said the HOA has wanted to remove all of the Sissoo trees in the gated community since 2020 because of the reputation these trees have: from damaging roads to underground pipes.
“This has been a nightmare for three years,” La Porte said.
Since then, La Porte and others have fought with the HOA about the trees. Last year La Porte filed a civil lawsuit against DC Ranch because of the tree removal. Citing in the lawsuit that the trees were part of the original development plan when it was built more than 20 years ago and the HOA failed to maintain the trees.
“If we don’t save these trees, that’s a horrific outcome,” Chasse said.
That lawsuit was put on pause when DC Ranch agreed to mediation with the homeowners to figure out if common ground could be reached, La Porte said. However, the HOA allegedly continued to remove the trees.
“The tree cutting continued on when we were supposed to be negotiating so we decided to go to court and stop this,” La Porte said.
That's when they filed a temporary restraining order against DC Ranch that was granted by a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge. The move mandates that the HOA can't remove any other Sissoo trees unless homeowners agree to it.
Those against the removal were okay with that until January of this year when each homeowner received an assessment from the HOA that said they owed $3,000 for Sissoo tree removal in the neighborhood.
“Then they decided to pass that expense on to the entire neighborhood,” Petelin said. “It’s absurd.”
Now those who never wanted to see this change are having to pay for those who do. Otherwise, they claim their homes will be foreclosed on and they won't be allowed access into their neighborhood.
“I didn’t take my trees out. I don’t know why I should have to pay for anybody else?” Juli La Porte said. “For me to have to pay for that is just not right.”
Leading to La Porte once again planning on another civil lawsuit against DC Ranch for the assessment charges. Hoping it will put a stop to the tree removal. Especially with the restraining order expiring in June.
12News reached out to the DC Ranch Executive Director for comment and received an email that said they were out of town.
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