Getting Trimmed

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The Glendale, California, Fire Department ordered Ann and Mike Collard to trim trees on their property to maintain five feet of vertical clearance between tree limbs and the roof of their house. So they hired a tree trimmer and paid him $3,000 to bring them up to code. The tree trimmer was almost finished with the job when the city arborist drove past, noticed him and ordered him to stop. It seems that in meeting fire department regulations, the Collards had violated a city ordinance protecting indigenous trees. Then came the really bad news. After reviewing the case, the city fined them $347,600. Once the story hit local media, however, city council members said that when they increased fines for violating the tree ordinance recently they never expected anyone to, well, actually receive large fines. They've put collection of the fine on hold. But the Collards say they are not resting easy.