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STOCKTON — The city of Stockton is moving slowly in approving a request by Brookside homeowners to cut down 159 Sycamore trees that line Riverbrook Drive.

That has prompted the Brookside Master Association to file a lawsuit demanding a quicker response, because tree roots continue to damage homes in the neighborhood.  Homeowners say the huge roots are cracking patios and getting into the foundations of their houses.

“You can see them inching their way to the foundation,” said homeowner Tari Hocker. “Something has to be done because you’re going to lose houses.”

One city official said he’s never seen a permit request to cut down so many trees. In this case, mature trees 30 to 40 feet tall.

The homeowner group have arborist assessments in hand saying the trees should be removed before damage occurs and will pay for the removal and replacement if the trees.

The city says it has approved permits to remove 30 trees and is in talks with the homeowners association on how to proceed. A court hearing on the lawsuit scheduled for Feb. 9 could be avoided with a resolution of the dispute.

“I think taking out some trees is probably not a bad idea, maybe replanting them,” said local Karam Jit.