After contacting numerous county offices, all with negative replies as being involved, they called a local surveyor. The surveyor admitted he had been given the wrong address by an architect who wanted property cleared for construction and had (erroneously) placed the ribbon on the trees to indicate those to be cut down.
The surveyor told my neighbors that
It's difficult for me to believe that this is true. However, property owners should be aware that, true or not, at least one surveyor believes this to be the law. Also, incredibly, at least one surveyor and his crew aren't concerned that they are directed to clear a property that has a clearly inhabited home already present.
You'd think that "somebody" would check property records and call the listed property owner, for verification, before they contemplate cutting trees on a property. Property owners obviously must beware.