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Archive for June, 2011

Warning: Don’t Clear-Cut Trees in Buckhead!

Saturday, June 4th, 2011
Atlanta's Trees

Buckhead Trees

A Buckhead man has been fined more than $52,000 by the city of Atlanta for trees destroyed on his property. He says he didn’t cut them down.

Evan Hardin, of 680 Mountain Way, said his neighbor removed the trees from his property line while building a house on land adjacent to his property. Together, the two property owners, Hardin and Jayu Momaya, were hit with a combined $93,960 in penalties from the city of Atlanta for removing trees illegally. Momaya, who owns the land at 688 Mountain Way, was charged $41,190. On April 27, the Tree Conservation Commission denied Momaya’s appeal of the fine.
The Tree Conservation Committee will hear his appeal June 15, said Kathy Evans, administrative analyst for the Tree Conservation Commission. “[Momaya] came in and overdeveloped the property,” Hardin said. “The [city] inspector is supposed to have boundaries clearly identified so the contractor can respect those boundaries. In this case, they were ignored. In this case, both the contractor and the city inspector missed that.” Hardin said the arborist fined him because the trees that were destroyed, happened to be on his property.
Said Hardin  “When they (the city) walked the property and evaluated everything, they started giving fines. Even though trespassing was clear and who did it was clear.”  Hardin said he will take legal action against Momaya and the city of Atlanta if his appeal is unsuccessful. Evans said city officials believed initially that the trees were removed from one parcel. “I think originally it was levied at a higher amount and then they realized it crossed property boundaries,” Evans said. “It was broken up into the separate owners of each property. It seemed to be one site when the arborist went out.”
The city granted Momaya a permit to remove “some ” trees on the property. “There were some trees approved for removal for construction purposes. A large number were also removed in excess,” Evans said. She also said there is a fee for cutting down trees, even if it is approved by the arborist. “There’s a recompense fee that applies to tree removal. … If they’re removed illegally, it’s $500 for the first tree and $1,000 per tree thereafter,” Evans said.
Here’s my take on it. Look at my picture of the property. Maybe the cutter got a bit crazy, but why didn’t Mr. Hardin call him or Mr. Momaya on it? I live in Ashford Park, which is in unincorporated Dekalb, and went crazy two years ago, when I saw a neighbor trimming ONE tree. Mr. Hardin has appealed his penalty of $52,770, but where was he when Momaya was cutting down the trees? When I drove by this property to take this picture, I shook my head in disbelief. What were either of them thinking?!!!