Skip to comments.N.J. tree that survived Revolutionary War, Sandy chopped down on Earth Day
Posted on 05/14/2015 3:58:58 PM PDT by Theoria
A township view 200 years in the making has changed, after a historic tree town officials thought was protected by municipal ordinance was lawfully cut down by a developer.
The swamp white oak tree at 29 Ocean Street had been designated a "bicentennial tree" in Millburn one that town officials believed to be at least 200 years old. It was one of 23 trees designated as such in the town's 2014 Environmental Resource Inventory Report. The township had an ordinance prohibiting the removal of the historical trees, and named trees to the protected list via resolutions.
"I looked at this tree from my window everyday for 30 years," Chris Tully, who lives in the Millburn neighborhood surrounding the tree, said. "The beauty of this tree was staggering."
In October of last year, township officials said a developer who purchased the property on Ocean Street applied for a tree removal permit. Town Forester Tom Doty denied the application.
"I obviously denied it," Doty said in an interview with NJ Advance Media. "That tree was protected by ordinance."
The development company 29/33 Ocean Street, LLC which is planning to build a two-family home on the property, fought the decision in court.
Attorneys Roger J. Desiderio and Christine M. Tiritilli argued in court documents that the township did not have a strong enough basis to designate the trees historical, and because ordinances cannot legally be amended by resolutions, the designations were invalid.
The town's "various characterizations of the tree as a bicentennial tree or as predating the Revolutionary War or as being 'historic' have no support in the record, as there have been no reports or testimony produced relating to the trees on the...list," Desiderio wrote in a court brief. He called the historic designation "arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable."
(Excerpt) Read more at nj.com ...
If the town wanted the tree to stay, buy the property. If you don’t buy the property, shut up! Same goes for everyone who like to look at the tree.
If the municipality wanted to save the tree they should have put their money where their mouth was and bought the land.
They didn’t, so tough. Otherwise it would be a takings.
According to town officials, the tree was likely alive during the Revolutionary War. It was healthy, and had survived several severe weather situations, like Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, they said.
....or uses the word "pristine," in describing someone else's property.
You sound like Tolkien. That was part of his childhood as well. That was the Shire. He has a wonderful park named after him that is in stewardship and protected.
No big deal. I have hegemoronic neighbors who want me to cut down large trees on MY property.
You had a very lucky youth if that was the saddest part.
That is not what is being said. As unfortunate as it was, they did have the right to do with their property as they wished. They wished to cut down that tree, so they did.
If you don’t respect basic property rights, you should quit calling yourself a conservative.
What you are asking is the owner to shoulder the entire burden for everyone else.
If everyone else thinks it is important to keep the tree - buy it. The fact that they didn’t buy it proves they didn’t think it was THAT important.
Demanding someone else pay for my visual pleasure is what I call a “fine sense of citizenship”. BTW, “fine citizen” will you take me to a strip club?
I bet you had some choice words for them.
There are some instances in which a property owner has a legal right to force a neighbor to trim or even cut down their trees.
Trees are crops.
I live less than five miles from this town, and the fact that it has a "town forester" is a joke. This is a town that is constantly threatening to secede from the county where it is located -- on the basis of the allegedly exorbitant county taxes the residents pay there.
P.S. That town is located right next to an enormous county nature preserve that protects one of the major watersheds in the northern New Jersey area. You can stand almost anywhere that preserve and draw a circle with a 200-yard radius, and you will have more trees than you’d find in the entire town of Millburn.
But maybe the tree dodged a bullet:
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