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An urgent need for funds to continue to engage expert legal assistance to prevent massive tree-cutting in the Buck Woods property in Highland Park.
Removing large, mature trees from steep slopes--as a developer hopes to do in Buck Woods--causes erosion, flooding, and the release of contaminants. The environmental consequences, as well as traffic volumes and other impacts pose serious risks to property values and the quality of life in Highland Park.
Thanks to our independent legal representative, whose area of expertise is environmental law, a judge ordered a temporary stay on tree cutting in Buck Woods and ruled recently that no trees can be removed on the basis of “environmental testing” or for any reason without a development plan.
There will be further court proceedings for which funds to retain our highly qualified attorney are urgently required. Please contribute today. Thank you!
About Buck Woods --
Buck Woods is a 4.1-acre property between South Fifth and South Seventh avenues, at the southern end of South Sixth Avenue, about a half-block from Bartle Elementary School. The land is in a ravine which was likely filled with contaminated soil in the past. The developer has tried for years to cut trees on this property, with the stated intention of testing for contamination. Courts have blocked cutting trees in the past, and only litigation from the Borough government stopped these attempts.
The Borough has a number of Ordinances that prevent tree cutting, and others that prevent building on a site like this, among them the steepness of the land.
Earlier this year, the developer applied for permission to cut nearly 200 trees, and this permission was granted by the Borough--which led local residents to mobilize to research the environmental and legal issues and to hire an attorney with the necessary environmental and property rights expertise. As expected, qualified experts quickly confirmed that hundreds of old trees do not need to be cut down to test for contamination. But the developer's efforts continue. It is critical that residents have a say in the next steps and in any development plan.
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