Water, Earth, Sky

Scott Shenk writes about the environment.

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Residents upset over tree cutting at Greenbrier

Until late last week there were four good-size maple trees standing in front of the  Colonial Village at Greenbrier apartments off the Blue and Gray Parkway.  On Friday, which happened to be Arbor Day, the apartment managment had crews taking them down. Scott De Long, who has lived in the complex since 1999 with his wife

Scott De Long's photo of the trees before they were cut.

Marlena, sent me an email about the cutting, saying  residents were given little notice, and that, when he inquired, he was told  removing the trees was part of the site’s landscaping plan. Sarah Smith, the apartment manager, told me she wasn’t authorized to talk about it, and referred me to the corporate office, Colonial Properties Trust, in Birmingham, Ala.  Jim Spahn, the company spokesman, said trees are an integral part of a property’s curb appeal, and that Colonial wouldn’t cut trees if it were not necessary. He says the area where the trees  were growing  had to be re-graded and that there is an erosion issue on the slope, and that water gets into the buildings. Some of the residents point out that trees and their root systems stem erosion and hold the soil in place. Spahn conceded that it was probably not a good idea to cut them on Arbor Day.  While any property owner has the right to landscape  and cut trees, how it is done makes a difference. While I was there on Monday, I talked to another couple, Matthew and Amber Potter,  who live in the same building and were also upset. Potter watched as the crew cut down one of the trees near his balcony.  Potter says one of the crew gave him the vague answer that the reason for cutting the trees was “complicated.” Potter says he and his wife moved to Fredericksburg partly because it is tree-friendly, and that the complex is one of the few in the area with lots of trees on site.

Here’s an excerpt from De Long’s email about the cutting: “Our apartment complex advertises in all the rental guides. `Live in a park-like setting’ is their main selling point (this paired with a misleading photo of Alum Springs Park). And then they cut down nearly all our trees! Every resident I have spoken to is really angry about this.  The management justifies it as a critical part of their `landscaping plans.’ But this is baloney.”

He says some big oaks were felled near the pool two years ago with no advance notice and little explanation. “They laid some sod in a few areas, scattered grass seed everywhere else–and it looks about as good as the National Mall in Washington DC. (and we all know how much work that needs). “

Look for my story in  Wednesday’s paper.

Fresh-cut maple stump at Colonial Village at Greenbrier in Fredericksburg.