OFFICIAL’S OWN TREE REMOVAL PERMIT AXED

lilleston-homeThe home of Elizabeth Lilleston, Fair Haven’s code enforcement officer. Below, her husband, Richard, looks at one of two trees that were to be removed from their Woodland Drive property. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

lilleston-home1

A permit issued by Fair Haven’s code enforcement officer allowing her to remove two trees from her own property has been yanked by the mayor following an outcry from neighbors.

Amid complaints of questionable ethics, and after  an inquiry by redbankgreen Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Mike Halfacre rescinded the permit that tree-law enforcer Elizabeth Lilleston issued on her Woodland Drive home, which she and her husband sold to a developer earlier this month.

“That can’t happen,” Halfacre said within minutes of hearing about the permit. “Everyone has to know it can’t happen that way.”

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FAIR HAVEN TREE LAW PUT IN THE SHADE

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

bob-marcheseIn Fair Haven’s great tree debate, the borough council has gone back and forth for months, trying to find middle ground on revisions that would satisfy advocates of both property rights and environmental concerns.

Now, the shade tree commission has weighed with a set of proposed revisions to the ordinance. The planning board has chimed in, too, recommending the  law be uprooted altogether and re-seeded with a fresh perspective.

Where does a governing body go from here? Back to the negotiating table, apparently.

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RUMSONITES BARK AT TREE TAKEDOWN

doug-spencerShade Tree Commission Chairman Doug Spencer shows residents a piece of a tree Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven officials aren’t quite out of the woods yet when it comes to adapting to changes to the borough’s tree preservation ordinance. And now, they have a little company.

On Tuesday night, Rumson’s council suddenly found itself in the middle of a thorny debate over the efficacy of its tree preservation law after a Navesink Avenue property’s tree population was decimated last week, residents said.

Change to the ordinance and bolstered enforcement are likely, council members said.

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TREE LAW SPLITS FAIR HAVEN COUNCIL

tree-chopWorkers cut down a tree in front of a Third Street home in Fair Haven Monday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Months of discussion and a handful of proposed revisions to Fair Haven’s tree preservation ordinance still haven’t gotten the six-member council in agreement on just what to do with the contentious law.

Half want to keep it as is. The other half, in the name of preserving property rights, want it updated.

When the latest would-be updates, proposed by Councilman Bob Marchese, came up for an introduction vote Monday night, the motion passed with a tie-breaking ‘yes’ by Mayor Mike Halfacre.

But that doesn’t mean they’ll will go into effect when a final vote comes.

“I will tell you gentlemen, if this same ordinance comes before me again, on a 3-3 tie I will vote no,” Halfacre said.

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COUNCILMAN WANTS TO AXE TREE ORDINANCE

bob-marcheseBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Is Fair Haven Councilman Bob Marchese barking up the wrong tree?

The second-year councilman, shown right, told his counterparts Monday night that he wants to see the borough’s tree ordinance repealed, and intends to take it to a vote in the near future.

The ordinance, designed to protect trees of a certain size from the saw, was at issue last year when the borough code enforcement officer refused to let a home builder cut down a dozen trees and the council overruled the decision.

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FAIR HAVEN TREE LAW GETS ANOTHER LOOK

zoe-gallagher12-year-old Zoe Gallagher made her case to the borough council Monday night to amend Fair Haven’s tree ordinance. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven is looking at revising its tree ordinance, and is doing so after a push from an unlikely source: a 12-year-old borough girl.

Zoe Gallagher, who made waves last month after a dozen trees were chopped down across the street from her Poplar Avenue home, Monday night asked the borough council to amend its ordinance in a way that she thinks will offer more protection for trees in town. After hearing her make her case, the council moved to introduce the amended ordinance and send it along to the planning board for review.

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