FAIR HAVEN MAY TRIM TREE LAW

fh-treesHance Road in Fair Haven. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Councilman Bob Marchese’s got his axe ready, and it looks like changes to Fair Haven’s tree ordinance are imminent.

Marchese is proposing tweaks to the borough’s tree law, which he says infringes upon property owners’ rights.

“I believe our tree ordinance is subject to a constitutional attack, quite honestly,” he said. “I want to get this moving.”

It got moving Monday night, and the revised ordinance is expected to be introduced for a vote next month.

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FH COUNCIL TAKES FLAK ON TWO ISSUES

fh-overlay-meeting2

More than 50 residents filled the borough council chambers Monday night for a chance to be heard on two separate hot-button issues in town. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven officials got a double helping of discontent Monday night when a riled crowd pushed back on two issues residents say threaten the borough’s way of life: tree chopping and senior housing.

Following the recent decimation of trees on Poplar Avenue, neighbors laced into the council for not giving them notice that the 12 trees would be cut down and for allowing the property owner to take an ax to Fair Haven’s cherished scenery.

They disputed the effectiveness of the borough’s tree ordinance, yelled that the council was wrong to allow the trees to be cut down against the advice of the shade tree commission.

But an increasingly contentious plan to create an overlay district so a local developer might build age-restricted homes generated even more bile.

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A BIT LATE, FAIR HAVEN GIRL TESTS TREE LAW

zoe-gallagherZoe Gallagher, 12, in front of the Poplar Avenue property where trees are being cut down to make room for two houses. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

By last Wednesday, Zoe Gallagher figured it might be too late. By 7:30a Saturday, she was sure.

That’s when she was awakened by sound of trucks and chainsaws. Looking out her window, the 12-year-old knew that there was no chance she’d be able to save the dozen trees that were about to be cut down across the street.

Zoe, who is the president of the environmental club at Knollwood School, was a step behind in her fight for the doomed trees on Poplar Avenue. She hadn’t learned of their impending demise until Wednesday, the day after the home builder, Spencer Foxworth, won an appeal to cut down the trees in order to make room for two new homes on the property. He had previously been denied permission by Elizabeth Lilleston, chairwoman of the shade tree commission and Fair Haven’s code enforcement officer.

“So what’s the point of having a tree ordinance?” Zoe asked, as she watched workers load trucks with tree limbs and brush. “It’s like there isn’t any. You just waste a day presenting the case because you’re going to get it anyway.”

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