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Developer defies tree ordinance
Thursday, 31 August 2006

Builder may be cited for felling trees
Housing developer George Suniga has learned the hard way about city ordinances for protecting trees -- and it might cost him $10,000. Suniga's city-approved development plan requires that he spare some of the trees at his Waln Creek Estates subdivision, which is under construction near Liberty Road S and Holder Lane. But a maple, a spruce and three fir trees that were supposed to be saved were removed, irking neighbors who were assured that the trees would be left alone. See other related articles and opinions...

Builder may be cited for felling trees
City proposes $10,000 citation for error in S. Salem subdivision
MICHAEL ROSE
Statesman Journal
August 26, 2006

Housing developer George Suniga has learned the hard way about city ordinances for protecting trees -- and it might cost him $10,000.

Suniga's city-approved development plan requires that he spare some of the trees at his Waln Creek Estates subdivision, which is under construction near Liberty Road S and Holder Lane. But a maple, a spruce and three fir trees that were supposed to be saved were removed, irking neighbors who were assured that the trees would be left alone.

Salem officials charged with enforcing tree-conservation plans for real-estate developments have proposed fining Suniga $10,000. That's the largest to date under a revised city ordinance, which last year raised the fine for illegally removing a tree from $250 to $2,000 per tree.

"Believe me, it was accidental," Suniga said.

A contractor removed the trees by mistake after their roots were damaged during the demolition of a house on the property, he said.

"We cautioned them, but heck, you get those young guys bulldozing and they don't pay much attention," Suniga said.

The developer, who has built houses and apartment projects for 45 years, said he plans to fight the proposed penalty in court.

At a meeting several months ago, neighbors met with city planners and Suniga and were told about the tree-conservation plan for the 72-lot subdivision.

"We were fine with the development," said Brian Grisham, the chairman of the South Gateway Neighborhood Association. Neighbors left the meeting thinking that they had achieved their goal of saving a little greenspace. As the chairman of the neighborhood group, Grisham wants neighbors and developers to work together. The tree-cutting incident might harm those efforts.

"It makes people skittish and it doesn't help the case for development," he said.

A citizen complaint brought city regulators to Suniga's project.
Read other related articles and opinions

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http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060826/NEWS/608260320&SearchID=73255422872820


 
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