Posted on Wednesday March 13, 2019
An update on the recent tree clearing along Monroe Road:
You may have noticed some extensive tree clearing along Monroe Road last week when a developer broke ground on a new residential complex called Proximity Matthews. It startled us too, and our staff immediately recognized something was wrong. Unfortunately, when the contractor began clearing the land – they mistakenly cleared approximately 30,000 square feet of trees at the front and along the sides of the property that should not have been removed. We’ve fined Taft Development Group $50,000 for these infractions - the maximum fine allotted in the Town's Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). Taft has also voluntarily pledged an additional $100,000 to replenish the trees and improve landscaping beyond the original approved plans.
We believe this was an inadvertent error and Taft Development Group has expressed their sincere apologies. They have also immediately taken responsibility for their actions and are working with Town staff and the Town Board of Commissioners, along with property owners in the area, to come up with a new landscaping and design plan that will address the impacted areas of the property.
While we understand mistakes happen, this remains a very difficult situation for all involved. We love trees and it is sometimes a delicate balance between wanting to preserve forested areas with the right of property owners to develop their property. We were pleased with how much tree save area was planned for this development and we are all very disappointed that this occurred.
On a more positive note, the areas that were mistakenly cleared did not impact Roseland Cemetery, a designated historic landmark located at the rear of the property. As part of developing the property, Taft Development Group will preserve the cemetery and add a fence and walkway with public access from the parking lot of the complex. In order to ensure there are no additional issues with tree removal or land disturbance near Roseland Cemetery, construction fencing has already been placed around the cemetery site to ensure its safety throughout the construction process.
Once completed, the Proximity Matthews project will feature residential buildings including apartments and townhomes. The project was approved by the Board of Commissioners in January 2017.