Developer agrees to higher visual buffer, landscaping to resolve dispute over trees

Residents satisfied

they were surprised when developer cleared land

July 02, 1999|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

The developer of a business park, which razed two blocks of trees on a Ferndale street, has agreed to change its site plan at the request of residents who were surprised and angered by the removal of the trees.

MIE Properties agreed to plant trees, create a stronger visual buffer, maintain the site and meet with a committee of Third Avenue residents to discuss the project as it progresses.

"At least I feel like I'm more informed," said Sharon Jacobs, who has lived on the small street for 16 years. "I get a feeling that the developer wants to work with the community to try to correct a problem that was not his own."

MIE development director Tom Pilon and the residents reached the agreement Wednesday evening at a meeting organized by County Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle after homeowners complained about the destruction of the trees.

Civic association agreed

The developer razed the dogwoods, maples, pines and elms along Third Avenue about three weeks ago as part of the second phase of the Cromwell Business Park. It cleared the land, owned by the Greater Ferndale Civic Association, based on an agreement with Leo Harnen, president of the Ferndale/Linthicum Area Community Council.

Harnen and Mike Wagner, a member of the council's board of directors, approved a plan that allowed MIE to remove the trees and level the ground to create a community recreational space on 11.5 acres owned by the association.

After the trees were removed, some Third Avenue residents complained that they had not been included in the decision and that Harnen did not represent them.

Higher barrier

At Wednesday's meeting, Pilon said MIE agreed to increase from 6 feet to 9 feet the height of a planned dirt berm to create a visual buffer between the park and the business center. The berm will be topped by 3-foot-high cypress trees. MIE also agreed to residents' requests that it plant trees along Third Avenue and landscape and maintain the site.

Pilon said MIE had wanted to remove the trees and level the property to create better drainage. "It was a matter of convenience," he said.

Harnen said he visited four or five families along Third Avenue last year to tell them about MIE's plans, including the removal of the trees. He said he asked the developer to inform the other residents.

Harnen said the large open recreational space would be a better site for the annual Ferndale Days celebration, currently held in a smaller area on Third Avenue.

`The right thing'

"I think we thought we were doing the right thing," Harnen said.

He said residents' lack of participation in community association meetings was partly responsible for the confusion.

Jacobs said she appreciates MIE's efforts to address the community's concerns but would rather have the trees back.

"I guess it's the best we can get at this point," she said. "But I would have preferred it to have stayed the way it was."

Pub Date: 7/02/99

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