LETTER TO EDITOR: Tree issue thornier than letter implies

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Imagine the surprise to read a letter to the editor in your Aug. 29 issue from Nora Community Council’s longtime friend and former board member Steve Pettinga. With a record of great passion for environmental and tree preservation, Steve’s “take” on the desolation of the southeast (not southwest as stated) parcel at Meridian and 86th streets was confounding. One can only assume that he is not familiar with all of the issues involved in this fiasco [Trees cleared from senior-living site without proper permits, Aug. 13].

First, the clearing of all trees is symbolic of the developers’ disregard for ordinances and zoning regulations. It shows a total distain for his own commitments to prepare and follow a tree preservation plan developed by his own landscape specialist and entered into the zoning record. His own arborists had even marked the trees to be saved. Steve said that “clearing it selectively would have been a monumental task.” Perhaps so, but the developers made a promise to do so.

Secondly, there are significant infrastructure limitations that include drainage plans which could flood residential homes to the south and southeast of the parcel. Most alarming is the access problem. Visitors, employees and emergency apparatus will have to cross oncoming traffic to enter the property. The footprint of an 85-unit senior living facility on four-plus acres is like trying to put a size 10 foot into a size 5 shoe. It’s going to be painful for all.

Steve says the proposed business is “an asset to our neighborhood.” That’s an assumption which stands to be proven. One can only hope that the developers are more committed to health regulations and have a higher regard for their very vulnerable clients than they have shown to our community.


Ruth R. Hayes, president
Nora-Northside Community Council Inc.

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