Friday, May 24, 2013
Star Nissan fined for hacking young street trees
On Tuesday May 21, 2013 employees of the Star Nissan/Toyota Service Center located at 40-20 172 Street in Auburndale took a small hand saw to twenty two of twenty three city trees that are planted on the sidewalks surrounding the facility on 172nd Street, 42nd Avenue and Auburndale Lane. Branches, as many as ten per tree, were removed. Those branches that were too large for the saw to cut through were ripped from the tree after partial cuts taking the branch and up to three feet of tree bark and interior matter.
The trees were planted between 2003 and 2006 at the direction of the Mayor's Office to provide a barrier between the noxious business and the neighboring residential homes. The trees provided a visual barrier as they grew, a sound barrier from the power tool noise, a pollution absorption mechanism and added greatly to the aesthetics of the area.
From the beginning Star Nissan/Toyota ownership, management and/or employees opposed the planting of the trees, running over the first few the night they were planted. The Parks Department returned a few days later with a police escort to re-plant the trees. A few years later when the planting moved to Auburndale Lane, the first Parks Department crew was harassed so badly by the Star workers that they vacated the site and returned again with a police escort. The trees have prospered in the intervening years providing a full canopy on Auburndale Lane and a beautiful counterpoint to the bland industrial building on 172nd Street. That is until yesterday when, according to a Star Manager, the trees presented such a safety hazard with low hanging branches that they were cut so that any branch that extended from the tree up to six to eight feet above the ground was excised. He admittedly did not contact 311, the Parks Department or Mayor's Office for advice or permission.
A contingent of Parks Department employees were on site first thing this morning to inspect the damage and to ultimately serve the Star manager with $84,000 worth of fines ($4,000 for severe damage to each of 20 tress and $2,000 each for damage to the remaining two trees). The Parks Department will continue to monitor the trees as an initial analysis indicates that some will not survive the attack.
Station Road Civic Association