Originally created 07/03/96

Trees fall despiteneighbors protest

By this morning it was over - the wooded lot off Walton Way near Camellia Road was no more.

Despite neighbors protest, the legal owner of the woods clear-cut the trees when neighbors failed to reach his asking price.

Owners of the large, handsome homes in the Camellia Road area off Walton Way wanted to save the trees on John Harley's 2.2-acre lot. The woods acted as a natural buffer to traffic and preserved the aesthetics of the neighborhood, neighbors believed.

But Mr. Harley sold the rights to the trees to logger Lindsey Brown. Negotiations to buy the trees crashed Friday and the equipment was moved in, said Mr. Brown's wife, Rhonda Brown.

"Every one of them is coming down," Mrs. Brown said of the trees on the lot. Loggers started chopping early Saturday morning, she said. They should be finished by today.

"(The neighbors wanted) to buy the land and the trees but they didn't want to pay us for what they were worth," she said.

Neighbors have watched since Saturday as the trees fell, Mrs. Brown said. There's been some grumbling about chasing the loggers off again, as was done last month, but the workers have been sawing steadily without interference, Mrs. Brown said.

It's been sad to see, said neighbor Larry Moss who joined in a short-lived civil suit against Mr. Harley, who sold the trees to Mr. Brown. But there's nothing else to do, Mr, Moss said.

"There's a mighty unhappy red tailed hawk with a 3-foot wing span," Mr. Moss said. Neighbors think the hawk must have had a nest in the woods.

Neighborhoods dropped their civil claim late last month in favor of quietly trying to work out a settlement with Mr. Brown and Mr. Harley.

"We couldn't come to terms, on a price," Mr. Moss said. "He (Mr. Brown) felt he could get more than we offered, although we think we offered more than he can get."

The neighbors offered a 50 percent return on Mr. Brown's investment of $5,000, Mr. Moss said.

It wasn't enough, said Mrs. Brown, who's family's objected to being cast as those in black hats, "especially when we didn't do anything wrong.

"He owns the land and it's nobody else's business what he does with the land," Mrs. Brown said.

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