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Developer Accused of Killing Old Tree in Williamsburg, Fined Over $176,000: Report

The Pin Oak tree (right) near the corner of S. 4th Street and Rodney Street. (Google Maps)

Feb. 26, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

The city has accused a developer of killing a tree in Williamsburg, and has fined the developer $176,000 for the infraction.

The Department of Parks and Recreation claims Noam Amos of the Home Zone/SNY Group is responsible for the death of the Pin Oak tree in front of 299 South 4th St., according to the New York Post.

The Parks department told the Greenpoint Post that a city inspector found at least 17 holes drilled into the base of the tree back in October. Drilling holes, the agency said, is usually a tell-tale sign of an attempt to intentionally poison and kill a tree.

“This tree was deliberately poisoned, which is against our rules,” a spokesperson for NYC Parks said.

The tree, 32 inches in diameter, is estimated to be between 75 to 100 years old, which the agency calls “a major achievement in an urban setting that poses so many risks of injury and destruction.”

Court papers say the crown of the tree was 90 percent dead at the time of the inspection, according to the Post.

The city sent a letter to Amos at his 299 South 4 LLC address in December claiming he or someone acting on his behalf destroyed the tree. Amos refutes these claims.

The developer is now asking the Brooklyn Supreme Court to drop the fines, claiming that the city did not give him an opportunity to defend himself, and did not provide evidence of his alleged arborcide.

The Parks department said it is standard procedure to send the demand letter to the property owner “in cases of intentional vandalism”. The agency added that Amos is required to either pay the $176,400 restitution, or plant 98 trees.

NYC Parks says the developer requested until March 12 to submit a rebuttal, which it has yet to receive.

Amos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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8 Comments

yourneighbor

I am responsible for 2 street trees on my property and can’t imagine a property owner killing their trees. I personally think they add a lot of value to my property. Makes no sense to kill your own tree.
If NYC has no evidence that the property owner did this, the owner should continue fighting.




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D

Property owners are responsible for sidewalks–are fined if there is a trip hazard and sued by the person hurt in tripping. Even when roots upend a sidewalk, the OWNER,
must redo the sidewalk and still protect the tree.
Argue with the court and the fines, not this forum.




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R.Saunders

The purpose of this forum is to comment on articles presented and exchange opinions. I have no argument with this forum. Why would I argue with a website?




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Curious in NYC

So if you don’t like someone, you can just go ahead and damage a tree next to their property, and they will get fined some ridiculous amounts without any evidence?




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R. Saunders

So standard procedure is to blame the property owner with no evidence whatsoever other than the fact that the city neglects to care for trees and they usually cause damage to private property. NYC Parks Department official policy is an admission of both misfeasance and malfeasance all in one.




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D

Interesting defense to arborcide of an old tree: blame others, not the caretaker. Yes property owners also own their trees, duh. The dead tree would be a danger to cars and pedestrians, which that owner would also be liable for.
Next will be the blowing up of buildings that property owners want demolished–oh, wait, that’s been done.




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R.Saunders

Property owners do not own the trees, they cannot prune the trees. They cannot do a damn thing to the sacred trees. They do not own the sidewalks either. They are however responsible for the care (cleaning, repair of defects, snow, ice etc) of the sidewalks. Again if you wish to charge arbocide gather evidence. The dead tree you cited would be on the city not the property owner.




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Lee

Exactly, the tree being dead THEN might become more
of a liability than the living, thriving tree it once was… i mean come on




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