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Neighbors Saddened By "Damage" to Tree

Neighbors are angry at home developer for severly trimming a 250 year old Oak tree to build a new house.
Neighbors Michelle White and Kenneth Caillier are angry because a home develope severly trimmed a 250 year old Oak tree to build a house at the corner of Mack Drive and Longmeadow Court. Photo by Brad Flow.

Published May 23, 1995 By JESSICA DELEON


Michelle White considered the 250 year old Oak tree on the lot behind her home the pride of her neighborhood.

She was shocked to come home Friday afternoon and see much of the tree, which stands on the corner of Longmeadow Court and Mack Drive, on the ground. All of the tree's lower limbs were cut as well as half the tree's crown, which covered half the lot.

"We weren't given any warning about this," she said. "It's just really sad."

The cutting was done for Rick Moore Custom Homes which was pruning the tree to make way for a house to be built on the lot. While the neighbors are upset the tree has been cut, developer Ricky Moore said he has done his best to save the tree and work within city guidelines. In fact, Mr. Moore paid extra to design the home with a "C" shape so the tree would remain on the lot.

"I love saving trees," Mr. Moore said. "That's the big thing on my list."

For such in-fill projects in this price range - the home will sell for $72,000 - builders typically use standard designs. But Mr. Moore said he paid a designer to spend 30 hours so the house could be built around the tree.

"You can't please everybody," he said. "Obviously, I have a financial interest so that makes me slanted one way. But I've spent my money and tried to abide by all the ordinances and run a good business in this town. That ought to account for something."

Still, the neighbors feel as though a part of their neighborhood has died. The long, sloping limbs of the tree towered over the houses and provided them with shade and a piece of history. Ms. White, who determined the age with the help of a certified arborist in Dallas, boasts that the tree was 28 inches in diameter and has been around longer than the United States of America.

"The tree was picture perfect," Ms. White said. "It was like out of a storybook."

About three weeks ago, neighbor Kenneth Caillier found out that Rick Moore Custom Homes might build on the lot. However, the neighbors thought the tree was protected  by city ordinance.

The neighbors say they were unprepared for what happened Friday.

"It was a total shock," Mr. Caillier said. "It's a shame to even cut it down."

"I was horrified." added neighbor Jackie Bode. "This was a magnificent gorgeous tree."

City ordinance does not protect trees in residential zones. Neighbors plan to ask the City Council for a change in city ordinances to protect trees on a residential property.

It may be too late for the Longmeadow tree. Neighbors fear the entire tree will eventually die because the roots of the tree will be covered by the house, causing half of its food source to disappear.

"This is an historical tree, and it's important," Ms. White said. "We need to have more pride in these type of trees."

About the author

Ms. DeLeon is a staff writer for the Denton Record Chronicle.

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