Mr. Meyer is a staff writer for The Dallas Morning News.
Two Oaks Survive Big Threat
Published March 18, 2005 By PAUL MEYER
The fight to save majestic oak trees from destruction in a suburban back yard was full of surprises.
First, two of the chinquapin oaks may be among the largest of their kind in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, joining two specimens in Dallas.
Second, and perhaps more remarkable, they're out of danger only a week after homeowners Pam Wenzel and Mike Brown first cried foul at the site of approaching bulldozers.
"The only thing more rare than the trees was the response of the mayor, the developers, and the community," said local arborist Steve Houser.
McKinney officials, developers, and residents reached an agreement Wednesday to save the trees, one likely more than 300 years old, in Stonebridge Estates.
Centex Homes, developing the adjacent property for homes, agreed to dedicate land along the fence line where several grand trees stand to the city for a park, giving up six home lots in the process.
Measurements taken by Mr. Houser on Thursday indicated two of the trees should qualify as area co-champions for their size. If confirmed, the homeowners and mayor will receive Texas Forest Service recognition.
Mayor Bill Whitfield, who spent Wednesday morning on the property, said the situation should prompt a review of the city's tree-preservation ordinance.
"It doesn't matter how we got here. It's what are we going to do now. I think this incident proves that if we have a problem with our ordinance, and it's not enforceable, then we need to get with [our attorney] and find out why," he said.