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Chatham Park should only cut what is needed to be cut for development

By Wes Newell
Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2013

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Pittsboro, NC - I have been hearing, now several times, chain saws running in the land area depicted in development maps for Chatham Park, adjacent to the Haw River. I checked out one area and the larger hickories, oaks, and beech trees are being systematically removed, it appears, probably by the current (and maybe not final) landowner.

Is this the inevitable Phase 1 of the typical development process, prior to final land transactions? Remove valuable timber from the land area and coincidentally ("by accident") remove the oldest, largest, and most significant potential obstacles to construction drawings for development.

The barred owls, etc. etc. in this area are almost certainly not stable right now. They can learn to live on 25-inch DBH oak trees near parking lots, but not ones that have been cut down. An attractive, planned development of this stature should not allow wholesale merchantable timber removal in these areas prior to final land transactions. Buildings around older trees make great habitat and have a unique aesthetic value to all. Buildings surrounded by 10-foot Bradford pears do not.

Step one is to save the larger oaks, hickories, beech, etc., prior to final land transactions, as future landscape plants and habitat for picnic tables and barred owls. Flag and survey them if necessary. Pay the value of these trees upfront if necessary, it is cheaper in the long run relative to ball and burlap Nellie R. Stevens Hollies lined up with mulch and cable ties.

I support larger planned developments of this type for this very reason. In forested conditions, preserve the value of the timber and only cut what is needed to be cut for development. The current landowner must "buy" into the agreement upfront for this to work.

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Chatham Park should only cut what is needed to be cut for development

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