Irondequoit town officials: Man violates environmental protection order by cutting down trees

Updated: 04/17/2014 11:14 PM
Created: 04/17/2014 6:31 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Hundreds of trees were chopped down in a neighborhood in Irondequoit, and an 88-year-old man is defending his decision to get rid of those trees.

“There were refrigerators, tires, and that’s dangerous because kids were going in there and setting up little camps and stuff.  One of them is going to fall down and get hurt, and then who do they come to – me,” said property owner, Alfred Gilbert.

Gilbert said he wanted the land on Pattonwood Drive to be safer for kids to play on, but once he started the project he received a stop work order from the Town of Irondequoit. According to the town, the trees were in an area that’s at high risk for erosion and the land is in an Environmental Protection Overlay District, or E-POD.

Gilbert said his wife has owned the land since the 1980’s and he didn’t know the land was in an E-POD, but the Irondequoit Town Planning Board members say it’s a property owner’s responsibility to know what zone regulations go with their land.

“Regulations are such that if a homeowner or business wants to put an addition onto the building then they have to come and talk to the building board before they do that work,” said Peter Wehner, the town board’s chair person.

A public hearing will be held where neighbors can talk about how the tree removal impacted them. Gilbert will then have a chance to present his plan to the board.

“If they want a fight, we are pretty good at that. If they want to be reasonable and not call me a liar for saying I didn’t know there was an E-POD on it, then we can get along,” said Gilbert.

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