Neighbors ask Northbrook to stop destruction of mature trees
The village of Northbrook has issued a permit to allow the new owner of a one-acre lot at 8 Hickory Lane to cut down mature trees to build a new home. Neighbors are upset and say the trees do not need to be removed to build the home. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Ti
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:15PM
NORTHBROOK — Neighbors of a heavily-treed Northbrook property have asked the village to stop its new owners from destroying 53 of them, even though they have a permit to do so.
People who live near 8 Hickory Lane, a one-acre site in east Northbrook, believe that Michael and Debbie Rude, who bought the property in August, want to cut down way too many trees to make way for their new home.
The neighbors appealed to the village, asking the public works committee to review the staff’s decision to issue the permit.
“During seven previous home teardown and rebuilding projects or major renovations, owners have taken great care to protect existing trees from damage or destruction,” said neighbor Charles Price, who noted this will affect all nine families on the street.
“For the 32 years my family has lived here and long before our arrival, the people of Hickory Lane have treasured beautiful, naturally-wooded properties,” he added.
The Rudes plan to build a 6,000-square-foot house after knocking down the 1,999-square-foot ranch that was built there in 1956, according to property records.
Coldwell Banker advertised the one-acre property as being in a “beautiful park-like setting with mature trees,” before it was sold for $520,000.
The neighbors on the lane said they were shocked to find notes under their doors about the tree removal just days before it was to begin Dec. 6.
The Rude’s letter indicated that they wanted to be able to tell the village that their neighbors were “comfortable” with their plans, said Jeffrey Ramsay, another neighbor. However, the neighbors on the street want to make sure the village knows they are absolutely opposed to this measure.
Ramsey said he had no objection to cutting down ash, elm and buckthorn. But a permit shouldn’t have been issued to cut down different types of trees that are 100 years old.
“The character of the neighborhood, the native forest and the surrounding area are unique to this part of Northbrook and the trees are simply irreplaceable,” he added.
Kay Buhl, who also lives on the lane, pointed out that a large number of the trees to be removed are “nowhere close to the foundation of the proposed house.”
“This action resembles the ‘Mr. T’ lot in Lake Forest,” she added.
Neighbor Traci Trapp noted that the removal of so many trees on the lot will effect drainage.
“Our lane does not have storm sewers, and changing the grade and pervious surface area can greatly impact the surrounding homeowners’ properties,” Trapp said.
“Please keep in mind the increased seepage that tree roots allow and their importance to prolong the runoff during a heavy rain, collecting water on leaves and branches,” Trapp added.
The Public Works Committee – Village Trustees Todd Heller, A.C. Buehler and Robert Israel – met Dec. 13 during an emergency session and decided that the staff had acted appropriately based on the ordinance governing the issue.
However, the committee will send its recommendation to the village board for further discussion at its next meeting, Jan. 8.
In the meantime, no tree removal can take place on the site until the village board acts.