The Earth has travelled almost all the way around the sun since 54 Development and its CEO Perry Knight authorized the illegal razing of scores of trees on their eastern Fayetteville property, and neighbors in the Weatherly subdivision, Bay Branch Condominiums and Weatherly Walk Apartments say they are still not satisfied with how the property looks.
“Treemageddon” is what Fayetteville Mayor Greg Clifton calls what developers have done to the tract of land located between Knight Way and Weatherly Drive along Hwy. 54 East. That clear-cutting of pulpwood took place last summer, and it was late autumn before Knight personally got involved in working out a mitigation plan for the property, which is located at the entrance of Weatherly, Weatherly Walk and Bay Branch.
Crews did some cleanup work in December and January, and at the city’s requirement they also planted dozens of young saplings along the portions of the property that directly face the contiguous neighborhoods. However, resident Verletta Thompson and her neighbors say the cleanup wasn’t thorough enough, and she says the planted screening isn’t sufficient, either.
The city required no additional screening along Hwy. 54.
“From the appearance of the debris that is scattered, which includes trees leaning, broken trunks, branches, trees lying on the ground, this was a poor effort, and I find it hard to believe that anyone could allow such an eyesore to pass an inspection,” Thompson wrote in an Apr. 3 e-mail to Fayetteville City Manager Ray Gibson.
Gibson, who inherited the Treemageddon situation when he took the city manager job late last year, has reportedly reached out to the affected neighbors offering to meet with them to see if there are other measures the city can take to help make the site more pleasing to local residents.
“Given the circumstances regarding this matter, I believe the City has tried to make the most of a difficult situation and we will continue to monitor it,” Gibson wrote in an e-mail to Thompson, also on Apr. 3. “I most definitely agree with your concerns about the property not being aesthetically pleasing to the community at this time. As a result of this, I would like to sit down with you and members of your community to get your input as to what the City could do to further mitigate this matter, knowing that the subject property is currently zoned C-3 (Highway Commercial).”