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Neighbors upset after 400-year-old tree was removed without proper permit

By Brittany Ford

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    ATLANTA, Georgia (WANF) — Historical trees that were cut down in Virginia Highland have neighbors upset.

Crews were seen at a home on Orme Circle cutting down two large oak trees.

Neighbors say the trees were cut down without a permit.

“It’s 400 years old, it’s older than the country. There’s a lot of history that happened underneath that tree. It was healthy, it stood upright, it didn’t need to be removed. It’s so sad to see it taken down,” said Dan Barnhardt.

“I am learning that even without permits and the proper due diligence it’s still okay to do harm to the trees,” said Katherine Huff.

The city says the homeowner was denied a permit to remove the trees several times.

People who illegally remove a tree in Atlanta could be forced to pay a fine of up to $1,000.

Doni Jones is the owner of Don’s Tree Service, “This woman literally over a year ago lost her youngest child and was concerned about these trees. She has two small twins and every time it storms it’s a concern of hers.”

Jones says the homeowner agreed to pay the fine. “Considering her concerns, I took the ball in my hand and decided to take care of it because as a mother, I completely understand her concerns.”

Atlanta News First spoke with the homeowner off camera who says a letter was sent to the neighborhood.

The homeowner says crews found one of the trees removed was rotting from the inside.

Neighbors say they’re hoping for greater accountability from the city.

“I definitely think it’s worth larger conversation,” said Huff.

“I’m hopeful that it will bring about change, at a minimum it would increase the fines to make it more expensive when the city says you can’t remove a tree,” said Barnhardt.

The city said the property owner and the tree removal service have been issued a fine of $4,360.

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