By a 4-0 vote, the Rehoboth Beach Parks and Shade Tree Commission approved the removal of a tree at 17 Stockley St. during a Nov. 26 meeting.
During a hearing Nov. 26, City Arborist Liz Lingo said the 24-inch evergreen is located between the sidewalk and curb on the property, where a new driveway will be placed. She said she asked if the new construction plans could be flipped to save the tree, but she was told they could not. In an email Dec. 3, Lingo said the meeting was convened because the property owner requested to remove a city tree, and those requests have to go through the commission.
Representing property owner Barbara Cole was builder Jim McGregor of McGregor Custom Homes LLC. He said plans for the new home could not be flipped because the owner is building a second-floor master bedroom that has a porch with ocean views. He said if the bedroom was on the other side of the property the view would be lost.
McGregor said tree roots were upheaving the curb; the tree’s roots, and ultimately the tree, would have to be removed to meet the city’s curb standards.
Commission member Ned Kesmodel said while the tree appeared to be in good health, the utility company in charge of pruning around power lines had butchered the tree to the point it was lopsided.
“They are not gentle when it comes to pruning,” he said of the power companies.
Because of the overhead power lines, Lingo recommended the property owner plant another tree, like a redbud or dogwood, that will grow to be much smaller than the large evergreen that will be cut down.
McGregor said the property owner was willing to plant another tree.
In preparation for the new house, the old two-story detached single-family dwelling and a one-story accessory structure were recently demolished. According to a city public notice, an application for demolition was submitted Sept. 28; the city issued the permit Oct. 1, and demolition could begin Thursday, Nov. 1. The house, one of at least 23 permitted demolitions, was down by Nov. 20. The property is zoned R1, residential.