Pine Forest Country Club – without the pines
A homebuilder paid nearly $25,000 and will plant new trees after clearcutting property at Pine Forest Country Club without permission.
D.R. Horton has plans to build new homes on a 200-acre lot between the existing development and DuBose Middle School.
The company had an agreed-upon mitigation plan with the town for planting new trees to make up for those removed to make way for roads and infrastructure.
It didn’t yet have plans for individual lots. The town requires developers to create individual tree mitigation plans for each home lot as the building permit is requested, with the goal of siting each house on each lot to save as many trees as possible.
However, D.R. Horton’s contractor didn’t abide by the plan.
Instead, it removed 25 grand trees without permission.
Grand trees are trees that are larger than 16 inches diameter at 4.5 feet off the ground.
The town issued a stop-work order and set forth requirements for D.R. Horton to begin work again.
The builder paid a fine of $12,500 and was given three choices for mitigation: plant 147 trees on the property, plant trees on public property, or pay into the town’s tree bank.
The number of trees to be planted was based on the caliper inches of the trees cut down.
D.R. Horton agreed to plant all but 69 trees on the property and to pay $12,300 into the town’s tree bank to compensate for the remaining trees that wouldn’t fit onto the property.
The company paid the $12,300 into the tree bank at Town Hall on Thursday morning.
It also agreed to place barricades around the remaining trees so they wouldn’t be bulldozed.
Once all requirements are met, Planning Director Madelyn Robinson said, the company could resume work – likely by Thursday afternoon, after the Journal Scene’s deadline, or Friday.
Neighbors won’t see new trees until after the houses are built, though. Building Official Rich Palmer said planting trees now would only result in trees injured during the construction process.
Final certificates of occupancy will be contingent on the trees being planted, he said.
Messages left at D.R. Horton’s Mt. Pleasant office were not returned.