Update, 1:40pm: A revised press release from the mayor’s office now indicates the settlement was for all 6 trees, not 4 as previously indicated. We’ve updated the story below.
A just-announced legal settlement signed late last week means that the owner of the Wendy’s franchise at 5003 Kirby Dr. will be paying a $300,000 fine to the city for the late-night chopping-down and mulching-up of oak trees in the public right-of-way in front of the restaurant late last month. Six trees lining Kirby and North Blvd. were removed in the nighttime incident (illustrated in the before-and-after photos above), which was first reported on Swamplot. Crews from Freddy’s Landscaping and More carried out the tree-removal work under contract; the settlement, however, is to be paid entirely by Mohammed A. Dhanani and HAZA Foods, the Wendy’s franchise owner. All construction work on the restaurant, which was closed and undergoing renovations when the trees were removed, had come to a stop after city officials became aware of the clandestine street-visibility-improvement operation.
The settlement covers
only 4 all 6 removed trees, each of which measured between 10 and 20 inches in diameter. The statement from the mayor’s office says the settlement amount was “based on the value of the removed trees.” The city has now recovered more than $1 million in payments for illegal tree removals this year — its highest take ever. A statement from the city attorney conveys hopes that news of the financial penalties will make it clear that developers who take down street trees “will be met with swift, punitive legal action.” The oaks had been planted in the public right-of-way for the Boulevard Oaks Civic Association by volunteers with Trees for Houston more than a decade ago.
- Swift Action Nets $300,000 Settlement for Illegal Tree Removal on Kirby Drive [Mayor’s Office]
- Previously on Swamplot: Deforested Kirby Dr. Wendy’s Brings Back a Little Greenery; Logging Operations at the Wendy’s on Kirby Dr. Have Come to a Halt; Landlord Says He’s ‘Looking at Terminating’ Lease of Wendy’s Franchisee Who Cut Down Upper Kirby Street Trees; City Reportedly Planning Legal Action Against Kirby Dr. Wendy’s Late-Night Tree Whackers; Kirby Dr. Wendy’s Renovation Crews Chop Down North Blvd. Street Oaks Overnight; Signature City Homes Pays $225K for Chopping Down 2 Signature City Oaks; Oops! Mistakenly Cleared Parkland Costs Woodland Heights Townhouse Developer $300K
Photos: Swamplot inbox