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Davidson News

Davidson assessing builder Lennar for West Branch tree violation

Sept. 29.  The town of Davidson has halted construction on 10 lots that were cleared by builder Lennar in its new residential community because the town determined Lennar violated the approved master plan and the new tree ordinance.

The town has issued a Notice of Violation which includes a $1 million fine.

Town Manager Jamie Justice said Mecklenburg County and Davidson town staff were alerted to a potential violation of the approved construction documents for the West Branch residential project.

The town says Lennar violated the approved master plan as well as the new Davidson tree ordinance. A stop work order for Lots 1-10 will not be lifted until the above fines are paid and a tree replacement plan is approved.

As a result, they are subject to civil penalties associated with the trees that were removed illegally. In addition, they will be required to submit a tree mitigation (re-planting) plan to be approved by the town,” the manager’s report said.

The town put a stop work order on the 10 lots that were cleared and will put a hold on building permits for the final 19 lots in the development until Lennar responds appropriately to reconcile the situation, the report said.

“We are currently assessing what the civil penalties should be. The penalties are based on the diameters and quantities of trees,” the report said, noting the penalties are difficult to precisely determine because  the removal has left little evidence of what was there and there town  doesn’t know what trees could legally have been cut because they  were in the building envelope.

“Because they did this illegally, we have no choice at this point but to include all of the removed trees over a certain diameter which, in turn,  results in a very large penalty,” the report concluded.

The 305-home development is at 19925 Davidson-Concord Road.