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Albert Marmero
Albert Marmero,
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 175
Experience:  Partner at Long, Marmero, & Associates, LLP
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I've brought this up before. My neighborhood has a dirt berm

Customer Question

I've brought this up before. My neighborhood has a dirt berm and row of pine trees put in place by the developer to create a sight and sound barrier. Surrounding the development is a fairly large road with an intersection supporting some 17 lanes of traffic in all. This was 27 years ago and the trees are some 40 feet tall and the HOA wants to chop them down for colorful plants.I've explained to the HOA the purpose and functionality the trees provide, but they could care less as they just happen to live at the back of the community away from the loud and unsightly road. There is a meeting tonight to finalize the landscaping plans which I plan to attend, but I don't know what I can say or do to stop them from creating a nightmare situation and a complete nuisance to the homeowners living next to the trees and the road.Any Idea of what can be done?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Albert Marmero replied 6 months ago.
One thing you may want to consider is trying to find out if the berm and trees were required by the municipality when the development was built. If so, then the HOA cannot remove the trees. I am a real estate development attorney who represents developers seeking approval to build. Oftentimes, when approving a project, the municipality will impose conditions upon the developer, and a common condition is creating a landscape or tree buffer to minimize noise or for visual aesthetics. Once a condition like this is imposed, the only way it can be removed is by going back to the Planning/Zoning Board and seeking approval. Another thing to check is if your municipality has any rules or restrictions regarding tree removal. Where I am located, most municipalities forbid removal of trees of a certain age or size, unless they are replaced by other trees. I hope you find this helpful. Please let me know if you have further questions.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Is there any way to stop them even temporarily while such information is researched?
Expert:  Albert Marmero replied 6 months ago.
Typically, you can proceed to Court and seek an injunction against them removing the trees, but in order to succeed you would need to show the Court that your claim is likely correct, which will require some research and likely hiring an attorney. Perhaps the best bet is to show up at the meeting tonight and ask the Board to postpone this vote to allow exploration of this information. What town and state are you in?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I live in Ellicott City Maryland.Since the trees serve a purpose and removing them would create a situation tantamount to a legal nuisance, could that be grounds for preventing them from preceding with there plans?
Expert:  Albert Marmero replied 6 months ago.
Well, Maryland does have some regulations on tree removal, especially roadside trees. See below which I cut and pasted from a tree removal site: MarylandMaryland has several state laws that protect trees and require permits to have them removed by private property owners. The Roadside Tree Law protects all trees near the roadways in the state, and the state only grants removal of a tree on the roadway if it is hazardous or diseased. It must also be replaced by whoever cuts it down. The Forest Conservation Act requires permits for any tree removal by more than one acre or 40,000 square feet. The Seed Tree Law promotes the replacement of removed trees by allowing eligible harvested lands of five acres to plant pine seedlings. Baltimore shares responsibility for the care and maintenance of some right-of-way trees with homeowners. Any roadside trees that lie on private property cannot be removed without a permit from the Baltimore government.Back to Top
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you very much for the information, time to do some research to see what can be done. My problem is only amplified due to the fact that my HOA is secretive, there are no phone numbers or emails to reach the board members. All information has to go through the management company and they filter / restrict communications, at times flat out refusing to forward messages if they deem them unimportant. I only learned of the HOA meeting taking place tonight yesterday!
Expert:  Albert Marmero replied 6 months ago.
Well make sure you attend and let them know you think this matter should be postponed until the Board can explore whether any permits or approvals are necessary. Perhaps they have already explored this and no permits are necessary. But its worth bringing up. If you found me to be helpful, please rate my response.Thanks!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I can't click on the stars to leave a rating, they aren't enabled or something.
Expert:  Albert Marmero replied 6 months ago.
Ok, thanks for trying. I think it requires me to respond so you no longer show as "awaiting reply." Give it a try now. If it still doesn't work, well thanks for trying.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Nope, still won't work - that really sucks, perhaps you can show somebody this last message I am sending to you.I was completely satisfied with Albert Marmero help and attempted to leave a 5 start rating but the web-site would not allow me to click on the stars at the top of the page.
Expert:  Albert Marmero replied 6 months ago.
How did it go at your HOA meeting? Also, I've now solved the rating situation and you will now be able to rate me, so please do so when you get a chance. Thanks
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Please help, I would truly appreciate it if you could read this in it's entirety as I fear nothing sank in during last nights meetingIt was the most frightening experience I could of imagined! Only 2 homeowners attended and the board members have absolutely no purpose being in any position to be making decisions that involve others. The head board member did nothing but spew falsehoods in a sad and desperate measure to support her reasoning for killing perfectly health trees.The current trees are taller then my house providing a wonderful sound barrier from our grocery store just across the street that has 18-wheelers pulling in at all hours of the day and night. The ones that arrive around 5:00 am are the most annoying, before the pine trees were as tall as they are today, the trucks would wake my family and me before our alarm clocks would.Now the board, who just happens to live in the back of the neighborhood unaffected by the noise, are going to cut down all of the beautiful pine tress for small short landscaping that will never grow anywhere near tall enough to provide the sound damping effects the we are current experiencing and benefiting from.I checked with the zoning board and Maryland forestry but there is nothing they can do to help. I found articles from the Nation Institute for Health (NIH) describing all of the health issues related to living next to a busy road and breathing in the noxious exhaust fumes and dealing with the constant noise of the traffic.****************************************
Here is what I tried to explain during the meeting and I wondered if you could let me know if the following has any possibility of holding up in a court of law?I explain that by removing the current sound barrier that blocks the noise, provides a shield against the unsightly road and traffic, and filters out dangerous exhaust particles will be creating a legal nuisance, actionable in court, as removing them will substantially interfere with the use and enjoyment of the properties affected.****************************************Do you think I have a leg to stand on with the above argument?

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