Resident in The Heights fights to save large sycamore tree being cut down by developer

June 17, 2013 4:21:33 PM PDT
A fight is going on in The Heights over a tree that's been growing for years. A developer is planning to take it down, but some neighbors say losing the tree will completely change the way their community looks.

The old sycamore tree in question is on Oxford and 23rd Street.

The sight of workers cutting down this sycamore tree is heartbreaking if you ask Jessica Wilt.

"One of the largest, if not the largest, sycamore trees in Harris County," Wilt said.

The Heights homeowner was walking by the lot last week when she noticed workers getting ready to cut it down. Since then, she's fought hard to change the developer's mind. She even began an online petition for the cause.

"The objective is to appeal to the developer," she said. "Not make him a demon, make him a savior, hero of the community for saving this tree."

But if you ask neighbor Richard Jenke, the tree should have been gone long ago.

"The fact that it's coming down, I feel the people walking around here will be safer, won't have to worry about a limb coming down and killing someone," he said.

Progress will continue on the tree in the next day or so. The developer did tell me on the phone that he tried to save the tree in the initial plans, but says its age and height simply made it too dangerous

The developer didn't want to talk on camera, but says tree experts have told him they're uncertain of the health of the tree and at the end of the day, it is on private property, so there is nothing anyone can do to stop the tree cutting.

"We didn't know this tree was coming down," Wilt said. "Nobody knew or we would have moved to action much more quickly."

Neighbors fighting to keep the tree say they realize they may be fighting a losing battle, but they hope to spur some discussion and perhaps offer the older trees in Houston some protection, even if they are on private property.

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