WORDontheShore Reader Kathleen Maher speaks out on clear-cutting trees for developments in Ocean Township....
Looking southeast from my back yard, I can see golfers on the green at Colonial Terrace. Less than two months ago, the view was very different, that of the woods bordering the southwestern section of Wanamassa. There was a mix of 50-60 foot trees – oaks, maples, walnut and wild cherry among others. The woods was home to deer, squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks and a variety of birds.
But this is New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the country, and sites for new homes are few and the demand for them creates a pressures that dooms undeveloped land causing clear cutting right up against existing homes, even while homes and stores sit empty all around us. No buffer, no saving a tree or two. Goodbye to any privacy, shade, or noise barrier - it only took about a week for developers to clear cut a few acres. The houses here shook all day long while, one after another, trees that have been growing for decades came crashing down. Now the creatures will either perish or be pushed out into the surrounding communities where many residents will consider them to be pests. There are deer now walking our streets lost.
The trees generated oxygen and cleaned the air of pollutants from the exhaust fumes from nearby Route 35 and the Asbury Circle; now they are off to a lumberyard. They used to help soak up heavy rains, but now, much of the topsoil has been trucked away and the newly paved areas and lawns will cause runoff into a nearby lake, where nearby neighbors complain of flooding. More lawns also means additional pollutants as the new homeowners apply pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Neighbors worry we may see flooding in our basements as our water table rises. What engineer thought this one out? Clearly one that does not live here.
Township officials say that the building plans were approved a decade ago and a buffer was to be left next to existing homes. My direct view of the golf course tells me this did not happen - although there is a buffer of trees next to the English Manor, so their guests do not have to see the current wasteland or put up with the mess of ongoing construction. How can this happen? I am told that our Planning Board had to OK this. I hear that another wooded area in the Wayside section of town was recently clear cut for development. Do they not understand the suffering they are causing us by approving such disgraceful, insensitive acts? Stop the Clear Cutting now.
Ocean, NJ 07712
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