By John Schaffner

Brookhaven activist Ronnie Mayer and Larry Jones, of L. Jones Landscape, look at the one of the eight new Nuttall Oak trees that were planted March 23 to replace the ones illegally cut down last June.

It took almost a year, but the mature oak trees that were illegally cut down in front of the Village Park Place at Brookhaven commercial building on Dresden Drive last June, have now been replaced with eight 6-inch caliper Nuttall Oaks.

On a Sunday morning last June, Rajen Seth, managing director of Pinnacle Real Estate, had 17 maturing oak trees chopped down in front of the commercial building because he felt they were blocking the street view of the building. The trees, however, were in DeKalb County’s right-of-way, not the property of the commercial building owned by Seth’s company.

Faced with the threat of heavy fines and possibly jail time, Seth finally paid to replace the same total caliper of trees that he had removed, which resulted in the eight trees being planted along Dresden Drive on March 23. Still to be planted by L. Jones Landscape in front of the commercial building, at 1441 Dresden Drive, are eight red Natchez crepe myrtles.

But that is not all there is to the story. Not only are the trees being restored along Dresden Drive, but Seth had to purchase extra trees and crepe myrtles as well  to be planted elsewhere in Brookhaven  in order to make up for the total caliper of trees he removed.

Ashford Park, at the corner of Redding and Caldwell roads, got eight Nuttall Oaks, eight Cryptomeria bushes and four purple vitex plants, which were planted on March 24. And, Clax Corner, a small park off Dresden Drive two blocks behind Haven restaurant, will be the beneficiary of two of the Nuttall Oaks and three crepe myrtles.

One of eight Nuttall Oak trees being planted at Ashford Park is put in place March 24 by the L. Jones Landscape crew. The tree was part of the recompense for cutting down the trees on Dresden Drive.

“Everybody ended up winning in the long run from the illegal cutting down of those trees last year,” said Ashford Park resident Ronnie Mayer, who along with Dist. 2 DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader and Jim Eyre of J&E Real Estate kept the pressure on Seth for nine months to get the trees replanted.

“There is no way we would have ever gotten the county to pay for planting all of the large trees and other bushes in these parks,” Mayer said.

In addition to the Ashford Park plantings as a result of the dealings with Seth, Mayer and his wife Debbie Mayer, a Brookhaven real estate agent, are donating an additional six purple crepe myrtles that will be planted at the entrance to the park.

Larry Jones, of L. Jones Landscape, is handling the plantings on Dresden Drive and at the two parks.