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Opposition Continues to Hereford Dead Tree Ordinance
Written by Candace Perry, Correspondent

            A group of Hereford property owners attended the Hereford Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, May 3, held in-person and via Zoom, to again protest the dead tree ordinance.

            This time, however, they had an attorney in tow.

            Township resident Matt Ferdock, of Weaver Road, spoke during the special appearance section of the meeting. He said he represented a citizens committee of 45 people, 15 of whom had received estimates for tree removal.

            He stated that the total costs were $341,000 for those 15. The total costs of all removal could run into "millions of dollars of expense," he added.

            Ferdock further said that if the government was going to take the trees, he should be compensated for it, as the trees are his property.

            Later in the meeting, attorney Craig B. Neely, of Emmaus, who was representing two Hereford residents and said he had spoken to the group in attendance prior to the meeting, presented a multipoint analysis of the ordinance and why it "exceeds the power of the township."

            He said that the state law that supports the ordinance addresses trees that "affect or interfere with health, safety, or welfare of the public" in the present, but not in the future.  Neely stated that the trees are not causing trouble in the present, so the ordinance is not enforceable. 

            He mentioned hypothetical situations that today's supervisors would not enforce, but that future supervisors might, under the language of the ordinance.

            "Is the ordinance specific enough to advise the property owner?" Neely asked and said that there was not enough information to tell the property owner what to do.

            He also said that the arborist the township hired was only providing a professional opinion, on which all these decisions rested.

            Following Neely's presentation, the floor was opened to other members of the audience, who repeated several of the comments made at previous meetings about the arborist going too far into their property, the trees on the state roads, liability now that the trees had been marked, and the lack of notification about the arborist's work.

            The supervisors remained largely silent throughout the public comment. One woman asked them why they weren't answering the questions, and Chairman John Membrino replied, "Threats of litigation."

            A man spoke up and said, "We're not threatening you."

            Membrino announced that the supervisors had met in executive session prior to the meeting to discuss litigation with Solicitor Eugene Orlando.

            The next meeting for the citizens against the Hereford Township Tree Ordinance will be May 11th at the Hereford Fire House at 7:30 p.m.






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