Fayetteville pursues legal action in ‘Treemageddon’ case

The City of Fayetteville is on the brink of pursuing legal action against a company called 54 Development and its CEO, Perry Knight, after unsuccessful attempts to get the company to clean up the mess pulpwood harvesters left on their property located on Hwy. 54 between Weatherly Drive and Knight Way on the east side of Fayetteville.

Mayor Greg Clifton called the summertime incident “Treemageddon,” and city officials explained to residents that City Hall did not give any permits for the land, which previously looked like a small forest, to be stripped of all of its large trees.

“I returned home recently and missed the entrance to my neighborhood completely,” Weatherly resident Gini Armstrong told Fayetteville City Council members at their early September meeting.

At that time, Fayetteville Director of Community Development Brian Wismer told Armstrong and others at the meeting that 54 Development and its CEO would be required to clean up the property and bring it into compliance with city standards, including planting attractive buffers around the property.

“I think we’ve given them ample time to respond and to be good citizens,” Clifton said at the most recent city council meeting on Nov. 18.

“I don’t think they’re acting in good faith, and I think it’s time to put the hammer down,” Clifton said, gaining consensus from fellow city council members.

Clifton had noted in a previous meeting that the land itself, even if it is sold to another developer, will be subject to a three-year development moratorium as a penalty for the unlawful tree stripping that has taken place.

City Manager Ray Gibson said Tuesday they had met with legal counsel and that he would present a resolution at the Dec. 4 city council meeting that will get the legal ball rolling.

“This process does not require us to go before the mayor and council; however, we thought that was the best thing to do so that everyone was clearly aware of what our intentions are regarding this matter,” Gibson wrote in his e-mail to this newspaper. “If approved, we will forward the necessary information to the land owners.”

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About

Danny Harrison, a 1992 Fayette High School graduate, began his journalism career with Fayette County News in 1995. After taking several leaves of absence to pursue journalism and Christian ministry opportunities, including a few out of state and overseas, he returned full-time to Fayette County News in August 2014. Harrison earned a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry in 2009 while serving as a missionary journalist in England and Western Europe.


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