Mayor's Office

Press Release

City of Houston Secures Payment from Developer Who Cut Down Two Protected Trees



December 11, 2013 -- Mayor Parker, the City of Houston Legal Department and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) have announced the recovery of $225,000 from Signature City Homes, its owners and contractors, following the removal of two large, healthy and valuable trees in the public right-of-way.

The developer removed a 100-year-old Live Oak with a trunk measuring approximately 36 inches in diameter from 801 Bomar and another tree at 1704 Blodgett St. The actions were in direct violation of city ordinances that prohibit the unpermitted removal of a tree when at least 50 percent of the trunk is in the public right-of-way.  The city filed suit in October after learning about the tree removals and also “red tagged” each of the properties to halt construction.  This settlement will enable construction to continue, but all further permitting requirements must still be met.

“We are fortunate that both commercial and residential development is booming in Houston to meet the demands of the strong economic growth in our City, however, developers cannot put their own commercial interest ahead of the law,” said Mayor Parker.  “This settlement and another that followed the removal of trees in Woodland Park in Woodland Heights are meant to send a strong message – we will not tolerate the removal and destruction of city trees and vegetation without permit or approval.”

The settlement funds will go directly to the HPARD for reforestation purposes in the affected neighborhoods.  City Attorney David Feldman stated he was hopeful that the cost to those involved in this case would serve as a deterrent to others, but added that the City would continue to aggressively pursue recovery if other infractions occur.