By John Schaffner

Dist. 2 DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader says the county is working on sanctions and a community process to determine the best interests for the community in replacing the 14 to 17 illegally cut-down specimen oak trees along the county right of way in front of the Brookhaven Park Village commercial development at 1441 Dresden Drive.

Discussing the urban fill-in development along Dresden Drive at the July 14 meeting of the Brookhaven Community Connection, Rader said, “Recently we had a little bit of a setback when one of the property owners there took matters into his own hands and cut down a bunch of our street trees.”

Rajen Sheth, managing director of Pinnacle Real Estate Partners, which owns the building, has admitted in two documents to ignoring being told by the county’s arborist on three occasions when he requested permits to cut the trees that his company was “not allowed to remove any trees.”

He had the trees cut down June 7.

“Those were actually county property because they were in the right of way,” Rader said. “We are now working on sanctions and a community process to determine exactly what we want put back there. We are considering a range from put it back exactly the way we had it or the community can choose some different options.”

Rader said the county is going to get a landscape designer from one of its firms under annual contract to develop some options.

“We will have community meetings and then we are going to require the owner that was responsible for this action to make good on it,” Rader said. He said some fines and sanctions also are involved.

“It is regrettable, but it is imperative that the county recover from this in a manner that is best for the community,” he added. “If we can’t document that we are living by the rules that we impose, then it makes it perfectly reasonable for people to say, ‘Just leave us alone.’”