Planned homes clash with Fieldston residents

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A family’s plan to build three new houses in landmarked Fieldston has led to outrage in the community because as many as 30 trees will have to be felled on the property near Indian Pond.

The proposal, originally received by the Department of City Planning in April, was revised in September and referred to Community Board 8 on Oct. 20. Days later, on Oct. 24, concerned Fieldston residents gathered for an emergency meeting at Indian Pond to discuss it.

“Construction of the proposed houses on the border of Indian Pond will serve as a precedent to severely undermine the protection of the esthetics of an historic architectural community. It will destroy the ecological resources of this wetlands and wildlife sanctuary,” wrote Ron Odrich, a resident of Livingston Avenue, in a statement after the meeting.

Charles Moerdler, the chair of CB 8’s Land Use committee, attended the Oct. 24 meeting and said he was “troubled” by the idea that trees would have to be cut down, and that driveways would cause congestion. He said the community board would have to consider many questions before a CB 8 hearing scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6.

“What do you do about the number of very mature trees that have to be cut down if they follow the existing plan? What do you do with all this additional asphalt and traffic on a very quiet street? How does any ultimate plan affect that pond?” he said.

Stephen Boatti, president of the FPOA, said the association has not taken a formal position yet, but that members will meet soon and come up with a list of concerns.

“We’re keeping an open mind, but there are legitimate concerns about the number of trees being taken down, runoff that might affect the ecology of the pond, the effect of our sewers and increased traffic through Livingston Avenue,” he said, adding, “I don’t know that we are planning to stop it completely, we just want to make sure it’s done in an environmentally sensitive way and in a way that’s sensitive to the neighborhood.”

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