CARY, N.C. — Since 1990, Wake County has lost 80,000 acres of forest. Right now, about 4 acres are at the center of dispute in Cary, where a developer accidentally cut down trees the town bought as a buffer to development.
After much debate and heated public hearings, Cary town council members allowed Lowes Home Improvement to build a 160,000 square foot store at the corner of Maynard and Chapel Hill Roads.
"One of the key reasons we were able to approve it has now been leveled," said Don Hyatt, former Cary planning board member.
Hyatt was in on the decision for the
town of Cary
to buy a 2-acre patch of forest as a natural buffer for $100,000.
A fence was supposed to mark the protected forest buffer zone. Saturday, a subcontractor for Carmel Construction company of Charlotte bulldozed more than 2 acres of the 4-acre tract.
"There was some confusion of the people out there, actually the limits of the disturbance and where they could and couldn't go," said Ricky Barker, Cary Planning Department associate director.
The contractor accepts responsibility for the mistake. The town will impose fines and require the contractor to reforest the tract. Some residents say the real damage is done and there is no quick fix.
"There's nothing a developer can do to put it back the way it was. He ought to do everything and anything in his power to get it as darn close as he can," resident Don Frantz said.
The town's assessment of the damage should be complete by the end of the week. It will determine how much the fine will be and how much it will cost to fix the mistake.