Rolling Stone editor vs. town over trees

Sept. 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM
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RED HOOK, N.Y., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A rolling stone may gather no moss, but Rolling Stone magazine founder's plans to cut down 16 old-growth trees got stuck in a bog with a New York state town.

"This is a real small issue here -- it's not worth all the drama," Jann S. Wenner told a Red Hook, N.Y., Planning Board meeting about his request to remove the poplar and other trees from his Hudson Riverfront property, located adjacent to his 69-acre estate.

Planning Board Chairwoman Christine Kane said the board was required to give the request "the highest and most detailed review" because the property is located "in six or seven overlapping historic, national and state areas," the Daily Freeman of Kingston, N.Y., reported.

Wenner, 66 -- who is editor and publisher of the music, liberal politics and popular culture magazine -- previously removed about 300 trees from the riverbanks of his $8 million Teviot estate when only 53 removals were approved, the New York Post reported.

"Yeah, 16 trees are silly, but only in relation to the 300 that were lost," resident Alex Zane was quoted by the Freeman as saying.

"When you buy an estate on the river, you have a responsibility," Zane said.

Kane said Wenner's plan would be submitted to the Dutchess County Planning Board to be reviewed against special-district requirements before the town board would decide on granting a special permit letting Wenner remove the trees.

Wenner has been told to submit a plan for replacing the trees he wants to chop down.

The east shore of the Hudson River north of New York City has dozens of large estates built during three centuries by politicians, artists, businessmen and socialites.

"As members of the American aristocracy, these modern settlers were able to hire the best architects, landscape artists and decorators to build their palaces," Historic Hudson River Towns says on its website.

Wenner's estate, 20 miles north of the estate of Franklin D. Roosevelt, had been owned since the 1800s by the Livingston family, whose members included U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution signers and whose descendants include George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, former Rep. Bob Livingston, R-La., and late actress Jane Wyatt.

Wenner sparked an uproar in 2009 when he wanted to build a helipad on his property. The helicopter landing area was not approved.

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