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September 28, 2011

Criminal charges filed over shoreline tree removal

A Severna Park man has been charged with illegally removing trees on his and community association property, in what Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's office says is the first criminal prosecution for alleged violations of the state law regulating shoreline development.

William E. Clark, 73, was charged in Anne Arundel Circuit Court with six violations of state Critical Area regulations, including construction without a sediment control plan, clearing trees within a buffer, clearing trees without a permit, malicious destruction of the property of the Olde Severna Park Improvement Association, Inc., and theft of property of the Olde Severna Park Improvement Association, Inc. 

The charges, all misdemeanors, result from alleged tree clearing that occurred on his and neighboring association property in Sullivan Cove on the Severn River, according to a release from Gansler's office.

Maryland lawmakers adopted the Critical Area law in 1984 intending to protect the Chesapeake Bay from further degradation by limiting waterfront development.  The law regulates construction within 1,000 feet of the bay and its tributaries and severely restricts clearing of vegetation within a narrow "buffer" of land nearest the water.

The state has filed several civil suits againts landowners deemed in violation of the law and its regulations, but this represents the first criminal prosecution, according to Gansler's office.

Update: Read the full story here. 

Posted by Tim Wheeler at 9:34 AM | | Comments (6)


I hope his improved view was worth it

Removing Trees from the buffer zone is one of the reasons it turns into a muddy mess after is rains hard. Mr. Clark should be prosecuted but I seriously dought that he will. Land right issues will prevail again and the Bay will continue it's slow bleeding to death.

Amazing what they will prosecute for. You can go across the Stoney Creek bridge and see a house that has a small marina, a garage built on a county road, a fence built across a county road, a fire hydrant taken out that no one knows about, a public boat ramp that was taken over and no one cares.

Living on the waterfront comes with perks and responsibilities to protect the river and its health. It is time we have put some "teeth" into the laws and made people responsible for teh degradation of the rivers health. You own waterfront, not the right to ruin teh river!!!!!

I wonder how many years that old man has lived at that location. If he has been there for more than 50 years the first question I'd ask was "did you plant the trees?". Then I'd simply ask him to replant and move on. heck, he'll probably be dead in the next 10 years and what RIGHT do we HAVE telling someone what they can and can not do on their property. Hell, this guy could be a Korean War or Vietnam vet for all we know. I love how people just want to trash an old guy for him doing what makes his 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' more complete.

You guys should be complaining about the Baltimore City tree removal for some dumb car race, or how about all the trash that is floating in the bay in Baltimore after ever rain fall because it's residents would rather toss their McD's bag out the window of their car rather than put it in a trash can.

Lay off the old man.

Great! We have already pretty much ruined the country in the couple of hundred years we have inhabited it.

The Chesapeake Bay used to be clear all the way to the bottom and full of seafood and plants. Now it is a mess and ignorance is no excuse.

Now that old man knows. We should respect the elderly and veterans, as well as private property, but no single person has the RIGHT to destroy the earth for others.

How dare he cut down trees creating a buffer zone for yet another Bay waterway. They should forego the jail time and slap him in the face.

If anything I hope his arrest highlights the facts that:
1. We Marylanders have come to cherish our Natural environment.
2. Protect the Chesapeake!

Let us keep the Bay clean enough for kids to swim in and for us to be able to get uncontaminated seafood from.

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About the bloggers
Tim WheelerTim Wheeler reports on the environment and Chesapeake Bay. A native of West Virginia, he has focused mainly on Maryland's environment since moving here in 1983. Along the way, he's crewed aboard a skipjack in the bay, canoed under city streets up the Jones Fall from the Inner Harbor, and gone deep underground in a western Maryland coal mine. He loves seafood, rambles in the country and good stories. He hopes to share some here.

Contributor Christy Zuccarini has been blogging about the local DIY craft scene for a year for She brings her pespective on all things handmade to B'More Green, where she will highlight projects you can do yourself as well as crafters who are integrating sustainable methods and materials.

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