Federal Realty Fined for Removing Trees Near Dawson's Market

City of Rockville: The $4,700 fine could increase if conditions are not met.


Federal Realty Investment Trust faces a $4,700 fine from the City of Rockville for removing four trees along North Washington Street.

The fine was first reported by The Gazette.

Federal Realty, which owns and manages Rockville Town Square, said the trees were blocking the view of the signs and storefront of Dawson’s Market

The long-awaited Town Square grocery store opened Sept. 29.

The removal of the trees, three days before the store’s opening, drew the ire of Rockville residents, who took to social media to voice their displeasure.

The City of Rockville sent Federal Realty a letter on Oct. 4 giving the management company 30 days to restore the trees or file a site amendment plan or face additional fines “assessed as a separate violation for each day that the violations are not abated.”

Click the PDF above to read the entire letter.

Federal Realty released a statement Sept. 28 that was posted below the Rockville Patch article about the tree removal.

The statement said Federal Realty had filed paperwork to remove the trees and anticipated receiving approval before the store’s opening.

“We acknowledge that they were inadvertently removed prematurely based on this construction schedule,” the statement said. “We are now working with the city to complete the administrative and approval process of the tree replacement plan.”

Federal Realty added planters, landscaping and two potted trees in the Dawson’s Market parking area along North Washington Street and planned to plant seven new trees around Town Square, the statement said.

Becky Lakin, marketing director for Dawson's Market, released a statement saying that the grocery store “was comfortable with removing the four trees because the plan always included planting seven trees in their place, throughout the square.”

Click here and scroll through the comments to read the statements in full.

Meanwhile, Rockville Patch reader Sean Carr called for perspective.

“Hey, it's four trees,” he wrote in a comment below the article about the tree removal. “Perspective is important. And they deserve credit for fixing up the landscaping the very same day; I think it looks pretty good. But the grocery's entire marketing is centered on being locally and environmentally friendly. When, just before it opens, the landlord chops down trees in violation of the law and previous agreements with the city, that's a slap. It is also utterly blind PR.”

Jerry October 13, 2012 at 03:05 PM
That's just a slap on the wrist. The fine should be $470,000, not pocket change like $4,700. Then Federal Realty might learn its lesson.
C.Z. Guy October 13, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I think they should be executed, just like in China. Maybe we can start killing female babies too.
Christina Ginsberg October 16, 2012 at 06:11 PM
The sad thing is that Rockville has built into its zoning ordinance that trees will have a lifespan of about 7 years. That determines the itty bitty size of the trees' planting area. Look at the trees on Middle Lane, expensive fastigiate oaks, which are already dying at less than 7 years. Then look at trees in the older neighborhoods, fifty years old and going strong. When someone like Dawson's cuts down young trees for no reason, the City figures it into its statistics, and goes in entirely the wrong direction. "Oh, no trees survive anyway, so we'll size the tree planting area for seven year old trees." No, the correct analysis should be to size the tree planting areas LARGER so the trees can survive and grow to their full potential, AND fine developers like FRIT big $$$ when they thumb their noses at the tree ordinance. "Tree City Rockville" is a sad, sad joke.


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