McGrath, Developer of Villa at Newtown, To Pay Newtown Twp $25K For Surreptitiously and Illegally Cutting Down Valuable Beech Tree | Newtown News of Interest |
McGrath Homes will pay the township $25,000 for illegally cutting down a 112-year-old tree in 2015.

Newtown Township Supervisor Jen Dix said the board on Wednesday unanimously voted to accept the payment as a settlement for the action. The European copper beech tree was illegally removed during the development of the Villas at Newtown.

Preservation of the tree was a condition of approval when Newtown Township approved the development in 2006, but contractors took it down without getting advance approval by the township.

Several months after it was cut down, the supervisors voted to have an attorney file a lawsuit in Bucks County Court seeking $85,000 for the tree, a figure that was determined by a professional arborist's assessment.

However, Dix said the township decided to reach the settlement deal after it prepared to pursue litigation for a second time. "This avoided the legal costs for both sides and although it was not as much money as the forensic arborist report said it was worth, we felt it was in the best interest of the Township to accept this settlement," Dix said in an email to Patch.