Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Residents tour Linear Park in North Cambridge in April. Charles Teague is seen gesturing. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The developer IQHQ has been fined $23,316 for removing two city trees in North Cambridge without authorization or approval, the Department of Public Works said in a Tuesday email shared with Cambridge Day.

The news comes after resident Charles Teague alerted officials to “the desecration of our public parks,” in this case the Linear Park, where two magnolia trees with trunks of around 6 inches had been “snapped off at their base” for the redevelopment of the W.R. Grace site.

Teague said in a published essay that the mistake resulted from a construction fence being moved 12 feet into the park, a path for walkers, runners and bicyclists lined by trees. 

City staff have met with the developer and contractor to review their tree protection plan, ensure they are clear on the property boundary and discuss the appropriate restitution associated with damage to city property, said Katherine F. Watkins, the new commissioner of the Department of Public Works.

The remains of two Linear Park trees in North Cambridge. (Photo: Charles Teague)

The developer and contractor will pay fines for the removal of each tree, the appraised value of the each trees as determined by the city arborist and for the planting of five additional trees to help offset the loss, according to Watkins’ email. 

In addition, “the developer and contractor are taking additional steps to improve their onsite management processes to ensure they are following their submitted tree plan and properly protecting trees, both on their site and on adjacent properties,” Watkins said.