Residents upset after neighborhood forest chopped down without warning

BRENTWOOD, MO (KTVI)– Chopped down and wiped out without warning: a neighborhood forest in Brentwood disappeared last week.

Neighbors demanded answers, Monday.

It was a little scrap of forest at the corner of Middlesex and York in the York Village neighborhood off of McKnight Road.

All that’s left are a couple of dozen stumps and massive logs on the ground where decades old trees used to stand.

The Keely family lives in the home next door.

Libby Keely, 7, posted a sign at the corner saying, “I miss the trees and the animals.”

The mature little forest that only covered about a ¼ acre.

It was home to hawks, foxes, ducks, even the occasional deer.

“I cried.  When I walked down and actually looked at it and saw the impact of what was here.  I’ve seen tornados, what nature does.  I’ve never seen something like this before.  It’s very sad,” said Libby’s mother, Anne Keely.

“It looks to me we’ve got decades if not a century of growth that in the course of 24 hours was completely obliterated for absolutely no purpose,” said another neighborhood resident, Paul Rohde.

Kids laid flowers among the stumps.

Property owner, Boris Bukhstaber, confirmed to Fox 2 that he owned the land and had the trees removed but otherwise would not comment.

The lot is zoned residential.  But the neighborhood association has posted a warning, saying the lot is not “buildable”; association by-laws allow 143 homes. The neighborhood is at the limit.

A Brentwood city official said no one had submitted plans for anything but the Bukhstaber was within his rights to clear the forest.

“It’s just a shame that it takes something like this for everybody to appreciate a little patch of land that nobody thought anything ofbut when it’s gone, you sure notice it,” Rohde said. 

Anne Keely and her husband live just uphill for the little forest.  They worried about their yard eroding without the trees there to hold the ground in place.

A creek running through the property was also critical during periods of flash flooding, residents said.

A city official said any improvements would likely require plans and permits but at this point the property owner had acted legally.

Follow me on Twitter:  AndyBankerTV

Facebook:  Andy Banker on Fox 2

Email: Andy.Banker@tvstl.com

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