NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man is being fined more than $20,000 for chopping down trees in his own yard.

He says the trees were a danger to his family and property, but officials in his village disagree saying he didn’t go through proper channels and now he has to pay up, reports CBS2’s Elise Finch.

Pericles Linardos has called his Nassau County wooded property in the Village of Muttontown home since he was 12 years old.

He says Superstorm Sandy cracked and split dozens of trees on his property, included several in his front yard that have since been replaced by bushes.

One tree was toppled and damaged six others on its way down, so two months after it happened, he had all seven of them removed.

Linardos says the tree experts he consulted said it was necessary to make his property safer.

That’s when the conflict began, as did the fines.

Muttontown Village Attorney Steven Leventhal says cutting down a tree in this northshore community is like polluting beaches on the South Shore.

The village code regulates the removal of trees with a diameter of 7 inches or more, and a permit is required for removal unless it’s an emergency.

“We got a phone call,” said Leventhal. “Our arborist went out saw the trees already down. He said they were healthy.”

The law calls for a removal fine of $250 per tree-inch measured across the diameter.

In this case that adds up to $22,500, and if Linardos doesn’t pay, he faces 15 days in jail.

The two sides have been battling this out in court for the past five years.

The village attorney says Linardos isn’t the only homeowner to violate the tree removal law and be charged hefty fines – he’s just the only one who refuses to pay.

Linardos is adamant he’d rather go to jail than pay unfair fines.

Comments (25)
  1. Jay Thomas says:

    Glad I left NY ten years ago. So Funked Up!

  2. Larry Hansen says:

    Why would anyone want to live in this sh_thole town

  3. Cities and towns all over the country have instituted so many codes that one is never sure of one’s standing. It’s gotten ridiculous and it’s time to put a stop to the rampant permits for every single thing under the sun. Even though the arborist said the trees were healthy, they posed a hazard, and they needed to come down. Seems you can’t do anything reasonable these days without having a run in with the damned code compliance people and nosy damned neighbors.

    1. None of you have to agree with me but it is this kind of onerous regulation that got President Trump elected. People have had enough of regulations and laws that have little to do with what is necessary or what is needed to safeguard the public. This is just an example of over-regulation and the PEOPLE are tired of it. Damaged trees can kill people and you should be able to manage your own woods on land that you own. For example, we had a tree that was partially uprooted and leaning over our driveway after a big N’Easter wind this spring. I wonder if he had something like that going on. It sounds like some city councilman and county commissioners want to make some hard earned money$$$. Vote them out and put in reasonable people.

  4. Chris Havens says:

    In Rogers Co. OK, we resisted and won against County Government. They wanted our over 300,000 acres of area to be in part of the Rogers Co. Planning commission. We said no. All that was, and what this is, the Local Governments taxing and charging property owners for “SERVICES” that are not needed. There is most likely a process, he did not pay the local government a PERMIT fee of 500 per tree to get permission to take them down. So, some not elected bureaucrat to drive by, look, and tell him no later. Since not elected can be no fall out.

  5. Jim Dean says:

    Let’s see, 22 grand or 15 days free room and board on the city’s dime… I’ll take door number 2, thanks.

  6. tonyome says:

    Your wonderful NY local government. Lol.

  7. Don Smith says:

    THEIR arborist went to see the trees and they were already cut down? Then how did the arborist declare them “healthy”. They have an arborist sitting around being paid by the taxpayers? They charge this citizen for cutting down trees on his own property and declare that its the same as polluting the beaches? Who makes these determinations? Isnt there an attorney somewhere in that stinking state willing to help property owners fight against the tin horn governments?

    1. Dave Herbert says:

      If he had applied for a permit would it be approved? If yes make him pay for the permits with a fine for getting them after the fact. Done.

  8. It’s high time that lawyers and stinking politicians are tarred and feathered for BS like this.

  9. Too much government in New York; state, county, town, village all to milk the taxpayers! When will they ever learn?

  10. Don McCoy says:

    Fined for cutting ones own trees? I KNEW it would be either California or NYS.

  11. Have the mother f*ckers pay his property taxes as he obviously doesn’t own his own property.

  12. Bill White says:

    It’s like polluting the beach???? I say their inanity pollutes our society…..fine them a million each for existing!

  13. agsb002 says:

    I am surprised some lawyer who wants to enhance his legal resume hasn’t offered to take this case pro bono!

  14. Jeff Aughey says:

    Go to jail and make the town look even more insane. I live in a crazy tree city as well. They are trees! – NOT people. Ever go up in a plane and see how many trees there are? We have plenty.

  15. Mike Gilmer says:

    You just got to love these socialist liberal Democrat run states.

  16. wayneliz says:

    The tax on tea in Boston was nothing in comparison to this government tyranny. It deserves the same response.

  17. Larry Kent says:

    I faced a similar situation in Conway, SC several years ago. Private properties rights are dead.

  18. Hope The Home Owner Realizes He Own Nothing !! When A City Or County Government Can Dictate Which Tree You Are Allowed To Cut Down, Well Tell Me About Free Country ???

  19. All your tree are belong to us!

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