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Contested - and very old - trees start to fall in Kirkwood to make room for 10-house development

'Once you grade ... you basically have removed life and they're going to build a tumor,' resident says

The smell of woodchips floated over a fence in Kirkwood today, as a crew started chopping and chipping trees on a lot to make way for new homes.
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? Outside, a disappointed handful of activists and neighbors clustered on the sidewalk, using a step stool to peer over the fence.  The acreage has been vacant so long that towering trees, some perhaps more than 100 years old, long since took over part of the site.
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? The activists would rather have the trees.
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? "Once you grade ... you basically have removed life and they're going to build a tumor," said Victoria Hoffman, who lives nearby.
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? Hoffman was one of a handful of people on Norwood Avenue at about lunchtime when a Bobcat started carrying branches to the chipper.  The site is platted into 10 home lots. The land is one of several being watched by Atlanta Protects Trees, a relatively new network of activists.
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? Atlanta and other metro cities need stronger tree ordinances to better protect the area's leafy canopy, said Melanie Bass Pollard, the group's leader.  
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? The fight over the lot has grown heated. Last month, at a press conference in conjunction with Atlanta Protects Trees, state Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, state Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, and DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon spoke in favor of balancing tree protection with home-building. Or for slightly less measured discussion, there's a Curbed thread for that.
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