Star Nissan in Auburndale was fined $84,000 by the Parks Department for aggressively pruning - and in some cases completely destroying – approximately 20 trees along Auburndale Lane, 42nd Avenue, and 172nd Street.
The trees were planted ten years ago by the city to act as a buffer between the busy service center and the residential homes that surround it.
But neighbors say the fines aren't enough. They say that the management of Star Nissan has been unwilling to compromise and communicate with the community on a host of issues, including cars being parked on residential streets and noise, to name a couple.
“[This is] yet another in a long series of arrogant and malicious acts against the surrounding community,” said Rhea O'Gorman, co-president of the Station Road Civic Association. “Only this time the act was illegal.”
Chrissy Voskerichian, vice president of the Station Road Civic Association, said some progress has been made over the last few years to open up dialogue with ownership of Star Nissan to address some of the issues.
So it was disheartening when employees of Star Nissan were sent out to chop branches off the trees, which are technically on public property.
“This sets us back ten years,” said Voskerichian.
Residents want Star Nissan to foot the bill for replacing the damaged trees, as well as transplanting damaged trees that likely won't survive in an urban setting to area parks.
Assemblyman Ed Braunstein joined residents at the rally last Friday, and acknowledged that issues with Star Nissan predate even his time in office.
“I have files from my predecessor dating back 15 years regarding the noise at Star service center,” he said. “If Star wants to continue to operate in our community, they must finally be a good neighbor.”
A representative from Star Nissan briefly attended the rally, but declined to comment.