Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said today a Superior Court judge has ruled that a billboard company and a tree removal service illegally clear cut 83 mature trees on state property along I-84 in Waterbury.
Blumenthal sued Lamar Central Outdoor, LLC and its affiliates, and Long Hill Tree Lawn Care Service, Inc. of Trumbull for cutting the trees in 2007 without the required state permits and trespassing. Blumenthal filed the action in 2008 in cooperation with the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Superior Court Judge Michael R. Sheldon ruled for Blumenthal’s office, finding that the companies had permits to trim -- not cut down -- the trees. He also found that they trespassed on state property when they felled trees outside the permitted area.
“This decision is a powerful victory for the environment, holding Lamar and Long Hill accountable for brazen breaches of state permits and law,” Blumenthal said. “These companies clear cut trees in defiance of state permits explicitly permitting pruning only. They swept a swath of destruction, obliterating a vital environmental buffer protecting homeowners from noxious noise and views.
“Companies that violate state permits and laws must be held accountable. I will fight for financial penalties against Lamar and Long Hill, as well as an order requiring full restoration of the environment.”
The DOT granted permits allowing Lamar and Long Hill to trim trees along I-84 eastbound near the Austin Road exit to enable better views of Lamar’s billboards. The companies instead felled 83 trees inside and outside areas where they were permitted to prune.
The judge will hold a hearing on Blumenthal’s request for remedies, including monetary damages, an order to restore the property and recovery of the state’s legal costs. No date is set.