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How NOT To Hire A Land Clearing Contractor In NJ & NY


land clearing nj nyHiring a land clearing contractor can be a tricky thing.  Is the company experienced?  Do they understand the proper permits they need to obtain before they start working?  Can they be trusted to get the job done while still being environmentally responsible.  

Check out this story below from our friends at  It tells the story of a home owner in Mahwah, NJ that hired a land clearing company from out of state to remove about 50 trees from "his" property.  

Unfortunately, the land clearing service removed about 200 trees, worth approx. $1,000,000.  Now the home owner is in trouble with the town (and all of his neighbors) because he cleared land that wasn't his and the land clearing contractor didn't do the right things before they started working.  

Before you hire a land clearing contractor in NJ or NY...make sure they have all the proper permits and the company has years (if not decades) of experience in the land clearing service.

Here's the news report as well as a short video from

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office must now decide whether to pursue a case against a township man accused of illegally chopping down more than 200 trees on his neighbor’s property.

Jay Patel, 47, pleaded not guilty Thursday in municipal court to criminal charges stemming from his decision to hire a land clearing company last March to remove the trees from an undeveloped lot behind his Tudor Rose Terrace home. The trees are valued at more than $1 million, according to police.

Patel, wearing a suit with no tie, was expressionless as he stood quietly between his two lawyers, who did most of the talking during the brief proceeding.

“These new charges are an abuse of the process,” defense attorney Ken Porro said outside Town Hall following the hearing.

“He’s trying to cure the problem,” Porro said, clutching plans to repair the 1.88-acre lot owned by Donald and Deborah Cantow.

The Patels “can’t come out of the home, they can’t sleep,” Porro said. “He hired workers, and they made the error. It’s negligent, not criminal.”

A lawyer representing the Cantows, Arthur Chagaris, replied that the “system has to take its course.”

“I don’t know if [Patel] made any realistic attempt to fix anything,” Chagaris said.

Once filled with trees ranging in size from 2 inches to 36 inches in diameter, all that remains now on the steeply sloping property — located within the upscale Rio Vista development — are massive piles of sticks, branches and tree stumps.

Patel did not seek a permit before removing the trees from his yard and the adjoining lot, according to Tom Mulvey, Mahwah’s zoning and property maintenance officer.

Mahwah Municipal Judge Anthony Gianni referred the matter to the prosecutor’s office for review after Patel pleaded not guilty to four criminal counts, including theft of movable property and criminal mischief. The theft and criminal mischief complaints will be reviewed to determine if they are indictable offenses that can be presented to a grand jury, said Maureen Parenta, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.

The Mahwah Environmental Commission will handle Patel’s municipal violations for removing trees without a permit and cutting down more than five trees in a 12-month period.

Porro said that because his client’s property runs from the back of his house to the street, he didn’t realize that he was crossing the property line.

Once he realized his mistake, Patel hired an engineer in April and came up with a $200,000 plan to replace the trees, add additional plantings and alleviate soil erosion on the site, Porro said.

By the engineer’s count, only 54 trees had been felled, 46 of which were on the Cantow property, Porro said.

However, the Cantows rejected the restoration plan, Porro said.

“That makes them whole. But it’s not good enough,” Porro said. “They are looking for something, in my opinion, they’re not entitled to”

Chagaris said the criminal charges were not motivated by money, even though they were filed almost a year after the alleged offense.

“This was presented to the police,” he said. “They thought it was appropriate, and the police are doing what they think they should be doing.”

“What would the average person feel like if someone comes on their property and cuts down that amount of trees?” Chagaris said. “What if they cut down one tree? It’s bizarre.”



Very interesting story. I think the man who was cutting the trees should review "work order". How did he get confused with cutting (spending time and energy) from 50 trees to 200 trees??? Yes, he should have reviewed his work order twice. Then, label each tree that needed to be remove. The owner is responsible as well. He should have labeled the trees or replace them back.
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