The rift between residents of the Evergreen Woods condominium complex in Brick and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority grew bigger this week, with residents of the community – which backs up the ever-expanding Garden State Parkway – saying trees that were planted by a state contractor are not up to the standards they were promised.
The trees were far from what residents had requested in the first place – a sound wall – that they say would provide protection from endless traffic noise, increased fumes and the threat of a car slipping off the roadway and plowing into their homes. All three of those threats have grown since the Parkway was expanded with larger shoulder, with state crews having removed thousands of trees, which provided a layer of protection, in the process.
The Turnpike Authority built a sound wall on the opposite side of the highway, where the Cherrywood Farm community backs up to the Parkway. For Evergreen Woods residents, the state promised to plant a number of 7-foot trees after years of fighting and residents attending Turnpike Authority meeting.
“It is a public relations ploy,” a visibly angry Stephen Brill, a Evergreen Woods resident, told the township council this week.
“They’re laughing at Brick residents and their representatives,” resident John Sluka said. “They needed a 14 foot barrier, but instead they’re planting a line of three to four-foot trees. Every council member should be calling the governor’s office, the lieutenant governor’s office and the newspapers.”
Mayor John Ducey, who has previously advocated for residents of the community, said he would contact the state to rectify the tree issue.
“You look at these trees and they are three feet at best. That is totally unacceptable,” said Ducey. “What they’re planting out there is definitely not up to what they promised to residents, so we’re on top of it.”