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Yonkers arborist fined $64,000 for illegally ‘topping’ trees

NEW YORK – A court-ordered settlement requires the owner of Potanovic & Sons Professional Tree Care of Yonkers to pay sanctions of $64,000 for illegally entering a state park in Westchester County and removing tree tops.

The three private landowners who hired the arborists to improve their views are contributing $24,000 toward the settlement that was announced Wednesday by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

In May 2005, three Yonkers homeowners on Rudolph Terrace with properties abutting the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park Trail hired Robert Potanovic and his company, Potanovic & Sons Professional Tree Care, to “vista prune” the trees blocking their views of the Hudson River and the Palisades beyond. While doing the work, the tree service company trespassed into state park property and illegally removed the tops of 34 trees in the park.

According to the settlement announced Wednesday, Potanovic and his company are required to pay $24,000 each, sign a letter of apology to the public for the destruction of the trees, and perform tree removal and other redial work in the park trail, as directed by the state. The value of the work is some $40,000.