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Council gives Brown Timber the OK to log

| Thursday, May 5, 2005

Logging could become more common in Penn Hills thanks to a permit that council approved. The permit allows Acme-based Brown Timber to log more than 65 acres of land on two parcels of land.

"This is new to urban communities," said Howard Davidson, director of Planning in Penn Hills. "We made forestry a conditional use: Anyone wanting to cut down trees has to have 10 acres or more to an area. They also have to have erosion and soil plans, and have to go through two hearings, one with the planning commission and another with council."

One parcel is in the 300 block of Pike Street and owned by Lee Brown.

The other parcel, owned by Roy Smith at the end of Valemont Drive, is a bone of contention for Bernice Berg and several nearby residents who worry that logging would cause problems for the neighborhood and the community as a whole.

"I'm not happy about this and neither are my neighbors. It's a very sensitive area and it has a whole lot of red clay, which is slide prone," said Berg, who has resided at 629 Valemont Drive since 1954.

Brandon Carkuff, chief forester of Brown Timber and Land Co., Inc., said Berg's worries are unfounded.

"We're going to be doing timber management, which is removing old trees and seeding, allowing for other ones to grow and for the young ones there to mature," Carkuff said. "Everything we do is approved by the Allegheny Conservation District and we use erosion control materials."

The logging is set to start this summer and will take three to four weeks.

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