Kinnelon man could be out $1.4 million after neighbor cuts down 32 of his trees

Samih Shinway says that all that is left are broken branches and stumps. He says that his neighbor allegedly hired landscapers to cut down the trees so that he could have a better view.

Matt Trapani and Amanda Lee

Jul 1, 2023, 1:23 AM

Updated 349 days ago

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A man in Kinnelon has been getting national attention after his neighbors cut down 32 trees on his property. It is estimated that replanting all the trees could cost upward of $1 million.
Homeowner Samih Shinway says that all that is left are broken branches and stumps. He says that his neighbor allegedly hired landscapers to cut down the trees so that he could have a better view. But Shinway says that for the landscapers to do that, they had to hop a gate and come onto his private property.
“I would never imagine that somebody would hire people to come over their fence to destroy somebody else's property. I feel violated, it angers me, and it breaks my heart and I just want it fixed,” Shinway says.
Shinway says that his neighbor apparently thought that the property was his own. He says that he hasn’t seen his neighbor. He says that the neighbor dropped off a note about the situation.
“He stated that he wasn't a bad neighbor and that he moved up here because he loves nature,” Shinway says.
Officials say that the neighbor could be fined up to $32,000, which is $1,000 for each tree.
But Shinway says that this is nothing compared to the estimate he got from contractors on how much it will cost to replant all of the trees. He says it could cost $1.4 million.
“The reason why it’s going to cost so much money is that there’s no easy way to access it. As you guys witnessed coming up here, you’d have to knock a couple of trees down and build a road,” Shinway says. “You’d have to add soil, you’d have to water the trees, they’d have to establish their roots for at least two years.”
The township is investigating the situation. But Shinway also shared his story on social media and found that incidents like this are happening across the country.
“I think there should be some sort of legislation protecting these trees because if you were to scale it out over the span of the entire country, it’s a lot more than these protected areas that end up getting wildfires,” Shinway says.
A court hearing is scheduled for mid-July.


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