Legal battle brewing in Fort Bend County neighborhood in effort to save trees

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – A legal battle is brewing in one Fort Bend County neighborhood over an effort to save trees.

The trees are along Four Figure Lake in Waterside Estates. 

They sit on property belonging to  Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District 118 which has begun cutting some of them to clear a path for a jogging trail.

"We actually paid a premium to be on this lot, to be on the lake and to have the view of the beautiful trees so, to us, it's a very valuable thing and the fact that we're losing these trees is just a tragedy," said Irma Rohatgi, who has lived in the neighborhood since 2006. 

She said one of the trees that make up her backyard view, a bald cypress, holds a particularly special meaning.

"I sat in my home after my chemo sessions and looked at this tree to give me strength," she said. 

Rohatgi said that, when she first learned about the project, the trees were going to be spared. But suddenly, she said, several were marked for removal.

In all, 18 trees are set to be cut down. 

Rohatgi hired an attorney to send a cease and desist letter to Municipal Utility District 118's attorney, Taylor Goodall. 

In a statement to Channel 2 News, Goodall wrote: 

"The District’s trail construction is part of an extensive amenity project for neighborhood enhancement and public enjoyment.  The construction is not yet complete. The District’s Board of Directors, all of whom live within the District, are committed to completing the project in a responsible manner and intend to undertake additional landscaping measures and plantings upon completion of construction. "

Rohatgi and her neighbors plan to voice their concerns at the MUD board meeting Tuesday evening. 

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