Oak Bluffs parks commissioner Amy Billings reached a $2,025 settlement with Thomas Hjerpe, 54, of Northborough after Hjerpe’s unauthorized removal of a catalpa tree in Ocean Park.
Billings told The Times in an email the $2,025 settlement was determined by a quote from Crossland Landscape and Hagerty Tree. The money will cover the cost of replacing the catalpa tree, stump grinding, plus two years’ maintenance.
Select board members gave Billings permission to explore legal action against Hjerpe, but Billings said the matter never reached court. “I felt it wasn’t worth wasting town money on lawyers,” Billings wrote. “However, if anything like this ever happens in the parks again, we will just have the police press charges.”
The issue began less than a week into 2021, when a catalpa tree was mysteriously removed from the park. Hjerpe came forward after Mark Crossland of Crossland Landscape, which maintains the park for the town, posted a photo of the tree stump on Facebook.
Hjerpe, a seasonal resident, is listed as the owner of two condos at 61 Ocean Ave., which has a direct view of the cut-down tree, according to assessors’ records.
Billings previously told The Times she learned Hjerpe had been trimming the tree “for years.”