It was Frank's turn to speak. He stood at the microphone and greeted the Planning Commission. His quiet voice was a welcome change from those who had preceded him.
He briefly described his property, addressed an accusation that had been leveled earlier that the abandoned house was mold-ridden, and spoke about the trees.
"I love trees," he said. "I've been in the lumber business for years."
Did he really say that? There was stunned silence in the chambers. Then the room erupted in laughter.
It's true, he does own a lumber yard, but Frank is a soft-spoken, humble man, and everyone there knew exactly what he was trying to say, and no one doubted his sincerity.
Those two acres and the trees surrounding the original ranch house that was there long before the sprawl are not long for this world. I'd like to think that Frank's sincerity counts for something, that when he develops the land he'll keep his love of trees in mind. I want to trust his low, calm voice and non-abrasive way of talking. I want to think some of those trees will make it.
But the commission denied his request, and it looks like they'll just end up subdividing the land into standard lots like all the rest around here. And we all know there's not much place in standard lots for old trees.
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