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My Two Cents: If a tree falls in the forest

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Posted on: June 6, 2024

By MIKE MCLAUGHLIN

A treehouse. What kid hasn’t dreamed of living in, or at least having, a treehouse to escape to?

Well, plans by eco-architectural firm, Arborealtor Inc., may help that dream come true in Laurel, and making that dream come true may also save the last remaining stand of forest in the city.

The city is currently considering a proposal that would eliminate the almost-30 acre forest at the north end of Contee Road in exchange for 300 housing units. Arborealtor is offering a plan that doesn’t eliminate trees but instead uses them as foundations for housing. The proposal would be, as Arborealtor said, “a win/win for the city: preserving trees and providing property taxes, both equally important in the 21st century.”

Opponents of the current proposal also question the wisdom of high density housing at that location. “It would turn that one-way-in-one-way-out end of Contee Road into a 300-home cul de sac,” resident Fred Berfal said. Opponents of the plan also decry the burden on traffic and schools that that kind of density would create.

Arborealtor admits that their low density alternative would not be affordable housing, per se. Customized for tree type and customer needs, the company’s one-of-a-kind offerings are, as Arborealtor’s literature says, bespoke housing. All units would be solar powered and have high speed Internet, with interiors by renowned treescape designer, George. The company is confident that the sewer and water challenges will be overcome with the help of artificial intelligence.
Jane Allgood, Arborealtor’s spokesperson, said that the higher prices would help fill the tax coffers, allowing the city to redevelop affordable housing in already high density areas in the city.

So when it comes to house hunting in Laurel, things could soon be looking up, quite literally.


The views expressed in this column belong to its author. The Laurel Independent reserves the right to edit ‘My Two Cents’ submissions for brevity and clarity.

Mike McLaughlin is a resident of Laurel. Arborrealtor is NOT real, but Mike wishes it were!

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