TRURO — Ron Singer, a local plumber who admitted clear-cutting a swath of conservation land by his house on Francis Farm Road, has paid the Truro Conservation Trust to restore the woodlands.
In January 2020, the trust discovered that a portion of its 5.2 acres at 2 Francis Farm Road —property that had been deeded to the trust by the estate of Dexter Keezer in 1998 — had been cut down by Singer. Further surveying in June uncovered a second large swath of woods that he had also cleared. Singer used the land to store and dump brush, lumber, rusted equipment, cars, and barrels of unidentified chemicals.
In total, about two acres had been cleared, said trust President Alfred Gaechter.
When confronted, Singer told Gaechter he had only been trying to “beautify” the conservation land.
“It’s really egregious and blatant,” Karen Tosh, a trustee, told the Independent in August.
On July 1, the trust, which owns 360 acres in Truro, filed suit against Singer seeking $70,000 to $80,000, the estimated cost of restoring the land with grasses and other native species. About one month ago, however, the suit was withdrawn because the parties reached an agreement, Gaechter said.
“We’re pleased that Mr. Singer agreed to the terms,” said Gaechter. “He is also providing an irrigation hook-up so we can irrigate the seeds if needed.”
Singer said, in a prepared statement, that he “looks forward to a productive and neighborly relationship going forward.” He would not comment further on the settlement. The parties signed a nondisclosure agreement barring them from revealing the amount of money involved.
“I cannot tell you the amount,” said Gaechter. “But we got a significant amount of money to do restoration.”
The restoration will take place in three phases: during the first, landscapers will prepare the soil for planting. In spring, they will plant grass and wildflower seeds and cover them with straw. In a year or so, depending how everything grows, they may plant some pods of trees.
“It would restore the natural landscape and promote carbon sequestration,” Gaechter said.
The trust received free legal assistance from Tosh, a lawyer, and from attorney Michael Fee, who also lives on Francis Farm Road, said Gaechter. Fee works at Pierce & Mandell in Boston.
“It’s been a good resolution,” Gaechter said. “Everyone came together, and it was amicable, as something like this can be.”