Alexandria police yesterday issued a summons charging developer Charles M. Fairchild with violation of a new city ordinance by chopping down between 200 and 300 trees on a 40-acre tract along George Washington Memorial Parkway near National Airport.
Fairchild has said he ordered the trees cut as a protest of National Park Service "stalling" his long-announced plans to build a controversial office building complex on the site.
When police tried to serve the summons, they got a surprise. Fairchild, who leases the land from the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, was in North Carolina.
Nevertheless, Michele R. Schrecker, assistant to City Manager B. Douglas Harman, said the city had been assured that Fairchild would stop by Monday on his return to pick up the summons, which orders him to appear in Alexandria General District Court Nov. 29.
If found guilty of violating the three-week-old ordinance, which prohibits builders from cutting trees without a permit on land requiring a site plan. Fairchild could receive six months in jail, a $500 fine or both.
Alexandria city arborist Gregory A. Kernan said the trees, which apparently have been cut within the past week, were mostly between 20 and 40 feet tall, and that some were as much as 60 years old.
Deputy Police Chief Clyde Scott said that police were watching the site, on which Fairchild has long sought to build the office building complex called Potomac Center, and that anyone doing further cutting would first receive a summons. "And the second time around, we'll bring him in," Scott said.