by Caroline Vandergriff | CBS 11

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas community is fighting to save nearly 20 acres of forest near their homes.

A developer is looking to rezone the wooded area on the east side of Davis Boulevard, from Odell to Hightower, in North Richland Hills.

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People who live in the surrounding neighborhoods say the massive, old trees are part of what drew them to the area.

“And we want to be able to preserve some of that for our children and for our community,” said Jade Darr, whose home overlooks the wooded land.

North Richland Hills zoning issue (Caroline Vandergriff – CBS 11)

She’s teamed up with Julia Bauman, who also lives in the neighborhood, to fight the rezoning request for the 19-acre forest.

A developer hopes to put 95 single-family townhomes and two commercial sites on the land.

“We’re not against development,” said Bauman. “Our houses were developed at one point, but just to bulldoze an entire forest we just think is very irresponsible.”

On behalf of Texas New Real Estate LLC, Farrukh Azim is requesting the zoning change.

He told CBS 11 they have been very sensitive to the community’s feedback.

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Their original proposal called for 140 townhomes, and they cut it down to 95.

Azim said they also plan to preserve 17% of the site for open space.

Map of area requested for rezoning in North Richland Hills

Bauman and Darr wish they’d consider developing other lots that don’t have such mature trees.

“Houses can be built anywhere, but trees – especially if they’re hundreds of years old – can’t be replaced,” Darr said. “Once they’re gone, they’re gone.”

The two are now rallying their neighbors to take action.

“Speak up, sign the petition, call the Planning and Zoning Commission and let them know you don’t want this to happen,” said Darr.

The NRH Planning and Zoning Commission meets next Thursday, December 19 at 7:00 p.m. to consider the zoning change. They’ll then make a recommendation to the NRH City Council, which will ultimately vote to approve or deny the application.

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The next NRH City Council meeting is on Monday, January 13, at 7:00 p.m.