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Takoma Park is well-known as a haven for those who might not feel as comfortable in other communities. That goes for rotting, dying trees, too. Larry Silberman’s new home features a pair of 75-year-old beech trees. One has a base filled with mortar and an 8-inch-wide fissure. The other’s root growth has caused the sidewalk and steps of his Jefferson Avenue house to crumble and buckle. Both, says Silberman, threaten to collapse onto his home. On Feb. 26, he received permission to remove the trees on the condition that he plant four new ones or pay $700 to the city’s tree fund. But those terms didn’t satisfy his neighbors: At an April 26 hearing before the city’s Tree Commission, one neighbor, Boden Sandstrom, said a loss of shade would mean increased energy usage for Silberman’s air conditioning; another argued to save the trees for historical value. The commission ruled against Silberman, saying he “would not suffer any significant hardship if the permit is denied.” Silberman is threatening legal action if a hearing next week doesn’t turn out in his favor. “It’s one of the prettiest lots in Takoma Park,” he says. “That’s the bitch of it all.” —Constantine Caloudas