Richard Gere faces a fine of up to $50,000 for cutting down trees
The `Amelia` actor failed to seek the appropriate permission before having around 200 trees removed from the grounds of his estate in Pound Ridge, Westchester, New York, in a move which has perplexed local residents.
One neighbour said: "This is a town where money isn`t an issue. What matters are good manners and caring about the community. People have been supportive of him, but I`m not sure what he was thinking."
Another told the New York Post newspaper: "The feeling is that he acted a bit precipitously in clearing the trees. People are somewhat disappointed that he didn`t follow procedure.
"Rather than seeking the proper channels and permits, he hired someone to cut them down. He`s generally a good neighbour. It was out of character."
Richard and wife Carey Lowell reportedly wanted the trees cleared to create a paddock for their horses, but could be fined $250 for each one chopped down without a permit.
The actor has claimed he only cut down around 150 trees and is believed to be in negotiations with town officials to replant a number of them.