photo by Boyd Loving
Reader says Most people in town disagree with New Shade Tree policy
Last week, Mrs. Walsh said “the prevailing opinion is it’s a poor idea to continue to plant trees in the right of way. Tree roots often struggle to find energy and can rip up sidewalks and streets.” In her proposal new trees would only be planted on private property, not on the traditional right of way.
Most people in town disagree with what she describes as the “prevailing opinion”. This shows how poorly this policy has been thought through and the typical “shoot first and ask questions later” policy that Councilwoman Walsh and her colleagues have been known for over the past few years….
Have the REAC meetings that Mrs Walsh presides over been adhering to public meeting laws? I have never heard about advanced notice of a meeting and agenda, where the details of this policy were being hashed out.
The first thing that Councilwoman Walsh should recognize is that the trees that have come down in recent storms are large “old growth” Oak and Maple trees and are NOT the types of trees that are planted as replacement shade trees today. So, the replacement trees and their root systems will never be as big as the 100+ year old trees that tend to come down in storms today.
Secondly, damage to the Village streets from fallen trees is non-existent to minimal from year to year. It is the sidewalks that tend to be damaged when a tree is uprooted. But, the town does not maintain the sidewalks in residential areas. The homeowner does. In addition, planting a tree on the “inside of sidewalk” (on a homeowner’s lawn) is not going to prevent the roots from disrupting the sidewalk when a tree comes down, just because it was moved to the other side of the sidewalk.
Thirdly, it makes sense not to allow planting near wires or infrastructure. But, that doesn’t mean that trees must be planted on a homeowner’s lawn. Furthermore, locating the tree on private property is not going to prevent the possibility of a tree from falling on a wire, just because it was moved from the right of way.
This is an inappropriate transfer of responsibility and cost from the Village to the homeowner, which will forever change the appearance of some older neighborhoods in town. It will also force homeowners to choose between planting trees on their property, which could impact in ground watering systems, electric fences, physical fences or other elements on their property, or have treeless exposure from the street. This is an over-reach by Village government.
The fact that we already plant smaller trees that do not grow as tall and have smaller root systems than we did decades ago is enough to address this issue. Councilwoman Walsh needs to do her homework and residents need to send her a loud and clear message that her proposal is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.