To The Editor: Trees bring many benefits to Greenwich

From the Greenwich-Post.com on November 14, 2013

To the Editor

Recently, the tree warden protected four beautiful pin oaks that mask part of the Cos Cob train station and give shade to that area. He also protected two trees that stand alone along Strickland Road.

We thank him for saving our town’s assets and understanding that safe roads and sidewalks can coexist with trees. Because of recent storms, some residents are concerned about our urban forest. So it’s good to remind everyone of the often-overlooked environmental and economic benefits of trees.

• Trees clean the air: Trees act as giant filters that clean the air we breathe by intercepting airborne particles, cooling the air and absorbing pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.

• Trees benefit the soil: Trees can store harmful pollutants and change them into less harmful forms. Trees filter sewage, reduce effects from animal wastes, clean roadside spills, and clean water runoff into streams. Trees control soil erosion, conserve rainwater and reduce sediment deposit after storms. Tree roots bind the soil and their leaves break the force of wind and rain.

• Trees increase property value: Real estate values can increase when trees are planted. Data shows that buyers are willing to spend 3% to 7% more on homes with ample trees over few or no trees.

• Trees shade and cool: Shade reduces the need for air conditioning in summer. Studies show that parts of cities without cooling shade from trees can literally be “heat islands” with temperatures as much as 12 degrees higher than in surrounding areas.

• Trees bring people together: Data shows neighborhoods with shady trees and parks create outdoor spaces that attract people. When people are drawn to spaces with trees, they are more likely to see and interact with their neighbors and become friends.

Let’s be mindful of “our friends” the trees and protect our environment, health and property values. Our children, their children, and all the generations to come as the heirs of our fragile planet will be grateful to us.

JoAnn Messina
Greenwich

The author is the executive director of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy.

To the Editor: Regarding the Storm

To the Editor:

The Greenwich Tree Conservancy agrees with the recommendations given recently in several letters to the editor. Underground wiring should begin without further delay on major town roads, near substations and for all new construction. The long term cost over the many years this will take, will be far less than the cost of the current archaic system when business and property losses are taken into account.

We believe that severe and destructive “100 year” storms may be coming with more frequency and power lines will continue to suffer with our majestic trees, although the suffering will be much less if our trees are maintained. Trees provide many ecosystem benefits including clean air, cleaner water, the sequestration of carbon from the air, prevention of flooding and creating homes for wildlife. We do need to balance these benefits and the enhanced aesthetics and property values with above ground power lines while they exist, that is why the Greenwich Tree Conservancy complies with state policy of planting only right trees in right places—short ornamental trees under power lines, shade trees only where there is no power line.

The majority of trees which impacted power lines in our recent storms were trees on private property, not governed by the existing town tree ordinance nor managed by our town tree warden. We agree that public and private tree management has to improve. We fully cooperate with our town tree warden and urge an increase in funding for care of existing trees on town property.

JoAnn Messina, Executive Director

Greenwich Tree Conservancy

Save Costs, Save Trees, Bury Lines

Originally posted in Greenwich Time: Letters to the Editor:

To the editor:

The Greenwich Tree Conservancy, a non-profit citizen group dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of our “urban forest,” urges our elected officials to require Connecticut Light & Power to bury power lines in Greenwich, wherever it may be feasible. Many Greenwich residents are insisting after the devastation of Hurricane Irene that this be accomplished.

Burying power lines may actually be more cost effective in the long run for CL&P than repeatedly repairing the damage to overhead power lines after a major storm such as Irene and the nor’easter of March 2010, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars. As a result of climate change, it is projected that hurricanes will be increasingly frequent. There would also be a savings to the utility through the elimination of the continuing cost of tree removal and pruning.

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New Process for Town Tree Warden’s review of P&Z Applications of Town Projects and Public Hearings on Tree Removal

MEMO TO P&Z COMMISSION, TOWN TREE WARDEN
FROM: Diane Fox, Director Planning and Zoning/Town Planner/Zoning Enforcement Coordinator


DATE: June 3, 2011


After discussion with Bruce Spaman, Town Tree Warden, on the current processes of the timing of public hearings of tree removal on Town properties and reviewing the Public Hearings held by the Town Tree Warden on the North Mianus School site, the North Street School site and the High School Auditorium projects, he and I are proposing the following new procedures which we hope will aid the public in knowing earlier in the process about tree removals on Town properties for projects while reducing time and money for town projects.

Based on the experience of the appeals taken by the public on the three recent projects referred to above, Bruce and I have agreed upon the following:

  • Presently when a town project comes to P&Z as a preliminary site plan, it is routed to the Town Tree Warden for his comments. This will continue.
  • When and if the Commission gives consent to allow the applicant to proceed to final site plan, the Town Tree Warden will then post the trees that will need to be removed on and off site so that the public and neighbors can have an early opportunity to see what will be removed and if they desire to file an appeal or request that the Town Tree Warden hold a public hearing on these trees’ removal.
  • The Public hearing on tree removal is held by the Town Tree Warden, and if any trees posted for removal are to remain on site, the final site plan submitted will reflect any site plan changes resulting from this decision. These final plans may require IWWCA re-review or not.
  • Applicant/Town Dept. will submit final site plans to P&Z reflecting the Town Tree Warden’s decision after the 10 day appeal period (of the Tree Warden’s decision) is over.

This procedural change should make the process more transparent, allows the public earlier knowledge of both the project and tree removal, and saves time and money for the submitting town department or agency.

It was noted that the need for this change in the process was not evident in the past, but has become more of an issue within the past few years when town trees are proposed for removal when both town and private projects are submitted, ie. Greenwich Ave project at 410 Greenwich Ave.

It is our hope that the public and town bodies will see this as a positive response to the recent events and we are certainly open to discussion on this issue in public at any time.

MISA Report from Bruce Spaman: Final Decision on 121 Trees Posted for Removal

NOTICE OF FINAL DECISION OF THE TREE WARDEN REGARDING 121 TREES POSTED FOR REMOVAL FOR THE GREENWICH HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM AND MUSIC INSTRUCTION SPACE ADDITION

A public hearing was held on Tuesday May 24, 2011 at 12:00 for 121 trees posted for removal on the campus grounds of Greenwich High School (GHS) for the Greenwich High School Auditorium and Music Instruction Space Addition (MISA) project. As required by Chapter 451, Section 23-59 of the Connecticut General Statutes, a public hearing was called because I had received an appeal objecting to the removal of these trees within ten days of their posting. The 121 trees were generally located on the east and west sides of the high school building with concentrations of trees proposed for removal in or adjacent to the North and South Parking Lots.

The tree diameters range from 4 inches to 32 inches. The tree species and number of trees posted are listed below. Tree heights were estimated to be upwards to 80 – 90 feet. Tree removals in four naturally vegetated areas amounts to clearcutting nearly an acre of trees and other vegetation.

Numerous votes and approvals were required from Municipal boards, commissions and agencies for this proposed project to progress. Those included the Board of Education, Board of Selectmen, the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Agency, the Board of Estimate and Taxation and the Representative Town Meeting. The project achieved all of the necessary approvals. The RTM vote was greater than a 2:1 approval (134-60-8).

Continue reading “MISA Report from Bruce Spaman: Final Decision on 121 Trees Posted for Removal”