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).

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