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Letter: Manmade Disaster: 225 Eyesore Tree Stumps

(Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to the Manhasset Press, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilwoman Anna Kaplan.) 


Thank you for the informative article and, more importantly, for highlighting the issue of the mass cutting of all of the flowering trees along both Shelter Rock Road and Searingtown Road on the front cover of the March 29 Manhasset Press. This subject has been of concern to our family as well as to many members of the Manhasset community. With no information coming from our town/local officials, we are all dumbfounded how something as egregious as this could happen. 


This weekend I counted a total of approximately 225 trees that were cut down on both Shelter Rock and Searingtown Roads. That is a shocking number of trees destroyed, especially in a community that prides itself in, and has strict laws protecting, its trees. As you correctly pointed out in the article, these trees were one of the things that gave our community a unique character, especially this time of year when they were in full bloom. They surely will be missed.


As we all know, there was no doubt some trees that were harmed beyond repair during Superstorm Sandy had to be cut down. However, I think it is equally clear that not all of the trees lining both sides of these road were in such a state of disrepair or harmful to power lines that they had to be completely cut down. It is important to re-emphasize the point made in the article that the power lines on both roads only run on one side, and the trees were cut down on both sides.


When you consider this fact, coupled with the issues raised in the article about the payment per tree nature of the contract and the lack of any supervision by county officials, it suggests the distinct possibility that a profit motive on the part of the contractor could have been the motivating factor behind why all the trees were indiscriminately and completely cut down.


Could some of the 225 trees not have been pruned or trimmed, but had to be completely cut down?


At this point the community is left with 225 eyesore tree stumps and lots of questions. I believe it is imperative that our town/local officials do a thorough investigation of why this happened and report back to the community the results, along with what restitution will be made to plant new trees to replace the ones that were cut down. 


Please keep on top of this issue as many of your readers are highly interested in further details on this subject. I hope our officials use this newspaper as well as public forums to provide further details and updates to the community on replacing the trees on both roads and returning a unique character of our community.


Walter J. Winnitzki