Friday, 23 December 2011 00:00
Recently, I and my neighbors on Hilltop Road received a letter from the Village of Baxter Estates informing us that over a dozen mature trees lining our street were going to be cut down “for public safety.” There was no explanation of how our safety was at risk, or why such a drastic action was required. Calling and emailing Village Hall to get a more complete understanding has yielded no explanation.
I and my neighbors want to understand why these trees must be removed.
We want to know whether an arborist has determined that there is no viable alternative.
We want to know whether comparable trees or puny saplings will be planted in their stead.
We want to know whether our street will be lined with stumps.
We want a public hearing where these and other questions will be answered before any action is taken.
Last year, TREE-1-1, a peninsula-wide protocol for providing notice and an opportunity for the public to be heard before street trees are cut down was agreed to. The protocol can be side stepped when the public safety is at risk. So what do village officials do? Cite “public safety” and forego the TREE-1-1 protocol. This is unacceptable. We deserve better. We deserve a full explanation and an opportunity to comment at a public meeting.