Greenwich Tree Warden Rules on Sunshine Ave 50-Inch Diameter White Oak

A virtual Public Hearing was held last Thursday on the fate of several trees posted for removal including a Red Maple at 28 Hassake Road, a Japanese Lilac at 12 Morgan Avenue, a White Oak at 15 Sunshine Ave and two Red Maple trees at 19 Sunshine Avenue.

As required by Chapter 451, Section 23-59 of the CT General Statutes, the public hearing was called because people filed objections to the removal of the trees within ten days of their posting.

28 Hassake. May 8, 2020. Photo: Leslie Yager

Tree Warden Dr. Gregory Kramer wrote in his decision on Tuesday that the 28″ trunk diameter Red Maple (Acer rubrum) at 28 Hassake Road will not be removed.

“The contractor should use the existing curb cut as the driveway access point leading to the residence,” Kramer wrote.

12 Morgan Ave is posted for demolition. The owner wants to remove a town tree, a Lilac. May 9, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

A Japanese Lilac on Morgan Ave will not be spared.

“It is my decision and have concluded that the 12-inch trunk diameter Japanese Lilac tree (Syringa reticulata) at 12 Morgan Ave is approved for removal,” Kramer wrote.

However, he said, “Removal will only be granted with the agreement that the contractor will provide three new 2-inch caliper native tree species. One tree will be planted back at 12 Morgan Avenue, and the other two trees at the discretion of the Tree Warden along on Morgan Avenue.”

Massive White Oak tree at 15 Sunshine Ave is posted for removal because the sidewalk DPW created is narrow. Photo: Leslie Yager

The Greenwich Dept of Public Works created a narrow sidewalk around a large White Oak tree at 15 Sunshine Ave. Photo: Leslie Yager

The tree that drew an outpouring of public comments was a White Oak 50-inch trunk diameter White Oak (Quercus alba) at 15 Sunshine Ave.

James Michel, Deputy Commissioner of Public Works, said on Thursday that the request to remove the tree came, “as part of the sidewalk replacement project we were doing along Sunshine Ave.”

But neighbors quickly pointed out the sidewalks were done before the tree was posted for removal.

“We don’t have enough space to fit both the sidewalk and the tree,” Mr. Michel explained. “We have 21 inches (wide sidewalk) and need at least 32 inches.”

“Moms who push strollers or walking a small child hand-in-hand, you take up more space than 32 inches,” he added.

Alan Gunzburg, Chairman of the First Selectman’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, said the sidewalk was not built for everyone.

“It goes against the ADA, which is a federal law,” he said.

Kramer, in his decision said the the large White Oak will not be removed.

He said the town must find a compromise that spares the tree and meets the community’s ADA needs.

“I suggest that collectively the Town of Greenwich Dept of Public Works, Parks and Recreation Dept/Tree Division, landscape architects, and experts in the field of tree preservation and landscape restoration continue the conversation and develop plans that will meet the needs of preserving the White Oak in a healthy and sustainable manner, while meeting the ADA needs of the community.” – Dr. Gregory Kramer on the fate of a White Oak Tree at 15 Sunshine Ave

Lastly, Kramer ruled that the two Red Maples (Acer rubrum) of 26-inch trunk diameter and of 24-inch trunk diameter at 19 Sunshine Ave will not be removed. He noted that the “new sidewalk and curbing has already been installed.”

“This is the final decision of the Tree Warden of the Town of Greenwich,” Kramer wrote.

See also:

Zoom Meeting Draws Eager Support for Town Trees Marked for Removal