Tree Warden Issues Decision on 20 Trees in Binney Park

Bruce Spaman is retiring after 16-1/2 years at Greenwich Tree Warden but is working part time to finish projects with the town. Photo: Leslie Yager

On Tuesday afternoon Bruce Spaman, Greenwich Tree Warden, who has retired but is working part time to finish projects for the Town of Greenwich, issued his decision on the fate of 20 trees in Binney Park which which were the subject of a public hearing last week.

The trees were posted for removal in January. The hearing was triggered after numerous objections to their removal were filed. The hearing was originally scheduled during the February school vacation week, but Mr. Spaman rescheduled it for Feb 26 in order that more residents might be able to attend.

Spaman said the subject trees had been recommended to be removed in accordance with a master plan prepared by Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, LLC and submitted to the Town of Greenwich back in July 2015.

The plan was accepted by the Town of Greenwich Board of Parks and Recreation, the Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation
and the Board of Selectmen.

He noted that prior to the development of the plan for Binney Park several public facilitated ‘stakeholder’ meetings were held in Old Greenwich where residents were asked for their input.

“Regarding the landscape, it was determined that it was necessary to, ‘develop and implement a comprehensive planting plan, one that revives historic plantings, removes overgrown plants, and introduces salt-tolerant native plants,'” Spaman wrote.

However, Spaman said the Town will exercise some discretion as to species selection.

He also said the plan to move forward will be more gradually phased in over the next two to three years.

Toward that end he said,  “Based on my research of the circumstances associated with these trees, and taking into account the concerns of parties present at the public hearing and correspondence received, my decision is not to remove all of the 20 trees as the proposed but to gradually phase in the tree removals over the next two to three years and require the immediate replacement of any trees removed with tree species tolerant of a wet environment,” Spaman wrote in his decision.

He added that trees recommended for removal because of their proximity to areas with future plans for formal gardens or plantings shall only be removed when final plans for those plantings have been properly vetted and approved by the Dept of Parks and Recreation and the Board of Parks and Recreation.

A tree by tree listing of trees to be removed:

1. Crabapple; to be removed only when plans for the formal garden is approved and funded.
2. Crabapple; to be removed only when plans for the formal garden is approved and funded.
3. Crabapple; to be removed only when plans for the formal garden is approved and funded.
4. Sugar Maple; to be removed only when plans for the formal garden is approved and funded.
5. Crabapple; to be removed in Spring 2019 and immediately replaced with an ornamental tree tolerant of a wet environment.
6. Crabapple; to be removed in either 2020 or 2021 and immediately replaced with an ornamental tree tolerant of a wet environment, timing subject to approval by the Tree Warden.
7. Crabapple; to be removed in Spring 2019 and immediately replaced with an ornamental tree tolerant of a wet environment.
8. Crabapple; to be removed in either 2020 or 2021 and immediately replaced with an ornamental tree tolerant of a wet environment, timing subject to approval by the Tree Warden.
9. Dogwood; remove in Spring 2019 replace immediately.
10. Crabapple; to be removed only when plans for the formal garden is approved and funded.
11. Crabapple; to be removed only when plans for the formal garden is approved and funded.
12. Crabapple; to be removed in Spring 2019 and immediately replaced with a shade tree tolerant of a wet environment.
13. Crabapple; to be removed in either 2020 or 2021 and immediately replaced with a shade tree tolerant of a wet environment, timing subject to approval by the Tree Warden.
14. Crabapple; to be removed in Spring 2019 and immediately replaced with a shade tree tolerant of a wet environment.
15. Crabapple; to be removed in either 2020 or 2021 and immediately replaced with an ornamental tree tolerant of a wet environment; timing subject to approval by the Tree Warden.
16. Crabapple; to be removed in Spring 2019 and immediately replaced with a shade tree tolerant of a wet environment.
17. Crabapple; to be removed in either 2020 or 2021 and immediately replaced with an ornamental tree tolerant of a wet environment; timing subject to approval the Tree Warden.
18. Crabapple; to be removed in Spring 2019 and immediately replaced with a shade tree tolerant of a wet environment.
19. Red Cedar; NOT to be removed at this time, (Note: there is a pending proposed replacement bridge design and construction which may impact this tree in the future).
20. Hemlock; remove Spring 2019 due to poor condition.

It is further noted that seven (7) additional shade trees, tolerant of a wet environment, will be planted in the Spring or Summer of 2019 along the Park Road from the position of tree # 18 north to the tennis courts.

Spaman wrote that his decision is final. Any party aggrieved by the decision may, within 10 days, appeal to the superior court.

“I would like to thank all the residents and the Town administration for the opportunity to serve as your Tree Warden and Superintendent of Parks for the past 16-1/2 years,” Spaman said.

See also:

Upset Binney Park Neighbors Vocal on Fate of 20 Trees, Mostly Crab Apples