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Urgent Tree Alert – 121 Northwestern Avenue

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

I was out enjoying this beautiful afternoon today when I came across evidence of serious risk to several City trees at 121 Northwestern, and plans under discussion to remove a City tree that the developer had agreed to protect.

The issues seem to be twofold:

  1. A bur oak planted in the median by the City several years ago has been seriously undercut by the excavation of a service connection. It will be further affected by a second service being put in tomorrow (according to workers at the site). Immediate action is needed to save this tree, which was planted in part to replace the 156 year old bur oak cut down at 224 Northwestern. That travesty had prompted community outrage and much protest about infill development and its impacts on mature trees. It is unfortunate that the positive tree planting gesture by the City is now at risk.

  2. The American basswood on the property at 121 Northwestern has been impacted by large amounts of rubble from the excavation and poor trimming of the tree. Apparently, the property owner is considering or planning to remove it despite having negotiated retention of the tree with the Community Association during the process of seeking approvals for minor variances. It once again shows that tree protection is “offered” to communities as an incentive to support otherwise objectionable site plans and variances at Committee of Adjustment, agreements then discarded when no longer convenient.

The City’s Forestry Services is now aware of this urgent situation, and plans to investigate tomorrow. Good for them for being prompt. It remains to be seen, however, whether the trees can be saved and what consequences, if any, will be borne by the property owner. --Daniel Buckles


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