Arboriculture main concern of Roslyn Estates Board of Trustees in latest meeting

The Island Now
The Roslyn Estates Board of Trustees at their Monday evening meeting. (Photo by Maylan L. Studart)

By Maylan L. Studart

The Roslyn Estates Board of Trustees meeting on Monday began with a nearly 10-minute speech from Trustee Brett Auerbach about what he said was excessive land clearing by Dianas Trail and South Branch roads.

“I think it’s atrocious what went over there, and the amount of land clearing and the idea that it was for a line-of-sight for a stop sign is completely unfounded,” said Auerbach.

He was animated about what he said is 30 feet of cleared land. Auerbach said that now instead of gullies and natural growth, there are “probably 100 yards of woodchips” on the ground.

The board convened to pass two local laws and discuss budgetary items and government business. However, what took most of the discussion time was trees.

“I think we need to make a motion, put money aside, bring someone in and restore it the way it was, because the way it looks today, I think we did this village a great injustice,” said Auerbach. He said the location now is visual pollution, and because the area is a village entry point, it needs to be addressed.

Roslyn Estates Mayor Paul Leone Peters made a motion to have it in the minutes and the board will revisit the issue in the spring.

A $6,000 cleanup of The Fenway is also underway. Peters said some residents were concerned about some trees being removed, but said people were conflating foliage with trees.

Village Commissioner of Public Works John DiStefano said: “There were saplings here and there. We cut some of those out and the rest was mostly weeds and a lot of broken, fallen trees.”

DiStefano said there is dredging left to do in the cleanup, which should be completed by springtime.

Also on the agenda were the annual tree removal and pruning, flooding on The Dogwoods and winter preparedness.

About 17 trees are being marked with yellow tape to be removed following the advice of an arborist hired by the village. The annual tree removal also caused another passionate discussion.

“Didn’t we remove like 30 trees last year?” asked Trustee Stephen Fox.

Village Clerk and Treasurer Michael P. Tomicich said last year about 22 trees were removed with no replanting money in the budget in the last two years, a serious concern of Fox. Fox said he wants replanting to be included in the budget this year so no more planting seasons are skipped. The board discussed getting input from the arborist for replanting.

Flooding on The Dogwoods was corrected by putting in a wider pipe.

“By increasing the diameter by one inch, it more than doubled the capacity and it seems to be working,” Peters said. “We haven’t had any flooding at all.”

Two local bills were brought up, but only one passed. The new law in the books is a village code amendment on appearance tickets. It gives the mayor the power to appoint anyone of his choosing to enforce the village code.

“The mayor is the boss of the employees of the village,” said village Attorney Chris Prior. “If there’s a shift of personnel in the middle of the month, he can designate employees.”

Prior said the mayor could appoint a trustee to enforce the code for violations without permission from anyone.

The bill that did not pass is an amendment to the village code to redefine the word “tree” to include dead trees in private property tree regulations, subjecting them to permits for removal and requiring that they be replaced.

Fox said he is still gathering input from neighboring town officials and residents on the matter and a draft bill should be on the agenda after Thanksgiving. He said he has not had negative input from residents so far.

Regarding winter preparedness, Mayor Peters said all the equipment is in great shape and personnel are ready to go.

“We did a heck of a lot better than New York City,” he said about the early snow that hit the tristate area on Nov. 8.

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