Readers Write: Dunning, Yakaitis get Munsey Park tree question right


While each of the four people running for trustee in Munsey Park Village on March 20, 2018 are good decent and thoughtful people, only two of them have shown they are correct on the “Village Trees next to the street question:” Brian Dunning and Nathy Yakaitis.

What is the “Village Trees next to the street question”?

If you live in Munsey Park and there is a tree, including the massive trees planted long ago by the Villages, in the “approximately 12 feet” next to the street in front of your house, the present administration of the village, in a change policy from the last administration, takes the position that you, the homeowner, must maintain it or pay for chopping it up, should it become diseased or fall down. (Except on Park Avenue and Manhasset Woods Road, where the village has fairly recently agreed to maintain them.)

That position on homeowner responsibility is legally wrong.

If a Munsey Park homeowner looks at his or her survey, it shows that the “approximately 12 feet” next to the street does not belong to the homeowner.

That “approximately 12 feet” belongs to the village for possible other uses including road widening, gas pipes or whatever.

Further, there is a specific ordinance that forbids the homeowner from planting anything there.

How can such a homeowner be made to pay directly for the maintenance of trees it does not own? On land it does not own?

The prior village administration recognized this fact and included in its budget money for a proper tree maintenance and pruning policy. Not only is such a policy legally correct but it is the proper governmental policy.

Do we really want individual homeowners deciding whether a tree should have a limb in the approximately 12 feet next to the street cut-off and then applying for a permit to trim or cut it down? And for a tree on village land?

These trees, which overhang where people, including children, walk need a collective and professional approach to trimming and maintenance.

Anything else is dangerous. And if the village decides to cut it down or trim it, why should the adjoining homeowner be billed for it?

Now to be fair to the current village administration: The village has recently come round to being responsible for the trees on Manhasset Woods Road and Park Avenue.

The mayor and voard have listened to me argue my position over recent meetings in a respectful and polite way. I think their present position is that they need further time to consider the correctness and costs of reinstituting the old policy.

However, with all due respect, I think the time has come, or very shortly should come, for a “Yes” or “No” answer on reinstituting the old policy whereby the Village is responsible for trees in the approximately 12 feet near to the street.

I do know that two of the trustee candidates, Brian Dunning and Nathy Yakaitis are for reinstituting the old policy whereby the Village is responsible for these trees.

Mrs. Noone has been a “further study” advocate on this question. I do not know the position of the other candidate who is running for trustee, Mr. Anthony Sabino.

I submit this letter leaving time for contrary views to be expressed in this newspaper before the next election.

Also in the interests of full disclosure, I have two “village trees” in front of our house.

James H. McGivney

Munsey Park

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