Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hearing on Wallingford tree removal set for Friday

As published in the Record Journal, Tuesday, July 16, 2013

By Andrew Ragali
Record-Journal staff        
(203) 317-2224       

WALLINGFORD — A public hearing regarding the removal of trees on Quinnipiac Street will be held at Town Hall on Friday, according to a notice posted on the town’s website.

The town has announced plans to replace 28 trees on Quinnipiac Street, between Washington Street and Route 5. Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said the plan is to continue replacing trees moving up Center Street to Main Street. There are 40 trees lining Center Street between Route 5 and Main Street. There is a mixture of pear and oak trees planted in the downtown area. They were planted as part of the town’s streetscape improvement program in the mid-1990s.

Friday’s hearing, to be held at 4 p.m. in council chambers, is strictly “for the purpose of tree removal on Quinnipiac Street from Washington Street to Route 5,” the notice states.

Last week, Public Works Director Henry McCully, who is the town’s tree warden, said a public hearing on the subject “is the proper procedure” according to state statute.

The trees planted downtown are supposed to be replaced every so often, he said.

“They are not the types of trees you expect to be here a hundred years from now,” he said.

After the hearing, McCully said he will make his final decision whether to proceed with the replacement program. It will cost the town an estimated $15,000 to follow through with the replacement of trees downtown, he said.

“If people want to object, I will take all of their objections into consideration,” Mc-Cully said. “I’ll make a final decision based on their consideration.”

Tonight’s Town Council meeting will include a discussion on downtown tree removal, prompted by Town Councilor Nick Economopoulos. The meeting will be held in council chambers at 6:30 p.m.

In his July 1 email request to have the discussion placed on the meeting’s agenda, Economopoulos asked Town Council Chairman Bob Parisi that an update on “the entire place for all ornamental tree replacements” be provided by McCully. Economopoulos requested that schematics and locations be provided for tree removal. He asked for the types of trees being removed, as well as the types of trees that will replace them. Also, he requested “the past ten years of cost annually for the licensed arborist to prune the entire streetscape area ...”

“Also please include the future plans of these trees long term,” Economopoulos wrote.

In response to the councilor’s request, McCully wrote a memo to Dickinson on July 8 stating that the plan for tree removal “is to address all trees in the downtown and uptown areas during the next two years.”

McCully said in the memo that the trees to be removed on Quinnipiac are Capital Callery pears. The types of trees to replace them “are still to be determined,” he wrote. In regards to the cost for an arborist, McCully said an arborist was not used. The long term plan for downtown trees is “maintenance as needed,” McCully said.

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