Sunday, August 30, 2009
Treeless Tree City?
For many years, Bloomfield has been praised as one of the most prominent Tree Cities in New Jersey. This image has been tarnished in the past 2 weeks by the rapid cutting of about a dozen of it's older trees on Broad St Between Bay and Haines. Apparently no one in Bloomfield was notified in advance -- not even the town Forester or Council. Since the trees are all located inside the sidewalk line, County spokesperson initially told me that they couldn't have done it since they "had no jurisdiction". Bloomfield's 2nd Ward Councilman and environmental advocate was finally able to reach someone familiar with "The Project" and received an email late Friday: "...the decision to take down a County tree is made solely by our Arborist, Dennis Beury. I was informed that 12 trees were removed in total and that our right of way is 66 Ft along Broad Street. I believe Dennis will be sending you a comprehensive list of our removals along with an explanation for each on Monday."
The explanation is expected to be that they may have been diseased. Among the questions that remain unanswered are: 1) Is this a contagious disease that is affecting nearby trees not under Essex County jurisdiction? 2) What types of trees are still vulnerable? 3) Why wasn't Bloomfield's Forester consulted? 4) Will this have a negative effect on property values in affected areas? 5) At what point will we lose our Tree City designation? Stay tuned...
Monday morning update:
The Essex Couny Director of Roads & Transportation, Sal Macaluso, called me this morning with some clarifications in leu of the Arborist's report. He wasn't certain all 12 were diseased, but they were "compromised" in ways that threatened to eventually fall on Broad St. Plans are to replace them next spring with 50 - 75 smaller trees. BTW, Essex County's jurisdiction on county roads is 75 feet from across the road. So if the road is 60 feet wide, they can go 12.5 from the curb.