Letter: Tree removal along Chestnut Street was wrong

Posted 5/28/20

Bristol’s shade trees lining town streets contribute significantly to the attractiveness and natural beauty of our town. They are, of course, the reason why Bristol has been named an Arbor Day …

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Letter: Tree removal along Chestnut Street was wrong

Posted

Bristol’s shade trees lining town streets contribute significantly to the attractiveness and natural beauty of our town. They are, of course, the reason why Bristol has been named an Arbor Day Foundation “Tree City USA Community” for 18 years running.

It is because of the intrinsic value and beauty of our trees that I am dismayed by the recent removal of multiple mature shade trees along Chestnut Street by Benjamin Church Manor.  These trees are owned by the town and subject to town ordinance protecting such trees.

Was the tree removal conducted by Benjamin Church intended to enhance the visual appeal of the grounds at the property? I can’t imagine how that could be the case. Tall, sturdy trees collectively creating a pleasing green canopy being replaced by run-of-the mill ground shrubs, grass seed, and a few, sparse ornamental plantings? An improvement? Not in my book. Not in this town’s book, either.

Bristol’s 2016 Comprehensive Community Plan cites “mature street trees” as a scenic resource. The Plan includes a policy to “increase and maintain the forest cover by 25% by the year 2020” in order to “protect Bristol’s natural landscape and resources for present and future generations.” The removal of mature shade trees certainly does not align with the policy to achieve the stated goal.

In looking at the stumps remaining in the ground, it’s easy to see the trees were healthy with no signs of disease or structural deterioration. There was no good reason for their removal, let alone as part of a supposed property improvement project inconsistent with the town’s Comprehensive Community Plan.

Bristol’s Tree Ordinance (Chapter 25, Article II) states that all work on trees within the public right-of-way (such as the majority of those cut at Benjamin Church) must be supervised by the town Tree Warden, and under advisement provided by the Conservation Commission. I am left wondering if either of these parties were even notified of the work.

There’s now not much left of the mature shade trees along this section of Chestnut Street, but there are a few. Let’s see if we can ensure at least those ones are preserved.

Pete Harley
Bristol

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