Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 08 May 2013 09:08
Resident outcry poured in after eight Sycamore/London Plane trees were cut down on Roslyn Road between Raff and Jefferson Avenue last week. Mineola and LIPA officials said new “wire-friendly” trees would be planted in their place.
Traffic lanes were reset to one lane in each direction. The trees marked for cut-down were said to be rotted from the inside, making them vulnerable to severe weather.
Last August, Mineola was rocked by a storm that created heavily flooded streets, downed power lines and uprooted trees. A home on Roslyn Road was damaged during the storm. One of the trees cut down last week was in front of the residence.
Roslyn Road resident Michelle Dos Santos told the Mineola American last year she was with her two children when the August storm hit. They had just returned home as a tree fell onto their roof.
“That tree(s) had been in bad shape,” Dos Santos said. “We have been complaining about it for a while.”
Roslyn Heights arborist Richard Oberlander feels otherwise. He said he examined the trees on Roslyn Road and feels they should be preserved.
“It is impossible to determine whether there is a scientific case to be made for removing [the trees] for safety reasons,” he stated, affirming his stance against tree removal.
East Hills resident Richard Brummel, who protested the tree removal, circulated a letter around Mineola last week to advocate saving the trees and obtained 18 signatures, but none from Roslyn Road.
“I know Mineola residents don’t want to unnecessarily lose beautiful old trees -- they told me so when I circulated a petition in February. These trees are healthy and strong, according to a certified arborist. They need to be left alone,” Brummel said.
Peter Samuel of Roslyn Road has two old trees in front of his home. While he does not want trees cut down, he’s afraid for his family’s safety.
“I’m not against trees,” he said. “I want them to grow, but these two trees in front of my house have big holes in the middle of them and they could fall any time. We’re very scared during storms. A couple branches have fallen. Every year, I pay about $250 to clear the sewer line because the roots of trees reach into the sewer line.”
Brummel claimed Mineola is not serving its residents. Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said public safety was the chief concern.
Addressing Brummel, Strauss said “please do not stand there and come from East Hills and tell me I’m not serving my residents properly.”
Raff Avenue resident Laura Real was concerned of area resident input. She’s lived on Raff her entire life and estimated the trees were at least 50 years old.
“I’m am shocked and deeply saddened at the loss of the number of stately Sycamore trees that stood on Roslyn Road,” she said.
Real wanted to know the thinking factored into the trees’ removal.
“Two trees came down during the storm back in August,” Strauss said. “It made certain residents in that area to be concerned about the trees. One tree just narrowly missed a family as they were going into the house. We had those trees evaluated by [Mineola] as well as an arborist from LIPA and they concluded those trees needed to be removed.”
Real claimed she too collected signatures of residents who were against the cut-downs. She said while some wanted trees cut down, others supported preservation.
“It seems there’s no communication of what’s going on,” stated Real. “Maybe someone needs to let us know what’s going on.”
“There’s plenty of communication going on with the people who are affected by those trees and have them in front of their homes,” said Strauss. “I don’t see the point of asking someone who lives two or three blocks away to weigh in on a decision that affects another road.”