“If we plant 7-10 foot American Elms, in five years, they’ll look glorious.”
Responding to our story about the efforts of a local woman to halt the replacement of trees in the Streetscape project, Larchmont Mayor Anne McAndrews described being “caught between a rock and a hard place,” after the contractor was fired “for not doing their job,” leaving the Village’s Palmer district looking desolate of vegetation until the situation is resolved.
The $1.36 million contract included replacing 4,000 square feet of sidewalk, planting trees and installing benches and lampposts.
McAndrews says Monica Hoffmann was upset because she feared a Norway Maple planted by her grandfather would be chopped down.
The tree stands in front of a 3 story office building owned and built by Hoffmann’s family at 1890 Palmer Avenue. McAndrews says she told Hoffmann an arborist hired by the Village said it was suffering from “girdling root” and might have to be replaced, but it would be replaced with a disease resistant American Elm, a tree the Village is considering for the 35 trees it intends to plant once the contractor dispute is settled.
Hoffmann insists, “It is untrue that the trees are unhealthy (or) diseased. A couple trees just need pruning….Anne pretends she cares and she makes promises only to retract them later.”
“I promised her on a stack of bibles that I wouldn’t cut down her Grandfather’s tree and I would even put up a plaque for him,” McAndrews said, and we would continue to monitor it. If it’s diseased, we have to replace it.”
But Hoffmann says she has a petition with 3000 signatures from people “who want to save the trees,” and she has filed Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for any documentation the 29 trees the Village was replacing were diseased.
“These were conversations with Arborists,” the Mayor said. “There was nothing to FOI. We showed her all kinds of other stuff, but she wasn’t satisfied.”
The Streetscape Project has been controversial almost from the start. The Pine Brook playground was filled with construction equipment for several months this spring, angering residents.
“We are working hard with Arborists and a Landscape Architect to find the best trees to survive in this suburban environment, that won’t have to be hacked back 10 feet every time Con Ed comes in. If we plant 7-10 foot American Elms, in five years, they’ll look glorious.”
AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR MAYOR
Dear Ms. McAndrews,
I have been a resident of Larchmont since 1967. The town has grown in great ways since then, but the last 10 years or so have been very disappointing – I have great concern to the condition, planning (or the lack thereof) and leadership (once again, or the lack thereof) of the village of Larchmont.
Since the departure of Renaissance Bakery and the incoming of a real estate office in that space, our town has become a mix of real estate offices, banks and vacant storefronts with a sprinkling of necessary and specialty shops and restaurants – rather than the reverse of a sprinkling of real estate offices, banks and vacant store fronts.
Personally, I am tired of hearing of the firing of contractors hired for projects. The Weaver Street bridge apparently went through 3 contractors. The sidewalk project while incurring the same had absolutely horrible planning. To hear the you are now “between a rock and a hard place” evokes NO sympathy from me – who planned, supervised and hired contractors for these projects? There is obviously lack of all these important aspects with most projects and nothing is getting done – our town looks disheveled and has stood still for years.
A proper plan would have originally incorporated burring power lines and planning to do so with Con Ed in advance – as the towns of Mamaroneck and City of New Rochelle had done years ago. That plan would allow to save certain trees plant others and upgrade our sidewalks in a progression that would be efficient and provide the condition long overdue to our village. To simply start cutting down trees without such a plan or supervision has left our town in terrible condition for years. Trees have been cut down years ago and never replaced. Larch trees from which the name Larchmont is derived. There are dozens of tree beds in the sidewalks covered randomly with unsightly black top, concrete or simply weeds and dirt.
The notion we don’t have the finances to bury the lines is unconscionable. The taxes paid by the residents in the Manor alone make me question how funds are appropriated. The lopsided relationship between the Town of Mamaroneck and the Village of Larchmont resembles that of a sibling and step brother or sister. How they are not better involved (as they clearly have surpassed Larchmont in all these deficiencies) is a poor example of your leadership as well.
How can you expect to lure businesses to this town in it’s current and continual decline? How do you allow a Verizon store to keep a vinyl banner as signage for well over two years? Where is the hands on leadership, planning and supervision to governing our town and growing it for it’s residents and businesses.
Ms. Mayor, I have no sympathy for you, nor the position you are in – only those long time, new and prospective Larchmont residents. You are clearly over your head and have equally inept colleagues along side you. Like many of the residents here, you should be especially embarrassed as to the condition of our once, special, charming and sought-after.
I truly hope before any plans are made or executed they include the modernization (burring power lines) and beautification (tree and sidewalk preservation) of our village…
I am not a resident of Larchmont, but a long-time business owner (PDQ Mail Plus). Since the issue of burying power lines seems to be the financial cost of the project – including moving the cables going into each building from above ground to below ground, my only concern would be if landlords are forced to pass along these costs to the businesses. If cost were not a factor, I doubt that anyone would have a problem with burying power lines.
Regarding the trees that were cut below the wires, there are 2 trees alongside my business that were cut back early this summer. Both trees seemed to be healthy, but both were causing significant sidewalk problems – pushing up the sidewalk and making walking hazardous. If the trees were left alone, this same problem would develop with the new sidewalk, and ruin the effect of the entire project.
It makes absolutely no sense to plant new trees unless the power lines are buried in Larchmont. The utility companies will continue to hack the trees as they currently do, and any new trees will inevitably be cut awkwardly when they grow to size and reach the lines. The decision now to bury the lines will have a positive impact on the town for years to come. Not only aesthetically, but also by preventing power outages. With more and more frequent storms occurring that is important. Let’s face it, the poles and lines are an eye-sore in an otherwise beautiful town. And they always take priority over the trees. Leaving the lines above ground is short sighted. We had the chance to bury the lines by the Post Road section of town when the sidewalks were rebuilt a few years back, but chose not to. Now, we have the opportunity to make the right decision on the Palmer section of town. Now is the time! Especially since the work has stopped and given us another opportunity to reflect on the long term. Burying the lines will mean better sidewalks, better views of the storefronts, better health and visual impact of the trees, better safety, and a better chance of keeping power on during storms. All leading to a better downtown and business climate. Just look at the other towns around us who had a long term vision. It is 2013, not 1913. Bury the lines and the trees will flourish, as will the town.
Since Con Edison’s cost to Larchmont for burying wires is excessive and unaffordable, perhaps this is the time to organize and push for a fair cost.
The amount of annual revenue to Con Edison from Larchmont residents must be staggering. It is said that Con Edison’s charges are the highest in the country. Certainly they can afford to bury wires, saving themselves maintenance costs, for an affordable fee.
The matter might be presented to the NY State Public Service Commission, the governor…