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HomeNewsMamaroneck Town Board Adopts Controversial Tree Law

Mamaroneck Town Board Adopts Controversial Tree Law

 

Construction at Memorial Park, Town of Mamaroneck/Larchmont last March, that necessitated the removal of several Locust trees.

The Town of Mamaroneck Board adopted the controversial Town of Mamaroneck Tree Law by a vote of 5-0 Wednesday night, despite organized opposition by residents.

The law, scheduled to go into effect in about 90 days, will require residents to apply for a permit to take down healthy trees on their property that have a diameter of six inches or more.  There is no restriction in clearing trees for brand new construction on a vacant parcel, but there will be a limit on the number of trees that can be removed from a lot during any twelve-month period.  The limit will depend upon the size of the lot.

Town of Mamaroneck Board hearing Nov. 16, 2023 (photos: Jenny Geer

A petition signed by over 400 residents of the Town and the Village of Larchmont urged the Town Board to make further revisions to the draft Tree Law to ensure that it met the “stated Town goal of preserving the tree canopy, following the guidance of tree experts, and the model of strong tree laws in other Westchester municipalities such as Greenburgh.”

These recommendations included protecting mature trees with a diameter of 24″ or more, establishing clear criteria for homeowners considering tree removal and decreasing the maximum number of trees that may be cut down in any year. It is estimated the Town lost 7% of its tree canopy over the last several years.

In a packet of comments and petition signatures (signatures begin on page 60) that was submitted to the Board, residents also express the need to preserve and plant trees to stop flooding, address the climate crisis, modulate temperature, and support wildlife. Nor, they say, does it explicitly address the loss of the tree canopy in recent years.

Also included in the packet is a letter from the Town of Mamaroneck Sustainability Collaborative, which expresses disappointment the Board did not consult with them.

“(The Board) had clearly decided before the hearing.” says Jenny Geer of Larchmont/Mamaroneck Indivisible, a local grassroots group dedicated to promoting civic engagement.  “No acknowledgment was made of the comments made at the hearing, and afterward during the resident comments, when I asked them what I should tell the 400 people who signed the petition, they didn’t have an answer.”

The Memorial park playground in the Town lost 8 Locust trees last March during a renovation, enraging many local residents.  
    

One resident writes, “The proposed law is weaker than the current law, allows for unfettered tree removal, selective enforcement, and essentially ignores, rather than embraces, the science for the public good.  It was crafted behind closed doors, with minimal expert input, and without public input, even from the oft-offered support of the Town’s own Sustainability Collaborative.”

theLoop reached out to members of the Board for comment.

The Town response can be seen here.

Polly Kreisman
Polly Kreisman
Polly Kreisman founded and began publishing theLoop in 2007. She is a 15-time Emmy Award winning former television reporter. In New York she worked at WPIX TV, WWOR TV, WNBC TV and NY1. She covered politics on Capitol Hill in Washington DC earlier in her career. For the past several years she has pursued professional acting roles in film, television and commercials. She is the mother of twins and two baldly behaved dogs, and lives in Larchmont.

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Hearing attendee
Hearing attendee
November 17, 2023 10:21 AM

There were 4 people in that entire room of 60 people that wanted this asinine anti-environment law passed. Board members Abby, Jeffery, and Jaine the Supervisor, as well as the town attorney Bill Maker (who is not a Tree Law expert, yet, crafted the law). Robin (Board member) and Meredith (Administrator) sat there ashen-faced–they knew what was about to happen. 56 people who vehemently did not want this law. 400 more on a petition that was submitted. NO ONE WANTS THIS CRAPPY LAW! Yet, there we all stood like morons at the mercy of 3 board members, more stubborn than mules, intent on “progress” and obviously high on for limited power, pushing through a law, before their anti-tree faction loses power on January 20th when Abby is replaced by Anant. Its obvious. The Supervisor, Abby, and Jeffery should be ashamed and embarrassed. Really. They are pushing through a law 95% of their constituents DO NOT WANT. LIke, truly. Its not an exaggeration. What is going on?!!???

Town Resident
Town Resident
November 17, 2023 9:17 AM

One word: shameful. The deeper problem is that all members on this board ran unopposed, so they feel they can do what they want and don’t have to listen to the people they are supposed to represent. Next time we need a REAL choice. Hope there are some interested folks out there to challenge the incumbents at the next elections.

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