Ceriales: Tree Warden Needs More Clout

When it comes to cutting down trees, Westporters seem to fall into 2 camps.

One side is opposed. Neighbors and residents want laws, lawsuits — anything to prevent developers from clear-cutting land to build new homes.

The other side counters that private property is just that: private property. If you want to save some trees, they say, then buy the land yourself.

John Ceriale thinks there is a third way.

He has skin in the game. He and his wife Melissa own almost 10 magnificent acres on Prospect Road. They’ve spent 25 years building beautiful gardens and, most recently, a meadow on their land. They’ve created one of Westport’s most gorgeous streetscapes, and they enjoy sharing it with all of us.

Pyramid grasses on Prospect Road. (Photo/Cindy Shumate)

They’ve also watched helplessly as a neighbor behind them clear cut his property. In response, the Ceriales planted 19 trees at the edge of their land to block out a towering new home. That’s not a practical solution for most neighboring.

“I’m not a tree hugger,” John says. “I don’t want to save every tree. Developers and new home buyers do have rights. But clear-cutting land with 60- and 70-year-old trees?

“Let’s talk about deer. They run rampant. No one talks about euthanizing them. Yet we cut these magnificent old trees without a second thought.”

John likens clear-cutting to other projects. “I can’t build a tennis court that would send water onto my neighbor’s property. But clear-cutting can do the same thing. Trees are beautiful. And they also have an environmental and community impact.”

Looking northeast, on the Ceriales’ property. (Photo/Cindy Shumate)

With homes in other parts of the country, John sees how they — and other communities — handle trees. Aspen regulates every tree. The size of every tree that is removed is calculated. Replacements must be planted. In Palm Beach, certain species are catalogued and governed. Permits are required in both places.

In Westport, by contrast, “we look at trees as expendable.”

Part of the problem, he says, is that the tree warden is responsible only for trees on town roads or grounds. He has no control over trees on private property. A Tree Board works with the tree warden, but is similarly restricted to only public land.

John would like to see regulations changed, to give the tree warden more clout. Reiterating the rights of property owners and developers, John says a tree warden and board “can’t be draconian. But no one should be able to strip everything away, either.”

The Prospect Road meadow. Trees and grasses work harmoniously, aesthetically and environmentally. (Photo/Cindy Shumate)

He’d also like to see the tree warden emphasize the important of hardwoods. “Everyone plants maples, because they’re the least expensive. No one is planting oaks, hickories or elms. They’re great trees. We need to encourage that.

“Diversity, as we all know, is hugely important. Just like with the current pandemic, a disease in the maple species will wreak havoc throughout town, with massive impacts.

“We all must think bigger, and with more responsibility for the future of our town and neighbors.”

Westport would be a pioneer in that effort. Most lower Fairfield County towns do not have special tree ordinances, unless wetlands are involved. The only municipality in Connecticut that regulates trees on private property is Hartford (click here).

John and Melissa want to know what “06880” readers think. Click “Comments” below — and send them to OurWestportTrees@gmail.com. They’ll get in touch with you soon.

40 responses to “Ceriales: Tree Warden Needs More Clout

  1. I definitely support this. My main motivation is the impact that cutting down huge swaths of trees on surrounding properties have had on drainage on both my property and my parents property (they live in another part of westport than I). When we get rains such as we did last week my driveway has become a river, as has their road. This is alll a direct result of people cutting down trees, that used to soak up and divert water. There are many other reasons to support this idea, this is just the one at the forefront of my mind at this time

    • Werner Liepolt

      John Ceriale has proposed a valuable and thoughtful initiative that will benefit us all.

  2. I agree there has to be a better way. A local builder recently told me that it was too expensive to build smaller houses. At whose expense I wonder?

  3. Wendy Crowther

    I like this idea a lot.

  4. I feel a carefully drafted tree ordinance deserves serious consideration.
    To that end, I was disappointed, in the recent past, when the chair of the RTM Environment Committee failed to follow through on her publicly stated commitment to hold hearings with the intent of bringing such an ordinance forward. I also seem to recall seeing this very same subject listed as a discussion item on a Tree Board agenda some time maybe in the past year or so. I didn’t attend the meeting at issue so I have no idea what happened after that.

  5. Agree absolutely, there has to be a better way! Private rights are one thing, the public good is another. The twain must meet as it pertains to trees!

  6. Arnold M. Karp

    interesting how opinions change when its their own property. Save my neighbors tree but not my own.

  7. Matthew Mandell

    I cannot tell you how many times I have banged my head when I hear all the reasons why clear cutting a property is allowed. It’s all troublesome. The loss of habitat, the runoff, pollution etc… Larger trees should be regulated, gross amount of trees should be regulated. Often people can’t put in solar due to trees, that’s fine, but a new house built when a property has been denuded should have solar put into the equation. A plan for replacement of number and types of trees should be part of it as well. Of course there are property rights and we should respect that, but there should be some goals and sacrifices in the name of the environment and the character of our community.

  8. Trees give us erosion and flood control, cleaner air, lower A/C costs, sound buffering, food and habitat for wildlife, Not to mention the aesthetic benefits of the beauty and character they add to a neighborhood. Cutting down a majestic tree is an incalculable loss to both creatures and humans. But in Westport lately it seems to be ‘all about the Benjamins’ — cheaper construction of bigger houses. Let your RTM’s know that you care about this matter. A steady stream of requests to every RTM in town might put this back on the agenda again.

  9. Lawrence Robinson

    Clear cutting also unnecessarily deprives the trees of neighbors of
    protection from wind damage.

  10. All for it. I would like a sweeping tree ordinance that applies to both town and private properties. The logging of trees in an Urban forest known as Baron’s South was huge mistake that resulted in multiple CT State listed Notable Trees being destroyed.

    P&Z created street tree specs and regulations. However, we were unable to address clear cutting. Times have changed. P&Z should take another look using the Aspen and Hartford references rather than discussing the addition pickle ball courts and other facilities on land zoned passive open space.

    • Marci Caporizzo

      Please don’t hold our Tree Warden responsible for the Barons issue. He was hired as a ‘contractor’ by the Town and he reports to the Parks and Rec’s and not the P&Z. He was asked by the town to assess the Barons and went there with a licensed Arborist. The Barons property had not been ‘managed sustainably’ for perhaps since it was donated to the town. The only timber that was removed were those that were diseased, compromised, hangers, and invasive species. However now the younger saplings have the opportunity to garner sunlight and grow up as strong trees. Leaving a forest to it’s own takes years but eventually it will become overgrown and in the end unhealthy. I agree that we need to keep anything other than passive activities walking, bird watching, flora and fauna study to this location. If you want to voice your unhappiness go to the Parks and Rec’s department…it is not under the purview of the Tree Warden.

      I used to be a member of the Westport Tree Board. I left because I wanted to work at getting valuable information about our Urban Forest out to our Residents. The Tree Board does not have the bandwidth to do this…. If you are interested in helping with Tree education/outreach please contact me through e-mail at marcicap@sbcglobal.net. What would be of service to our community is a group that is dedicated to educating the folks about Trees and their importance to us all. I want to get this group up and running…we have a most beautiful town and keeping it that way requires many hands. Community education is a ‘good’ thing and not only involving adult residents but also our youth as they are the ones who stand to inherit what we leave them with. Please check my comment to the Ceriales below where I quote Diana Beresford-Kroeger. I would love to have folks like yourself join forces and we CAN make a difference in the community/world. Thanks

      • Catherine Walsh

        Hi Marci, Having been on P&Z for 13 years I watched the logging that took place, we’ll agree to disagree on what happened there.

        Talk to Dick Stein about the Notable and rare trees that were destroyed in the process.

        What you’re proposing is all good . Our overall tree canopy is substantially below state mandated requirements. Count me in. Thank you for leading the way.

  11. I totally agree. It breaks my heart to see the clear cutting. Aspetuck Land Trust advocates to plant oak trees in particular as they are the best tree to support a variety of wildlife, including butterflies and birds. Trees support our bird population which is on a decline. Don’t you love bird songs? Plant oaks or better yet, don’t cut them down. Someone needs to educate developers.

    • Marci Caporizzo

      Leigh…you are so right…. the oak is our most ancient tree species and it sequesters more ‘carbon’ than any other tree. I posted a comment below which outlines Diana Beresford-Kroeger’s ‘BIOPLAN’. Please check it out…

      I used to be a member of the Westport Tree Board. I left because I wanted to work at getting valuable information about our Urban Forest out to our Residents. The Tree Board does not have the bandwidth to do this…. If you are interested in helping with Tree education/outreach please contact me through e-mail at marcicap@sbcglobal.net. What would be of service to our community is a group that is dedicated to educating the folks about Trees and their importance to us all. I want to get this group up and running…we have a most beautiful town and keeping it that way requires many hands. Community education is a ‘good’ thing and not only involving adult residents but also our youth as they are the ones who stand to inherit what we leave them with. Please check my comment to the Ceriales below where I quote Diana Beresford-Kroeger. I would love to have folks like yourself join forces and we CAN make a difference in the community/world. Thanks

  12. Surprising because as I recall almost every town we lived in in Westchester required a permit for removing trees and it was no joke. For example, Rye Brook requires a replacement planting for a tree removed: https://storage.googleapis.com/proudcity/ryebrookny/uploads/2021/04/Tree-Removal-Permit-Application-2021.pdf

    INSTRUCTIONS & INFORMATION FOR A PERMIT FOR TREE REMOVAL:
    1. For further information refer to Village Code Section 235 available at http://www.ryebrook.org
    2. All trees requested for removal shall be marked with ribbon or string, in a non-harming fashion.
    3. All persons granted a Tree Removal Permit shall be required to replant a native noninvasive 2” to 2 ½” caliper tree on said
    property per code section 235-18. Species such as but not limited to Ash, Beech, Birch, Cedar, Cherry, Elm, Lilac, Maple,
    Oak, Poplar, White Oak, Zelkovas, etc. No Invasive trees such as Norway Maple and Black Locust. Ornamental trees may
    not be substituted.
    4. All stumps shall be removed as per code section 235-18. Location shall be top soiled and seeded with grass.
    5. Allow for 10 business days for processing of application.
    6. An appeal to a denial may be made in writing as per code section 235-14 within 30 days of decision.

    • Elaine Marino

      If a town such as Rye Brook can require planting of new trees to replace those cut down, why couldn’t Westport do this?

  13. Nancy Dodderidge

    I completely agree. We moved to Westport from a town in Connecticut where if you cut a tree down, you were required to replace it with another on your property. Seems like that should be at least the minimum. I am all for expanding the jurisdiction and authority of a regulator to oversee tree removal here.

  14. HOW ABOUT FINING ANYONE WHO CUTS DOWN A TREE WITHOUT APPROPRIATE PERMITTING AT LEAST $3,000

  15. Yes. We (RTM) have tried repeatedly to create and pass an ordinance but have been informed each time that “private property is private” and so this could not be done. The issues of pre-emption and municipal powers have come up several times recently – written clarification and guidelines about these matters must be provided by town/ state attorneys so we can proceed if possible in any way.

  16. And don’t forget, trees are needed as shelter for birds.

  17. Here we go again. Let’s give a handful of people the power to regulate everyone and let’s impose our own judgements, beliefs and biases on everyone else. Let’s act more like Palm Beach and Aspen, two of the most entitled communities on the planet with real estate prices that make Westport look cheap. Let’s emulate the most elitist, exclusive and self important communities and adopt their practices so that we can be just like them.

    There is absolutely no shortage of trees in Fairfield County. Please take a look at Google Maps or similar satellite images. We basically live in a dense forest with well spaced homes spotted throughout. We have massive power outages almost every storm because we believe that trees that hang over power lines and roads need to be protected. We have drivers injured and killed by falling branches and trees but thankfully, we don’t cut down the sacred trees. We also want to protect every sacred deer and their rights to reproduce like rats and so our streets are littered with deer carcasses from collisions with cars and we have some of the highest instances of Lyme disease in the country. Thankfully we have protected all of those precious deer.

    I love beautiful trees and our family spends a lot of time and money to do our best to care for the trees on our property. That is our choice. Our neighbors have their own right to do what they want to with their property and we should all have the tolerance to respect that. Tolerance is most important when it tolerates views and beliefs that are not your own…

    The concept of allowing a person or small group to determine how each property owner should curate their trees because we believe we have a tree shortage or that property owners don’t choose the right trees is insane. If builders could not cut down trees throughout our town’s history, there would be no Westport. There certainly would be no schools, ball fields, parks, downtown or other facilities for all of us to enjoy. Obviously, there would be no homes for us to live in either.

    I hope that we continue to be a town the respects the rights and views of others, even if they are not the same as our own. What John and Melissa Ceriale have done with their property is amazing and wonderful. At the same time, if we imposed that standard on all of our residents, the only people who could afford to live here would have second homes in Aspen and Palm Beach. I enjoy the broader range of people that today’s Westport has embraced.

    • Mr. Stone: do you also object to a small group of people imposing speed limits, no parking zones, land use regulations and building codes ? You seem close to a Libertarian argument here and that, Sir, is a true danger to the community.

    • Marci Caporizzo

      Rob…so right you are….we don’t need regulations imposed on one another. What we need is to impart education and let everyone make an ‘educated’ decision as to their choices. We are intelligent BE-ings and with our choices also comes consequences. Please google Diana Beresford-Kroeger….watch her CALL OF THE FOREST film for free if you are a Amazon Prime member or go to Earthplace on July 21’st for a viewing of the film.

      I used to be a member of the Westport Tree Board. I left because I wanted to work at getting valuable information about our Urban Forest out to our Residents. The Tree Board does not have the bandwidth to do this…. If you are interested in helping with Tree education/outreach please contact me through e-mail at marcicap@sbcglobal.net. What would be of service to our community is a group that is dedicated to educating the folks about Trees and their importance to us all. I want to get this group up and running…we have a most beautiful town and keeping it that way requires many hands. Community education is a ‘good’ thing and not only involving adult residents but also our youth as they are the ones who stand to inherit what we leave them with. Please check my comment to the Ceriales below where I quote Diana Beresford-Kroeger. I would love to have folks like yourself join forces and we CAN make a difference in the community/world. Thanks

  18. I couldn’t agree more with the comments on the value of older trees, especially hardwoods that provide valuable shade and habitat. Changing a property’s built environmental should not mean destroying the natural infrastructure. If you live, or work next to a clear cut lot, you know how disruptive it can be to the entire neighborhood ecosystem: plants, mice and birds, fireflies, squirrels and, yes, humans. Let’s add needed protections.

  19. Couldn’t agree more. Thank you John and Melissa

  20. I agree with many of the comments above. I lived in New Castle in the 1990’s and was part of the Conservation Board which proposed a Tree Ordinance. The Town Board in Chappaqua enacted the new law. But this is not just about a Tree Law, it is about a functioning Planning Board, which we do not appear to have in Westport–we have a Building Board. They allow anything and everything a homeowner requests, including removal of trees without any common sense approach. My Wife and I live on a small street just off Kings Highway North, and neighbors on Ivy Court have removed trees, built a second structure within feet of the property line and redirected water flow so our street has become a river in storms like Elsa last week. Dan please use your platform to initiate change. Even Town employees cleaning up part of the mess last week commented that the Planning Board will grant a variance to anyone who asks. I have a video of the torrent if you’re interested.

    • Marci Caporizzo

      Kenneth…Trees absorb gallons of water but also give us the air we breathe. What we need is perhaps to ‘educate ourselves on their importance to each and every one of us. Conservation is key to their and our survival!

      I used to be a member of the Westport Tree Board. I left because I wanted to work at getting valuable information about our Urban Forest out to our Residents. The Tree Board does not have the bandwidth to do this…. If you are interested in helping with Tree education/outreach please contact me through e-mail at marcicap@sbcglobal.net. What would be of service to our community is a group that is dedicated to educating the folks about Trees and their importance to us all. I want to get this group up and running…we have a most beautiful town and keeping it that way requires many hands. Community education is a ‘good’ thing and not only involving adult residents but also our youth as they are the ones who stand to inherit what we leave them with. Please check my comment to the Ceriales below where I quote Diana Beresford-Kroeger. I would love to have folks like yourself join forces and we CAN make a difference in the community/world. Thanks

  21. Elected representatives should run Westport. Not its unelected Town Attorney.

  22. Bill Strittmatter

    Well, for all those in favor of tree control, perhaps you should take the initiative and start with your property. Each and every one of you should slap a conservation easement on your property prohibiting the removal of trees by yourself or future owners in perpetuity except, perhaps, in the cases of disease or imminent danger (in which case tree must be replaced). Once folks start doing that, property by property, maybe the rest of the town will follow your example. I gather you might even be able to take a tax deduction not to mention reduce your property taxes for doing so.

    Probably could work with some conservation group to develop a generic form that can be used by everyone. Maybe band together with likeminded neighbors who have been put upon by another neighbor’s clearcutting and draw the line in the sand. Paraphrasing Jean Luc Picard, “Desecration of the land must stop here. This far, no farther.”

    Frankly, unless you are willing to do that personally, it seems somewhat sanctimonious to advocate that the town force others to do so.

    • marci caporizzo

      Bill….Yes…we all need to consider what it is that we do with property…You are right…we will not ‘own’ it forever and once it is changed one cannot put it back as it was. We are caretakers of the land that we reside on and in fact all of Mother Earth. We must all consider our actions…what we do today impacts tomorrow and we are leaving our youth with some unprecedented actions on our land. We need to consider ‘their’ future as they will inherit what we leave them.

      I used to be a member of the Westport Tree Board. I left because I wanted to work at getting valuable information about our Urban Forest out to our Residents. The Tree Board does not have the bandwidth to do this…. If you are interested in helping with Tree education/outreach please contact me through e-mail at marcicap@sbcglobal.net. What would be of service to our community is a group that is dedicated to educating the folks about Trees and their importance to us all. I want to get this group up and running…we have a most beautiful town and keeping it that way requires many hands. Community education is a ‘good’ thing and not only involving adult residents but also our youth as they are the ones who stand to inherit what we leave them with. Please check my comment to the Ceriales below where I quote Diana Beresford-Kroeger. I would love to have folks like yourself join forces and we CAN make a difference in the community/world. Thanks

  23. Doris Levinson

    I regularly pass a heartbreaking sight on Hillandale Road that’s been clearcut within the past few months. I force myself to look straight ahead when I drive by to avoid the sorry sight. At first it was stunning to see huge trees, uprooted and lying of the ground. Now it’s just a big bare lot waiting the construction of a series of new homes. You wonder—couldn’t the builders have spared just a few of those beautiful old trees to adorn what will undoubtedly be very expensive homes?

  24. Marci Caporizzo

    CALL OF THE FOREST….

    What an apropos time for this to hit the pages of 06880. The Tree Board is presenting one of the most informative/informational and needed Films of the day on July 21st in partnership with Earthplace. It’s called….THE CALL OF THE FOREST…by Diana Beresford-Kroeger…..if you cannot make it there that night under the stars and surrounded by majestic trees as companions please watch it as it is free to Prime Members of Amazon. It is a MUST SEE DOCUMENTARY by an outstanding woman who is tremendously educated and has a passion for Trees and without them you would not have air to breathe. She has dedicated her life to our most precious resource.
    Spend about 90 minutes with your children and learn the importance of Trees and how much they give to us.

    One can also read her books….SPEAK FOR THE TREES, THE SWEETNESS OF A SIMPLE LIFE, THE GLOBAL FOREST, A GARDEN FOR LIFE, ARBORETUN BOREALIS, ARBORETUM AMERICA….or watch her on YouTube where she speaks on all things TREES. You will learn so much about their Importance in our lives.

    Did you know that if you go to a Pine Grove and walk around in circles under the Pines breathing in the aerosols produced by the Pines that you will positively affect your immune system for up to 30 days? COVID protection… anyone?

    Did you know that breathing in the aerosols of a Hawthorne tree/bush will open up your aortic artery preventing a heart attack….?

    Her BioPlan is for every person on this earth to plant 6 native species trees in a native location over the next 5-6 years and WE CAN REVERSE CLIMATE CHANGE?

    Excerpt from THE SWEETNESS OF LIFE….by Diana Beresford-Kroeger

    “the biplan is a blueprint for all connectivity of life in nature. It is the fragile web that keeps each creature in balance with its neighbor. It is predator and prey. It is the victor and victim in a vast cycle of elemental life that is almost beyond our comprehension. It is the quantum mechanic of the green chloroplast without which we would all die. It is the trachoma on the underside of deciduous trees harboring parasites for aphids. It is the ultraviolet traffic light signaling system in flowers used by the insect world. It is the terpene aerosol SOS produced by plants in response to invasive damage. It is the toxin trick offered by plants for the protection of butterflies. It is the mantle of man, in his life and in his death, a divine contract, to all who share this planet.” Page #329-330

    “Tomorrow, you will plant a tree. Then you and your friends will plant more. Together we can do it. We can hold hands across the planet and repair the damage done in the past five hundred years. Hand by hand we will make a daisy chain of people willing to improve our lot and that of all others. We will make a difference to nature, one by one and tree by tree. The roots will grow to anchor the forest back to the power of the sun and rekindle the life we all so richly deserve. Again. For all the tomorrows to come.” Page #331-332

    Learn all this and more from Diana….it’s free and it may save YOUR LIFE AND THAT OF THE TREES.

    I have spent hours reading, researching, and watching films/documentaries and Diana is one of the BEST teachers and a woman who comes from Nobel ancestry but only wants to HEAL MOTHER EARTH AND HER INHABBITANTS…..THAT IS TRUE GENEROSITY.

    PLEASE CHECK HER OUT OR BETTER YET ATTEND THE FREE EVENING AT EARTHPLACE AND FILL YOUR HEARTS/SOULS AND MINDS WITH LIFE.

    Thank you Ceriales Family for protecting your property…what a great and selfless deed you have done for all Mankind….YES…we definitely need more people like yourselves. I for one would love to shake your hand….job well done!!CALL OF THE FOREST….

    What an apropos time for this to hit the pages of 06880. The Tree Board is presenting one of the most informative/informational and needed Films of the day on July 21st in partnership with Earthplace. It’s called….THE CALL OF THE FOREST…by Diana Beresford-Kroeger…..if you cannot make it there that night under the stars and surrounded by majestic trees as companions please watch it as it is free to Prime Members of Amazon. It is a MUST SEE DOCUMENTARY by an outstanding woman who is tremendously educated and has a passion for Trees and without them you would not have air to breathe. She has dedicated her life to our most precious resource.
    Spend about 90 minutes with your children and learn the importance of Trees and how much they give to us.

    One can also read her books….SPEAK FOR THE TREES, THE SWEETNESS OF A SIMPLE LIFE, THE GLOBAL FOREST, A GARDEN FOR LIFE, ARBORETUN BOREALIS, ARBORETUM AMERICA….or watch her on YouTube where she speaks on all things TREES. You will learn so much about their Importance in our lives.

    Did you know that if you go to a Pine Grove and walk around in circles under the Pines breathing in the aerosols produced by the Pines that you will positively affect your immune system for up to 30 days? COVID protection… anyone?

    Did you know that breathing in the aerosols of a Hawthorne tree/bush will open up your aortic artery preventing a heart attack….?

    Her BioPlan is for every person on this earth to plant 6 native species trees in a native location over the next 5-6 years and WE CAN REVERSE CLIMATE CHANGE?

    Excerpt from THE SWEETNESS OF LIFE….by Diana Beresford-Kroeger

    “the biplan is a blueprint for all connectivity of life in nature. It is the fragile web that keeps each creature in balance with its neighbor. It is predator and prey. It is the victor and victim in a vast cycle of elemental life that is almost beyond our comprehension. It is the quantum mechanic of the green chloroplast without which we would all die. It is the trachoma on the underside of deciduous trees harboring parasites for aphids. It is the ultraviolet traffic light signaling system in flowers used by the insect world. It is the terpene aerosol SOS produced by plants in response to invasive damage. It is the toxin trick offered by plants for the protection of butterflies. It is the mantle of man, in his life and in his death, a divine contract, to all who share this planet.” Page #329-330

    “Tomorrow, you will plant a tree. Then you and your friends will plant more. Together we can do it. We can hold hands across the planet and repair the damage done in the past five hundred years. Hand by hand we will make a daisy chain of people willing to improve our lot and that of all others. We will make a difference to nature, one by one and tree by tree. The roots will grow to anchor the forest back to the power of the sun and rekindle the life we all so richly deserve. Again. For all the tomorrows to come.” Page #331-332

    Learn all this and more from Diana….it’s free and it may save YOUR LIFE AND THAT OF THE TREES.

    I have spent hours reading, researching, and watching films/documentaries and Diana is one of the BEST teachers and a woman who comes from Nobel ancestry but only wants to HEAL MOTHER EARTH AND HER INHABBITANTS…..THAT IS TRUE GENEROSITY.

    PLEASE CHECK HER OUT OR BETTER YET ATTEND THE FREE EVENING AT EARTHPLACE AND FILL YOUR HEARTS/SOULS AND MINDS WITH LIFE.

    Thank you Ceriales Family for protecting your property…what a great and selfless deed you have done for all Mankind….YES…we definitely need more people like yourselves. I for one would love to shake your hand….job well done!!

  25. The town should offer a tax credit incentive for: volume, variety and size of trees on private property. This way everyone shares the cost and benefits of this very important environmental and social part of our community and quality of all of our lives. “We need to put our money where our mouths are….”

  26. As a daily fitness walker, I often notice lots of dangerous dead trees/branches that look like they’re ready to drop. The damage could be harmful to pedestrians and vehicles. Private property or not, it seems this needs to be monitored and corrected somehow.

  27. I have a libertarian streak in me and, to a degree, I sympathize with the private property argument here. However, I strongly support some regulation over tree-cutting in Westport.

    Large, old trees were here before any of us, and their presence among us is key to the character of our community, whoever presently happens to own the ground they stand on. Once they’re cut, they’re gone forever. When they start to die, of course, they become safety hazards and must come down, but vital old trees should get their “day in court” before being destroyed by any of us.

    So I like the idea of a tree warden with the power at least to slow down tree removal. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the legal basis for such limitation on private property rights would be not dissimilar from the logic behind zoning ordinances. These too, of course, are often controversial in practice, but in principle are in place almost everywhere.

    For the same reason my neighbor can’t throw up a hotdog stand on a disco on her property, she should have a legal right to challenge my ability to chop down a stately old oak that’s as central to her view as to mine.

  28. John McNicholas

    John and Melissa – Thank you for raising to the forefront this important environmental issue. The recent deforestation of several stately trees on Morningside Drive South – one of the prettiest streets in town – is another jarring example.

  29. June and Rick Hess

    Yes Rick and I totally agree with John. June Hess

  30. Michael Brennecke

    I’m glad someone is thinking about the ruthless devastation of older hardwood and other trees in the development of local properties. Seems like the builders believe new homeowners want nothing but sunlight and flat mowable lawns. Others owners fear that those big trees may fall on their houses, etc. I spoke to my tree guy about one such worry and he assured me that the tree could just be thinned bit to make it more wind resistant. There are alternatives to clear cutting everything. I lost a monster red oak in last Augusts’ storm when a neighbors red oak uprooted and split mine in half. Broke my heart. Big trees are a certain risk, no doubt, but well worth it within reason. It’s what living in New England is all about and thank god we don’t have to worry about cataclysmic fires. Not yet anyway.

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