In preparing this morning’s story on Prospect Road trees, I asked developer Joe Feinleib of Coastal Construction for his response. He asked when I needed it by. I said Saturday night. I planned to run the story Monday morning, and wanted time to include it appropriately.
There was no response as of 9 p.m. last night. I scheduled today’s story to go live at 5 a.m., and included the line that the developer declined to comment.
This morning, as I checked email, I found his reply — sent at 11:24 p.m. Sunday night. Joe wrote:
Thank you for reaching out to me on this matter.
I always try to keep as many trees as appropriate for the homes I build and would love to be able to keep the oaks on the property. However, after reviewing the trees with several professional arborists it was determined the roots of the trees would be severely compromised and would ultimately put both homes near them at risk. I certainly will not put my neighbor or my children in danger should a large branch or one of these trees fall. I am more than willing to plant new trees somewhere appropriate in Westport with the guidance of the town.
As you know from the work I have done in other location in town over the past 18 years you can see how much I enjoy landscaping and preserving trees when safe and appropriate. Some sites I am currently working on are 2 Oak Ridge Park where I am building a home and have saved all the oak trees on the site that are of a similar size as Prospect.
I have also saved a grand sycamore tree at the mill that is one of the most beautiful trees in Westport and there is not a week that goes by where I don’t get a compliment on the landscaping that we did on the old Geiger’s site on the post road.
Below is the Sycamore at the Mill in Westport.
Somehow there always seems to be some aborist somewhere you has provided comment – I’m not buying it for one minute or should I say one dollar$$$.
Perhaps Joe Feinleib is better than most — I don’t have time to drive around this morning to check — but every contractor I’ve seen for the last 25 years first creates a clean slate, a tabula rasa, to erect a new building. A flat piece of dirt covering the entire lot where once stood trees a hundred years old or more.
WHY? WHY? When the house, driveway and parking area will cover maybe a third of the lot? Because a branch may fall on the new house or a neighbor’s? For centuries New Englanders have planted trees PRECISELY over the house to keep the house cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Or the chance a truck may be inconvenienced? Or just so it’s easier for the contractor?
And please stop talking about planting new tree saplings, often not native species that don’t grow well, and will take a century or more to replace what was destroyed.
My passion comes from my old office in the back of the old Westport National Bank (across the hall from Newman’s Own) overlooking Baron’s South — the section bordering Imperial Avenue — being deforested like a piece of Northern Maine with 50 old, big trees cut down for a handful of parking spaces for the Senior Center that take up maybe a quarter of the land area. Nice little saplings between the rows.
Are you worried about global warming?? Well trees are famously one of the best defenses against it. Remember all the carbon dioxide they love to suck out of the air? Sure, this is not the Amazon getting deforested. But it is still environmental devastation — literally in our backyards — dangerous to everyone’s health. There outtta be a law!
Agreed – trees along the property line in setback zones should be retained as long as they are healthy – they are not in the way of new construction,
While no one likes to lose a mature tree. The reality is it’s not your property; you didn’t pay for it, nor will you maintain it. It’s not yours period . Not easy to swallow this, so step up and dig in your collective pockets and purchase these amazing lots. Then you can do what you want.
So, Robbie, since you own your lot, you could put up a car wash, a junk yard a used car lot. Ownership may be nine tenths of the law, but it is not one tenth of consideration, responsibility and environmental concern. All of which are lacking (despite groveling comments by Feinleib to the contrary) in both the developer and the owner of the Prospect Rd. property.
Does Robbie have a for profit marina where his zoning variance only allowed a not-for-profit boat club?
Ohh Bob…. you should have dinner with the kayak co. down river and commiserate. Merry Christmas
That’s one way to look at it…. I guess my point is Joe or ” finlieb” as you unkindly refer to him has the right to remove the trees, as do you even though I’d prefer you keep them, paint your house green , buy a prius etc. At some point we need to put some skin in the game. Not just complain but still drive range rovers and heat with fossil fuels, but me forcing you to do something on your home because I “think” it’s wrong … is well wrong. Merry Christmas