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Shade Tree Commission Comments on Hekemian Revisions

Revisions to Hekemian's proposed development of the United Water property includes the removal of Sycamore trees that line River Road.

During Monday's meeting of the Zoning Board, Steve Perrone, chairman of New Milford's Shade Tree Commission, questioned Michael Dipple, engineer and principal of L2A Land Design in Englewood, regarding the proposed removal of long standing Sycamore trees along River Road to accomodate the proposed development of the United Water propery.

Specifically, Perrone questioned the addition of the left turn lanes that will necessitate the widening of River Road. According to Dipple, this widening will result in the need to remove a number of the Sycamore trees that currently line River Road.

Perrone informed Dipple the trees marked for removal were Heritage trees, and protected under borough ordinance.

Borough ordinance defines heritage trees as "any tree with trunk diameter of thirty-six inches or more measured three feet above ground level; of a particular historical significance specifically designated by official action of the Borough or over 50 years of age."

Borough ordinance 26-A states that no tree shall be removed without approval of the Shade Tree Commission. Specifically, the ordinance states, "No tree may be removed in any commercial buffer area, or right of way, without approval from the Shade Tree Commission."

Antimo "Andy" DelVecchio, attorney for the applicant, questioned Perrone's authority to speak on behalf of the Commission, going so far as to ask where the meeting authorizing Perrone to speak on their behalf was noticed. 

"I called each member of the commission," Perrone told DelVecchio. "And they gave me permission to speak on their behalf." 

Acting Chairperson Ronald Stokes informed Dipple that the Shade Tree Commission had concerns about how many borough trees the widening of the roads would affect. DelVecchio said that the landscape plan will be submitted for the Commission to review.

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