L.I. Residents Upset About Removal Of 82 Trees Outside Apartment Complex

JERICHO, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Dozens of majestic Long Island trees have disappeared without warning or explanation. Now, residents of the Village of Jericho are demanding answers.

The trees — mostly Sycamore, some Poplar, Oak, and Elm — have been providing shade and beauty to the residents of Jericho’s Fairhaven Garden Apartments for decades.

“These trees that they took down on the street — if you look at the size of all of them — they have to be 50 or 75 years old and trees don’t grow overnight,” tenant Andrew Finkle told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Now, however, only a handful remain after 82 trees suddenly disappeared — seemingly overnight.

Joanne Bellamente was so startled by the stark difference of 82 felled trees, she didn’t recognize her own home.

“I said ‘hey’ — to the bus driver- ‘you’re on the wrong street,'” she said. “Everybody likes the trees here, I miss them because they’re so big, but some of them were getting old.”

It was the age of the mighty Sycamores that caused apartment management to worry deep roots might undermine sidewalk stability .

“One or two would be different, but to lose — what did they say — 80 trees they cut down, that’s a lot. People in the buildings were very upset,” tenant Helene Silverman said.

The town received written notice complaints, inspected 16 blocks of sidewalk and deemed the root structure was unstable.

“They don’t want to cut roots and put sidewalk back because we believe it compromises the health and stability of the tree,” said Kevin Hanifan, Deputy Commissioner for the Oyster Bay Highway Department. “It’s about liability and safety.”

“To find out that this was taken down because of the potential of a lawsuit is just lunacy to me. If you look down the sidewalk, all the way to the very end, there’s hardly any buckle at all here,” Finkle said.

It apparently cost between $600 and $900 dollars to cut down each of the trees. The town says it will replant new trees after the sidewalk is replaced.

Residents complain, however, even if trees are replanted along the Jericho-Hicksville Village line, it will take decades to reach the majestic heights of the trees that were cut down.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

  • Walter Greenspan

    Neither Jericho nor Hicksville are villages *municipal corporations), they are hamlets (unincorporated areas) in the Town of Oyster Bay.

    A NYS Geographic Glossary with the NYS definitions of county, city, town, village, hamlet and postal zone may be helpful in understanding the local geography:.

    New York State is divided into counties.

    A county is a municipal corporation, a subdivision of the state, created to perform state functions; a “regional” government. All counties are divided into cities, towns and Indian reservations.

    A city is a unique governmental entity with its own special charter. Cities are not sub-divided, except into neighborhoods, which are informal geographic areas.

    A town is a municipal corporation and encompasses all territory within the state except that within cities or Indian reservations. Towns can be sub-divided into villages and hamlets.

    A village is a general purpose municipal corporation formed voluntarily by the residents of an area in one or more towns to provide themselves with municipal services. The pattern of village organization is similar to those of a city. A village is divided into neighborhoods, which are informal geographic areas.

    A hamlet is an unincorporated area in one or more towns that is governed at-large by the town(s) it is in. A hamlet is divided into neighborhoods, which are informal geographic areas.

    Postal Zone “City” and “Town”
    A postal zone “City” and “Town” is an administrative district established by the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the mail. Postal zone “City” and “Town” may not (but are encouraged to) conform to municipal or community borders. Thus, postal zone location does not always determine city, village or hamlet location.

    Please be aware: In many areas of New York State, the problem of non-conforming postal zones leads to a situation where the majority of places have a different community name in their mailing address than the community where that place is actually located.

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