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

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(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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.

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