PORT WASHINGTON NORTH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Should trees encroaching on sidewalks and lifting curbs be cut down?
A controversy is brewing in one suburban Long Island community where sidewalk and road repair is due to begin.READ MORE: Exclusive: MTA CEO Janno Lieber Says Top Priority Is 'Making A Safer Environment For Our Riders'
Susan Goldman says she’s a tree hugger and so is her family. They’re concerned about what road and curb improvement in Port Washington North might mean to their pristine village.
“We can’t have any trees cut down,” Goldman said.
But roots of some of the 60-year-old majestic sycamores and towering oak trees in sections of Steamboat and Driftwood Drives are encroaching on sidewalks and lifting curbs.
“If it were up to me and the board, we would keep our trees indefinitely,” Mayor Bob Weitzner said. “But unfortunately, we are faced with a project that requires some analysis of some of our older trees and what it is doing to our infrastructure.”
A $300,000 curb-to-curb road project and sidewalk widening to four feet, required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, begins this summer.
In some Long Island communities, residents became so enraged when trees were cut down for road projects, they sued.
Port Washington North hopes to avoid that, welcoming public input.READ MORE: 90-Year-Old Mary Veronelli Beaten During Paterson Home Invasion
“We love trees, but they are going to plant new ones,” one man said.
“We don’t want to look like New York City here,” another man said.
Arborist Kevin Sheehan says roots spread at least as far out as the tree is tall.
“The roots need oxygen and exchange gases like the rest of the tree,” he said.
Could the taxpayer-funded road repair be upended by continuously growing roots?
“If they’re going to use money for that, it shouldn’t be something we have to fix again,” one resident said.
“We want to protect all the trees. I love trees,” one woman said.MORE NEWS: Now On Broadway, 'Skeleton Crew' Tells The Story Of Everyday People Society Often Takes For Granted
Village officials have ordered an engineering analysis.