Larchmont ‘Caught Between Rock and Hard Place’ on Trees
09 Oct, 2013
By Polly Kreisman
“If we plant 7-10 foot American Elms, in five years, they’ll look glorious.”
Responding to our story about the efforts of a local woman to halt the replacement of trees in the Streetscape project, Larchmont Mayor Anne McAndrews described being “caught between a rock and a hard place,” after the contractor was fired “for not doing their job,” leaving the Village’s Palmer district looking desolate of vegetation until the situation is resolved.
The $1.36 million contract included replacing 4,000 square feet of sidewalk, planting trees and installing benches and lampposts.
McAndrews says Monica Hoffmann was upset because she feared a Norway Maple planted by her grandfather would be chopped down.
The tree stands in front of a 3 story office building owned and built by Hoffmann’s family at 1890 Palmer Avenue. McAndrews says she told Hoffmann an arborist hired by the Village said it was suffering from “girdling root” and might have to be replaced, but it would be replaced with a disease resistant American Elm, a tree the Village is considering for the 35 trees it intends to plant once the contractor dispute is settled.
Hoffmann insists, “It is untrue that the trees are unhealthy (or) diseased. A couple trees just need pruning….Anne pretends she cares and she makes promises only to retract them later.”
“I promised her on a stack of bibles that I wouldn’t cut down her Grandfather’s tree and I would even put up a plaque for him,” McAndrews said, and we would continue to monitor it. If it’s diseased, we have to replace it.”
But Hoffmann says she has a petition with 3000 signatures from people “who want to save the trees,” and she has filed Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for any documentation the 29 trees the Village was replacing were diseased.
“These were conversations with Arborists,” the Mayor said. “There was nothing to FOI. We showed her all kinds of other stuff, but she wasn’t satisfied.”
The Streetscape Project has been controversial almost from the start. The Pine Brook playground was filled with construction equipment for several months this spring, angering residents.
“We are working hard with Arborists and a Landscape Architect to find the best trees to survive in this suburban environment, that won’t have to be hacked back 10 feet every time Con Ed comes in. If we plant 7-10 foot American Elms, in five years, they’ll look glorious.”