A few years back on a visit to my hometown on Long Island, I noticed for the first time how many trees had disappeared since I’d left. As a result of ongoing development without measures for protecting the town’s natural elements, a neighborhood that had once been characterized by its tree-lined streets was now seemingly bare.
I have worked hard to not let the same happen to our Town of Westfield. Five years ago, I was influential in revising the existing Tree Preservation Ordinance, helping to preserve hundreds of trees. Updates included preventing developers from clear cutting trees before applying for approval and requiring anyone who intends to remove 3 or more trees within a 6-month period to submit an application to the Town’s Tree Preservation Commission.
This year our Town Council passed additional enhancements based on findings from our Tree Preservation Committee;
- Stiffer penalties and fines for noncompliance with tree protection ordinances
- Bonding of trees so that more careful attention is paid to construction around and protection for bonded trees
- Formula for replacing trees that are taken down without town approval, with tree replacement or funds collected towards the Town tree fund
As a result of these ordinances and since the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, I’m proud to report that we’ve planted more than 2,000 trees across town in partnership with our DPW professionals. This includes 21 new trees planted earlier this year at Jefferson Elementary School thanks to the support of Principal Dr. Hung, the Jefferson PTO, and The Westfield Rotary Club.
- 2019 – 824 Trees Planted (as of 10/1/2019)
- 2018 – 304 Trees Planted
- 2017 – 786 Trees Planted
- 2016 – 422 Trees Planted
As your Councilman and Tree Preservation liaison to the Town Council, I will continue to work with the Town’s existing Green Team to seek grant funds for new trees and other environmental improvements. It is imperative that we continue to explore new ways to preserve the Town’s tree canopy for future generations.
As they say… the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the 2nd best time is today!
Want a tree? If you would like to be on the tree planting list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org