Letters to the Editor

It's All About Protecting Trees

c1d2ff06c307ae6782e2_24759.jpg
c1d2ff06c307ae6782e2_24759.jpg

As one of the drafters of the town’s original tree ordinance, passed in 2010 after a great deal of negotiation and compromise, and five years of effort, I don’t think I can sit on the sidelines of the current debate over proposed changes to that ordinance.

The two most difficult-to- formulate sections of the existing law pertained to quantifying exactly what we wanted to preserve of Yorktown’s wooded environment, and what mitigation should comprise. In both cases, we punted. We arbitrarily proposed preserving 70 percent of the (at that time) existing woodland in the town. We thought/hoped that would provoke a discussion with the Town Board on what their goals were. It should also be noted that we had NO scientific basis for choosing 70 percent. And the method we proposed for determining the “baseline” threshold from which 70 percent would be measured was to use aerial photos dated 2008 or later.

The 2010 Town Board accepted our 70 percent suggestion virtually without discussion, as well as the aerial photo baseline for measurement. The mitigation sections were drafted at the very end of the long process, in a state of frustration, and have not been enforced in any way.

Sign Up for E-News

The current Town Board has reached out to and welcomed comments from anyone interested in participating in the process, as well as town volunteer advisory boards and its staff and consultant subject matter experts. They should be commended for the openness and inclusiveness of their process.

While the current draft is not perfect (for example, I would still like to see the town governed by the same rules and regulations it proposes imposing on us), the document that has emerged from this collaborative process (as yet incomplete) is still a strong protection for Yorktown’s woodlands.

1) It continues strong protections from, among others:

• “Land conversion”—the industry jargon for what we lay people call clear cutting;

• Removal of specimen trees, which were not protected in the current ordinance due to lack of a list of trees of significance deserving protection;

• Tree removal on steep slopes; and

• Allows removal of diseased, dangerous and invasive species.

2) It strengthens the roles of the Tree Conservation Advisory Commission (TCAC) and mandates more-detailed planning to manage Yorktown’s town-owned woodlands and to provide a comprehensive “roadmap” on where and what kind of trees should planted (i.e. street trees, park and/or forest trees, trees to establish a tree farm for stock available for future town use, etc).  This overt recognition of the TCAC’s role and the additional responsibilities also lend strength to augmenting the resources available for that work. (The work done by the TCAC to date has been managed by a handful of volunteers and meager—though very gratefully accepted—grant dollars.)

3) The current drafts allow mitigation strategies to be developed as part of overall land use decision-making. This means that using TCAC recommendations as guidance, boards can work with applicants to implement solutions tailored to specific sites. The draft language also proposes that those mitigation solutions focus on preserving/replacing the function of the wooded areas to be modified—a goal we strove for but did not fully succeed in putting into our 2010 language.

4) A minor point, but significant to those of us who regularly work to produce the town’s Arbor Day events, this draft moves the town’s celebration to coincide with national Arbor Day, making it easier to take advantage of the visibility of national events and availability of private-sector materials.

However good or bad a law is as written, it means nothing if it is not enforced. This Town Board says it wants an ordinance that is enforceable. I think they will also get an ordinance that can be used to achieve the laudable woodland protections we all want. We should hold their feet to the fire to make sure that whatever ordinance is on the books, it is enforced.

In closing, I also encourage you to go to the Town Board work sessions where the draft is discussed and participate. And when the board brings the draft to public hearing in consideration of adoption, read what they propose, consider it, and please participate.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Yorktown

What Is Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica is a research organization. Apparently, it is funded by the Mercer family, second only to the Koch brothers on the liberal hit list. Both, through their philanthropy, spend millions on various needy organizations like hospitals. What makes them liberal targets is their funding of various conservative think tanks and candidates. I digress.

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook ...

The Best of the Best: Albert Capellini

In the spring of 1991, after answering an ad for a judicial race placed in the local Yorktown paper, I was talked into the unenviable position of running for Yorktown councilman as a Democrat in our then solidly Republican town.

Having been a practicing lawyer since 1974, I felt confident about my qualifications for the position of town judge, but being elected to the Town Board was quite ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

An Open Letter to the Yorktown Town Board

April 11, 2018

The Yorktown Chamber of Commerce proudly serves as the voice of Yorktown’s vibrant business community. A vital part of our mission is to help improve the quality of life for all Yorktowners.

The chamber’s Board of Directors is more ambitious than ever, as we work hard to find new ways to enhance our great community through marketing opportunities and smartly placed commercial and ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...

Why Do Kids Hate Math?

Dear Dr. Linda,

I am in second grade and have a problem about math. My teacher just keeps giving me homework and it’s driving me crazy. Because she keeps giving it to me on weekends and spring and summer breaks. And it’s only one level and it’s too hard. But the other people who have special needs get to be moved into a higher or lower group and they learn even more because ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 26, 1:30 PM

United Methodist Church, Shrub Oak

IBM Retirees Club

Community Calendar

Fri, April 27, 10:30 AM

Yorktown Community Cultural Center, YORKTOWN HEIGHTS

Tai Chi for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Guiding Eyes for the Blind Launches Wag-a-Thon Fundraiser

April 18, 2018

On April 17, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating and supporting life-changing connections between people with vision loss and exceptional guide dogs, announced its first annual Wag-a-thon, a “virtual marathon in a month” fundraiser beginning on May 1.

The Wag-a-thon is a cumulative marathon that you and your dog can do anywhere, at your own ...