Residents seek alternatives to Norwich plan to fell trees

Norwich - About a dozen residents offered mixed feelings Tuesday during a hearing on whether seven giant, silver cut-leaf maple trees on narrow Sholes Avenue must be cut down for safety reasons.

Norwich Tree Warden Teresa Hanlon said residents requested the hearing after she had posted orders on the trees that they be taken down. Hanlon heard comments for a half-hour Tuesday and told residents she would tell them her decision Friday through emails and updated postings on the trees.

Joan Dupont of 26 Sholes Ave. requested that the tree that towers over her house be taken down. Dupont said she sleeps directly beneath the tree and is afraid that it could come crashing down.

But others asked that at least some of the trees be spared, trimmed of branches that hang over homes or power lines. They also asked that other trees more suitable to the Sholes Avenue neighborhood be planted in their place.

Ellie Hynds of 35 Sholes Ave. argued that if all the trees were cut down, the neighborhood would get more noise pollution from busy West Town Street, especially from the Friendly's restaurant across the Sholes Avenue intersection, and more dirt. In summer, the sun would beat down on their homes.

"Just to wipe out the whole street at one time would be brutal," Hynds said.

"The trees really make the neighborhood," her son, Joseph Hynds said. "If you cut down all the trees, it will just be house, house, house, house."

Hanlon told residents that the main problem is with the root system. During flooding, Sholes Avenue experiences rushing water from a brook that races downhill toward the Yantic River. One tree fell a few years ago, and while the tree itself looked fine, the roots had decayed.

She said different species, such as sugar maple or locust, would be more suitable, and she has inquired about state grants to replant trees. But when asked, she said she could not guarantee that the city could obtain a grant to replant the trees.

She would recommend against replanting trees on the left side of the road, where the power lines are, and told residents they would need city permission to plant anything in the city's right of way near the road.

c.bessette@theday.com

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