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Opinion: Tree Law Would Make Neighbors Snitches

To the Editor:

It is unconscionable that the Lewisboro Town Board's first order of business concerns trees, rather than town residents whose properties have been depressed by the massive foreclosures brought by the great recession, 31 alone in South Salem, according to RealtyTrac.

With their properties underwater, residents are still confronted with unemployment or threatened with unemployment and increasing property taxes to cover never-ending school expenditures. A man on Todd’s Road committed suicide last November because of financial problems. Instead of finding ways to decrease homeowners' burdens in the ongoing downturn, the ingenious new town supervisor is already concocting ways to raise revenues for the town by devising a tree law that would force homeowners to pay application fees just to maintain their property and to keep it safe for themselves and their children.

Enforcement of the tree law would convert neighbors into tattle tellers and snitches, and apparently requires the building inspector to become the tree police and an amateur arborist who, in addition to his regular duties, must decide which trees can be downed. Or would it be necessary that the homeowner pay for an arborist to decide whether the subject trees are sick enough to be removed? If the building inspector refuses to give the go-ahead, would taxpayers be on the hook if such a tree happens to fall down afterward?

Any tree law must consider the infinite, potential liabilities to the town should a property owner be denied a cutting permit and suffer injuries or damages, even years afterward.

Sarah Si

Waccabuc

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