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D'Agostino Asks UI to Suspend Tree Removal Plans

UI shouldn't do anything regarding the removal of trees around utility poles until the town hired an arborist, the state representative says.



State Rep. Mike D’Agostino, D – Hamden, has formally asked United Illuminating to suspend its current activity in Hamden until the town has hired a full time arborist, a process that is in the works. 

His request stipulated that no trees purportedly in the right of way should be identified or tagged for trimming or removal until Hamden’s arborist is hired and has had the ability to engage in that process. 

The request came after a town hall meeting where UI was given the opportunity to respond to questions from the public. Hamden’s legislative council president stated that there was a plan to hire a full time arborist and that the hiring process is presently underway.

"No one disputes that damaged and dying trees that threaten power lines and public safety should be removed but UI's plans go drastically further than that and call for the removal of perfectly healthy trees. This is unacceptable,” D’Agostino said. “I have therefore asked UI to suspend its plans in Hamden, at least until the town can hire an arborist to review and oversee UI's plan.” 

Last month D’Agostino asked the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority for an injunction to stop UI’s plan, claiming that UI hadn’t given adequate information or warning about this process. Similar calls were echoed by other towns where UI has announced they intend to cut.

“I have also spoken with PURA Chairperson Arthur House and asked PURA to revise its draft decision, which is not yet final, so as to curtail UI's authority,” said D’Agostino. “We all have seen the unnecessary mass deforestation occurring in our highways in CT. That cannot happen in our town. Property values will plummet."


Hamden mom January 20, 2014 at 09:40 AM
Hamden mom January 20, 2014 at 09:39 am THANK YOU, Rep. D'Agostino: UI's plans are draconian, and your requests to suspend the program and to review the plans at the highest level make so much sense. Let's hope the Town finds a good arborist. In the meantime, is there anything that can be done to stop the horrific deforestation that's underway right now on Interstate 91 north of Middletown -- a landscape and environmental tragedy.
Maureen January 20, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Give 'em hell, Mike.
mentor281 January 20, 2014 at 12:46 PM
I appreciate trees as much as anyone. I also appreciate electrical power, particularly during very cold and very hot weather. UI is taking a sensible approach. When the next incident occurs, and it surely will, who will you all blame then? But, beyond tree controversies, certainly everyone knows the weather is not going to improve over the long run, and will become more violent and frequent. The conversation should be about ways to protect the grid and it will be expensive. Electrical power needs to be put underground as it is in many other Countries. The time to begin was yesterday, yet no one seems prepared to discuss it. Just complain and protest.
Matthew Ross Harris January 20, 2014 at 02:18 PM
For more information on this issue see our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/618032944901139/ And read, sign and share our petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/hamden-residents-this-is-a-petition-to-stop-enhanced-tree-removal-enhanced-tree-trimming-scheduled-by-united-illuminating#intro
Matthew Ross Harris January 20, 2014 at 02:24 PM
mentor281, we want to save healthy trees as step #1. A long term solution that may include putting power underground needs to also we fully considered. However, the approach UI is taking is not the right approach. There needs to be transparency in the process. The removal of large healthy trees and tree canopy increases energy costs and reduces property values. We need a balanced plan and then we need a long term solution. The current plan is just lazy and they are trying to it behind our backs.... and still doesn't solve the long term problem.
Thomas Alegi January 20, 2014 at 03:29 PM
The cost of treating a small damaged tree can cost thousands of dollars over years. So to offset the cost of putting an arborist on the town payroll does the Town of Hamden need to pay Council members a stipend, seeing they only work part-time?
J D C January 20, 2014 at 04:31 PM
I'm a little baffled. It seems as we continue to peel back the layers, Hamden's GREAT "services" maybe arent all they are cracked up to be by the Jax libs. How does a town this size that has a tree crew NOT have an arborist on staff? I would have ASSUMED (I know) that there was one RUNNING the towns Dept. already. Anyway, THANK YOU Matthew Harris and Mike D'Agostino for standing up for us. This was a shell game from the get go. Like I have said here before, WHO was going to be telling us what tree's had to go and WHY? They dont have crystal balls and being able to tell someone which way a HEALTHY, STRAIGHT tree is GOING to fall is IMPOSSIBLE! One can stand under it and look at the weight and the lean and the earth around the trunk and offer a good PROBABILITY, but NO ONE can tell where a tree WILL go for CERTAIN. THAT would have made this a debacle and thankfully smarter heads prevailed, for now.
Len January 20, 2014 at 05:00 PM
Hamden mom..... Are you serious?? The tree cutting on 91 is 20 yrs overdue. It looks wonderfull!! The highways are brighter and cleaner and the sun can shine on them to melt ice and snow. It is very practical and needs to be continued.
J D C January 20, 2014 at 05:36 PM
I have to agree ESPECIALLY the parkway down near NY, GET THOSE TREES OFF the parkway! WHY are there TREES in the MEDIAN on the parkway? Or even CLOSE enough to FALL in the road or ON a car! To maintain the "SCENIC" beauty? Unbelievable. Thats downright DANGEROUS and STUPID! Tree's and HIGHWAYS do not mix. At those speeds you have ZERO chance. WHO is LOOKING at tree's when they are DRIVING anyway?
J D C January 20, 2014 at 05:49 PM
After Sandy the folks in NJ must have learned because I was on the Garden State Pkwy recently and you talk about tree "enhancement" programs. They have CUT BACK almost every tree at LEAST 100 feet from the road! And this goes on the entire length of it.
Len January 20, 2014 at 06:37 PM
Awww JDC, you nailed it!! There is a spot just after trumbull heading south where they have been working for years. A highway passes over head in the form of two seperate bridges, one east, one west. They actually put a tree in the median, directly under the space in between the two roads. Who the heck is planting these trees? Is it the same idiot who planted trees every 10 feet 2 feet off the side of the road on west woods road going down to meet whitney? They will all be cut down in a few years at the expense of hamden moms tears, lol. Some have been mowed down by cars already!
Thomas Alegi January 20, 2014 at 07:00 PM
Trees I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth's sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree. Joyce Kilmer
J D C January 20, 2014 at 08:41 PM
Thomas, you wanna talk about TEARS, I just wish there were a campfire roaring right now, Canteen boy..........LOL hahahahaa very nice poem. Len your talking about near the mall exit, 42 or 44 I think right? Ever seen the leaning pine tree out in Stamford I think, thats in the median and you come down the hill going southbound and have to swerve right with the road and its RIGHT THERE on your left!! How dumb lol.
sally January 20, 2014 at 08:41 PM
Wow I cannot believe that there are individuals actually Picking on "Hamden Mom " for supporting the saving of trees ANY where in this town! seriously, we are doing so much building and clearing of trees that what little we have we should save if they are healthy . I DO believe that if UI wants remove sick or diseased trees THEY should pick up the cost of arborist!!
J D C January 20, 2014 at 08:49 PM
Sally, if you read the last few posts you would clearly see we weren't talking about trees in HAMDEN.
franz douskey January 20, 2014 at 09:27 PM
It's great to have elected representation from Hamden who's willing to speak out. Thanks, Michael.
Basha Wassermann January 20, 2014 at 11:29 PM
Beautiful flowering trees were planted in Spring Glen some years ago, and they line the street along Whitney Avenue, in Spring Glen's business district. They add so much beauty to otherwise drab store fronts, and when they are in full blossom in the spring, it is such a pleasure to walk there. These lovely trees "mask" the stampede of cars, buses and trucks speeding down the street, and also provide health benefits by transforming the unhealthy fumes from cars to healthful, oxygenated air for us to breathe. I was thus appalled to learn recently, that UI plans to cut down ALL OF THESE BEAUTIFUL TREES,--to butcher them--and leave ugly stumps to rot and decay. An irresponsible policy of the "tree-o-cide" leaving our once lovely Spring Glen business district looking drab and unattractive. These ornamental flowering pear trees have added so much to Spring Glen for years--and as a species, these particular trees grow slowly, and because they do not grow high, or spread their branches widely--therefore, they do not represent a hazard to UI electrical wires. I believe that a licensed arborist should first inspect these trees, to ascertain any which have branches which may need to be trimmed or cut back--but that's all that's needed to prevent a black-out. UI is presently "throwing out the baby with the bath water"--in that instead of trimming trees, they are butchering/killing them. This is indeed "over-kill!" Hamden did have a full time arborist on its staff--Mr. Rhone, I believe, for a number of years. So why, after our property taxes have been sharply increased over the past 12 years of Democrat rule --does the town now NOT have an arborist? Currently, due to sky-high and ever increasing property taxes, home-owners have been fleeing Hamden, and homes for sale here, sit unsold, for many months, since people prefer lower tax rate North Haven, etc. Consequently, to make a "hard to sell" town like Hamden, a town with ugly tree stumps instead of lovely trees--will serve to make Hamden so more less inviting to prospective home buyers. Joyce Kilmer's poem, Trees, states that "only g-d can make a tree"... but here in Hamden, only voters can elect a Democrat government, which has, for the past 12 years of its administrations, increased our taxes, while decreasing the attractiveness and viability of our great town of Hamden. No pun intended when I say: "It sure STUMPS me!!"
Thomas Alegi January 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM
A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a Hamden truck went past. Sitting in the front seat of the tree truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog’s duties. “They use him to keep crowds back,” said one youngster. “No,” said another, “he’s just for good luck.” Then a third child brought the argument to a close. “They use the dog,” she said firmly, “to find the hidden fire hydrants.”
Len January 21, 2014 at 03:05 PM
What did the tree wear to the pool party? Swimming trunks
J D C January 21, 2014 at 03:48 PM
My dog is so smart when I ask him whats on a tree he says BARK!
John Roach January 21, 2014 at 06:22 PM
Maybe our Mayor and state representative should familiarize themselves with Connecticut General Statutes sec. 23-58 concerning the appointment of a Tree Warden before hiring an arborist. This is just another case of Hamden politicians not knowing what they are doing. I'm embarrassed to admit that I live here.
J D C January 22, 2014 at 07:34 AM
Although I can pretty much surmise what it says, leaving US in the lurch is just plain WRONG John! LOL
cheryl January 22, 2014 at 10:51 AM
Here's a thought: For all the tree huggers out there. When the electric goes out in "YOUR" neighborhood due to "YOUR" tree that is close to the street, I suggest "YOU" pay for the UI to repairs for "YOUR" neighborhood. If it was decided or presented that way, I doubt very much anyone would object to cutting down the trees close to the street.
Len January 22, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Cheryl, you should run for mayor. You dont need any brains in this town to do so. But, you are intelligent.... You can be the one to turn this whole place around!
J D C January 22, 2014 at 01:26 PM
Cheryl, you do realize with your extensive knowledge of tree's that in order to NEVER have ANYONE'S tree fall on power lines EVERY tree within the HEIGHT that it is to the power lines would have to come down. OR topped so it would fall and MISS the service. I'm SURE you realize that TOPPING or HALVING or CROSS CUTTING is only for APPLE tree's and some other fruits, Oaks and Maples are not to be. If you want the front AND side of EVERY house to look like Faluja, more power to YOU. I dont think your definition of "TREE HUGGERS" is accurate for everyone that opposes just BUTCHERING every tree with curbside appeal in Hamden without some kind of an INTELLIGENT plan.
J D C January 22, 2014 at 01:29 PM
And if your TRUSTING enough in your Hamden and State "leaders" to think this plan was ONLY for tree's CLOSE to the street, be careful what you wish for.
J D C January 22, 2014 at 02:09 PM
I agree with the "plan", to an extent. Something has to be done now. This is something that SHOULD have been going on forever though. Like I have said, I want to know where all the money towns have paid for this "SERVICE" of handling tree's and PAYING tree crews has gone all these years? These tree's are SO out of control NOW because they didnt mitigate their part, and NOW they want to make a parking lot out of Ct because the power companies SHAREHOLDERS dont want to have to lose any dividend checks by having money put back in the business to go underground. Its funny, EVERY new development of houses in the state the power is put underground. But we have to listen to LIES like "oh, going underground isnt practical for us". HUH? Above ground power lines=preventive maintenance on the tree's----NOT DONE because they SUCK.

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