Trees contribute to the health of our environment and to the beauty of our community. Unfortunately, New Rochelle has suffered a net loss of trees over the years as a result of private development and of the Citys financial inability to replace aging street trees. This month, I introduced legislation intended to arrest or reverse tree loss in New Rochelle. The legislation would require permits for the removal of trees greater than eight inches in width from privately owned parcels of one acre or more, from undeveloped parcels of any size, and in conjunction with site plan or subdivision approvals. Applicants would be required to plant new trees equal in their aggregate width to the trees lost. In the event that new tree plantings are not practical, applicants would instead be required to contribute to a tree replacement fund that the City could utilize to introduce new street trees. Companion legislation would require the planting of trees in conjunction with the expansion of impervious surfaces, once again with an option for contribution to the public tree replacement fund. While most homeowners will not be affected by this proposed law, it will have an impact on larger developments and will also greatly enhance the Citys capacity to preserve the gracious, shaded, tree-lined streets that add so much to the communitys character. A public hearing on the proposed legislation will take place on April 13th at 8:00pm.
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