Winthrop, MA

Winthrop Residents Urged to Contact Town Council in Support of Moratorium on Removal of Public Shade Trees

Marilyn Regan

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Linden Tree by Lewis LakePhoto by Marilyn Regan

Winthrop residents concerned about the decrease of tree canopy in Winthrop are encouraged to support the Group Petition presented to the Town Council at the August 17th, 2021 meeting. The petition calls for a temporary moratorium on the removal of all public shade trees that do not pose imminent safety risks. If a review of risks is necessary, it calls that a public hearing be held, and when warranted, an arborist be consulted before the removal of the tree. This moratorium becomes void when the tree ordinance, which is being drafted, is adopted.

While collecting signatures for this petition, many residents expressed strong sentiments in support of the petition and conveyed their belief that Winthrop needs to preserve and expand its tree canopy. Several people shared their dismay that the town had removed seemingly healthy trees in their neighborhoods, even in front of their houses, without prior notification or the benefit of a public hearing. Clearly, a more transparent process is needed. This petition would encourage this as well as ensure compliance with MGL Ch. 87 "Shade Trees."

With the expansion of Logan Airport and the increase in the number of flights, we cannot afford to lose the vital barrier trees provide against carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur, and the fine particulate matter produced by aircraft. Cleaner air will result in healthier lungs and reduced healthcare costs in the future. Trees also block noise, something that has increased significantly since restrictions on travel have been relaxed. 

Economically, removing a tree might also be more expensive than consulting an arborist and pruning it. Consider the time and manpower needed to remove a tree, not just the DPW's, but also the necessary police details, and then the removal of the stump. Trees also mitigate flooding, prevent soil erosion, reduce wind shear and reduce the need for air conditioning by 25%. All these items result in savings for the town and homeowners. 

Trees also encourage social interaction, one of the goals of the Center Business District (CBD) project and the new French Square. They are an investment in the town's future economically, environmentally, and socially and will outlive most of us. They add beauty and a sense of history. 

If you care about the future of Winthrop, your children, and grandchildren, please write to the Town Council and encourage them to adopt the Group Petition, aka, moratorium on tree removal, at the Town Council meeting on September 7th at 7:00 PM. The address is: towncouncil@town.winthrop.ma.us. 

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Marilyn is a writer, yogi, spiritual medium and animal lover. She is a Bostonian in every sense and has the accent to prove it. She loves the ocean, the outdoors, wine, and sleeping in. She days what she means and doesn't waste words. Finally, she is mother to one son, two cats and has three grandchildren.

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