Trees temporarily spared as neighbors rally against state in Wes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Trees temporarily spared as neighbors rally against state in West Hartford

Posted: Updated:
Neighbors speak with state officials about tree cutting. (WFSB photo) Neighbors speak with state officials about tree cutting. (WFSB photo)

Neighbors in a West Hartford suburb are going up against the state in an effort to spare trees from being cut down.

Monday, people living along Brookline Street said they celebrated a small victory.

The controversy surrounds a dredging project just off of Trout Brook where crews were supposed to start their cutting on Monday.

As the street was lined with revving engines, it was also lined with angry neighbors.

“It's like someone coming into your backyard and tell you they're going to start digging,” said Andy Zelman of West Hartford.

The area in question is owned by the state and trees grew around it. Neighbors said it serves as an access point to Trout Brook.

They said it wasn’t properly maintained over the years and with recent storms exposing that glaring problem, it needed to be dredged.

For residents who live there and see the uneven, sagging roads with the occasional sinkhole, they said they understood that the projected needed to be done.

“Perhaps that may even help the overall issue we're having here,” Zelman said.

However, getting there won’t be easy. Officials said the sediment from the dredging will sit where the trees are now. It couldn’t be done on the opposite side of the brook because officials said there just wasn’t enough room.

Michelle Souza said how the state communicated that to neighbors needed to be better.

“The word ‘tree’ was never used in the letters,” she told Eyewitness News.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection agreed.

“I suppose I could've brought them all down here and showed them what we were going to do,” said Daniel Biron, DEEP.

Pictures drawn by neighborhood children greeted the tree cutters as they went to their trucks on Monday. Along with calling for answers, the state and the town revisited the site and worked on a compromise.

Instead of an initial 2 foot buffer, crews will now cut at least 20 feet away from homes with the promise of avoiding any unnecessary tree cutting.

For neighbors, they said it works for now.

“That would be a good start,” Souza said. “At least the town and state are talking to each other and they realize there might be another way to approach it.”

Officials said the tree cutting did not start Monday. Once it does, it’ll last about a week.

The overall project is expected to wrap up by the spring.

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.