Sunday, November 1, 2009

Key Recommendations from the Irvington Tree Commission Concerning Current Con Ed Line Clearing Program in the Village

The Sycamore trees along S. Broadway are a unique heritage for Irvington.
They fall under the Historic Trees classification and thus by current code are protected from all activity - even by the village itself.

No pruning should be allowed unless it is mandatory to maintain their shape and over all health.
Work on these trees should be based only in context of maintenance pruning OR emergency situations / impending danger. Any removal of the large leaders providing canopy coverage over Broadway (often 16-20 inches in diam.) would create extreme stress on the specific tree, likely starting a cycle of decline and decay. Therefore, any pruning, except for dead wood, should be rejected by the village.

The consulting arborist for Con Ed had originally told village representatives, and the Con Ed representative had agreed, that these Sycamores would not be pruned.
The village (DPW, Tree Comm) has not authorized any work on these trees.

There are several other specimen quality trees in the area (ex: Weeping Beech in Ardsley Park) which Con Ed promised to carefully prune, having their consulting arborist on-site monitoring work at all times. These agreements should also be adhered to.

Con Ed and Asplundh, it's contracted line clearing company, must agree to immediately modify their work program such that a supervisory arborist is always on-site and available, monitoring the crews.
Con Ed has stated that the line crews (contracted firm) are all highly trained in their tasks. Spot conversations with some crews has reveled that the crews themselves feel that they may not be properly or fully trained. Con Ed and their consulting arborist has also stated that the line clearing crews are fully supervised in their work. A random spot survey of residents and others reveals a lack of supervision in general. The line crews readily agree that they generally work unsupervised.

The village must insist that Con Ed stop work unless or until it deploys only fully supervised and trained crews who will be reviewed in-field for conformance to training.
Con Ed has said that it's line clearing program follows ANSI A300 specifications. Examination of many trees pruned around the village so far will demonstrate that this standard is, in fact, not being followed, resulting in awkwardly pruned and over-pruned trees.

The village will need to ensure that it provides it's own on-site arborist to monitor on-going line clearing work.
Residents have reported that even when Con Ed or their consulting arborist has agreed to be on-site during pruning of a specific tree, in all instances, no supervising arborist was on-site. To rectify this, the village must insist that it's own arborist be on-site supervising any agreed work on the Sycamore trees - and any other trees that the village shall deem to be of unique, specimen or Historic protected nature. (The fees for this arborist - who pays for the time - should be negotiated.) If there are problems seen, the arborist must be able to contact the police or DPW directly so as to enact an immediate stop work order until such issues can be resolved to the satisfaction of the village.

Residents should report any problems or issues immediately to the Village Clerk's office, the Village administrator, DPW or (off hours) to the Police Department.

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