Thursday, September 9, 2010

Eyewitness Account: Letter from Chester Homeowner to PSC

Dear Secretary Brilling,

My name is John DeRosso, my family and I reside in Chester, N.Y. In the last two and one half weeks my family  has been put through a nightmare I wouldn't wish on anyone. Lewis tree company which I understand is contracted by Orange and Rockland literally clear cut a swath of land in front of my house 135' wide by 600' long.

There was not a tree left standing.

What took us 17 years to build and nurture was literally destroyed in two days, and now resembles a dirt parking lot. Trees that were 90' away were left standing but their branches which hung into the easment were cut off. I still have 30' and 40' tree trunks standing in parts of the ROW.

We were told over and over if they failed to comply they (Orange and Rockland) could be fined anywhere from $1,000 to $1,000,000 per day. That seems very hard to argue with.

Originally when my wife was given notice by a representitive from Lewis tree company that they would be coming in to do "trimming and clearing", she asked if "anything would change." She was told "no". She told me that evening, and given that we were told the same thing in previous years, we assumed they would be doing the same maintanance they had done before. We were totally unaware, nor were we informed of the changes we were later told came about in 2005...

I later found out that many of my neighbors that were having far less done on thier property were given literature as well as contact numbers. We received neither. Three days after the clear cutting when I asked the Lewis representitive who spoke to my wife why we didn't get any of the paper work, I was told he "didn't have anything on him at the time."

To add insult to injury I found out last week that the night before they clear cut my property there was a meeting scheduled in Montgomery in Orange county to open this issue to public comment. At a meeting today with Orange and Rockland representitives I asked why noone was informed of this meeting and I was told it was in the paper.

Today's meeting which was held at our house included concerned neighbors, representitives of Orange and Rockland (which included Mike Grant, Mark Beamish, and Keith Still), Senator Larkin, Assemblywoman Calhoun, Legislator Dan Casticone, and town supervisor Steve Neuhaus. Two members of LORAX were also there as observers. I have to say without the guidance, help, and support form the members of LORAX, I don't know what we would have done.

Most of the people attending  the meeting were very taken back by what they had seen and had a hard time comprehending why it was done. The Orange and Rockland representatives characterized what happened as a "miscommunication". Unfortunately that answer doesn't give us our property or our lives back. After the meeting I have to say I was probably more confused and angry then I was before.

There will be a town meeting tomorrow evening in Chester, N.Y. to adress the issue of passing a resolution similar to those passed in both Rockland and Westchester counties to have Orange and Rockland cease it's clear cutting activities. I also spoke to the town supervisor in Warwick today and will be forwarding him information I have accumulated over the past week.

I've spent the last few days speaking to people in the area and informing them of what happened to us and may happen to them. I have also brought this to the attention of local and county newspapers and will also be talking to any other available media outlets. I personally feel that Orange and Rockland needs to greatly improve thier interaction with the public as well as take a hard look at their policies and practices when it comes to dealing with these type of issues which can have such a drastic effect on people's lives. As I understand it Marvin Baum has already sent you pictures of our property, so I won't bother to do the same. I would like to thank you for your attention to this matter.

John DeRosso

1 comment:

-mg- said...

It's a sad thing that this destruction continues unabated even as the PSC has an open review case 10-E-0155 on the matter... Why won't the PSC simply stop the on-going activity via a moratorium while the case review continues?? That is why our state legislators need to become involved and take action to force the PSC into being a public oversight commission, not just a shill for the utility companies.