More Tree Talk at Bishop City Council

Trees and street improvement projects were main topic of conversation at the Bishop City Council meeting Monday night.

With the environmental hearings scheduled for two different street improvement projects, Bishop resident Mary Baker, who recently chained herself high in an elm tree on Grove street in protest, came to the meeting to ask the city to consider ways to have both big old shade trees and sidewalks.

Baker pointed not just to the West Pine Street and Sneden Street projects that were on the agenda, but took the long view of all the various street projects scheduled in the future and the trees that might have to come down. She asked for a moratorium on projects that cut down trees, saying that we need to look at all the alternatives and save as many big trees as we can.

Currently the city offers three replacement trees at no cost to homeowners if a tree is cut down for a street improvement project, but Baker says that the trees on the city approved tree list only grow fifteen feet high and have a short life span.

The city does have an open group that created the list of approved trees. With the possibility of adding new trees to the list, councilmember Jeff Griffiths told Baker, we have a tree group, and you are invited to join.

On the West Pine Street improvement project, Councilmember Bruce Dishion explained that there were really only two trees in question, because property owners had asked the city to cut down five of the seven trees affected by that project. People on Pine cant wait to get the trees out of their yards. Theyre messy, and limbs fall off, Dishion said.

On the Second Street project, which is currently underway, City Administrator Rick Pucci explained that residents were given the option of bulb outs, where the curb sticks out into the roadway to allow room for large trees. Almost to a person, residents preferred to have the parking, Pucci said.

Construction on Sneden Street is scheduled to start in 2011. West Pine Street construction could start in the summer of 2010. The City Council signed off on the environmental documents for both Sneden Street and West Pine leaving time for more tree discussions. Councilmember Griffiths explained that when it comes to trees, all options are still on the table.

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