State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, and northeast Queens civic leaders are calling on the city to better respond to requests for tree pruning and removals after Hurricane Sandy caused a number of trees to fall onto streets and homes.
Avella held a press conference in July 2011 during which he and local homeowners accused the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation of failing to properly respond to requests for tree pruning and removals.
On Thursday, the senator was joined by civic leaders in Floral Park to once again call for the city to respond to these requests in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s visit to the five boroughs, which left trees strewn about the streets of northeast Queens and caused others to crash into homes.
“One of the biggest problems residents had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy was downed trees,” Avella said. “It is extremely unfortunate that many of the downed trees that either fell on homes or blocked streets are the same trees that constituents have been calling on the city to remove for years.”
The Parks Department could not immediately be reached for comment.
Avella said he would like to see the formation of a Tree Policy Review Committee that would be made up of arborists, who would evaluate current tree maintenance rules and regulations.
In addition, he is calling for a halt to the city’s Million Trees NYC planting program until new procedures are put into place as well as increased city funding for tree pruning and tree stump removal.
“What we have learned from Hurricane Sandy is that the time has come to finally end the city’s police forbidding homeowners from pruning and maintaining the trees in front of their own homes,” said Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village. “They have a vested interest in maintaining those trees because when they fall over, it damages their property.”