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Avella Writes to Mayor on Tree Pruning and Removal

Senator says Hurricane Sandy knocked down a number of trees that had been requested for removal.

State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, has penned a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in which he calls for the city to revamp its tree pruning and removal policy.

Earlier this month, the senator joined northeast Queens civic leaders for a press conference during which he said that a number of trees that had been requested for removal crashed onto streets and homes when Hurricane Sandy visited the five boroughs in late October.

Avella said the city's Department of Parks and Recreation had not been properly responding to requests for tree pruning and removal.

This week, the senator wrote to the mayor on the matter.

"It was clearly evident from Hurricane Sandy that most of the damage, other than direct flooding, was the cause of downed trees," Avella wrote. "The fallen trees caused fatalities, sever damages to home and property as well as causing a significant portion of the power outages."

The senator said he thought it was "outrageous" that the mayor intended to plant a million trees across the five boroughs, accusing the city of not properly maintaining its existing trees.

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.

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