Councilors File Hearing Order to Discuss the Process for Tree Removals

Councilors Ed Flynn and Liz Breadon are filed a hearing order at this week’s City Council meeting to discuss the process for tree removals in the city. The hearing order aims to discuss how we can improve the current system, including strengthening the notification and community process for potential tree removals. 

A healthy tree canopy in our neighborhood is important to our environment and quality of life, as trees not only beautify the surroundings, but also they also provide filters for pollutants, absorb excess stormwater runoff, provide shades during hot summers, and other environmental benefits. Residents often view trees as an integral part of their neighborhood, and therefore are often alarmed and concerned when there are requests to remove healthy trees. 

Currently, the process of removing a healthy tree involves a public hearing to gather feedback. Notification of the public hearing is posted on and in the newspaper, and the notice is on the tree itself and at least two other public places. However, there is no requirement to notify the abutters, so residents often do not find out about the tree removal hearing until close to the date or after the hearing. Also, trees are often removed due to development and construction, and are also often removed prior to a development project entering into the permitting process, therefore not allowing residents and the community to have input beforehand. 

“Having a healthy urban tree canopy is critical in terms of climate change and environmental justice, as well as improving our quality of life and preserving the character of our neighborhoods, ”said Councilor Flynn. “If a healthy tree needs to be removed, we need to ensure that there is a robust community process that would include input from residents and abutters about the impacts of tree removals and plans for replanting. I want to thank Councilor Breadon for her partnership on this. I look forward to this discussion.”

For more information, please contact Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 or [email protected].

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