What’s the old phrase? “Woodman, spare that tree.” That’s it. In Staten Island, if you can’t spare that tree when you want to build a new house, you have to pay the city government, or plant a number of new trees determined by the city, to compensate for the removal of the existing tree. I read about it in a news item on the Crain’s New York Business web site.
I can’t really tell from the news item whether the tree in question was on public or private property, but the reference to it as being “on the public sidewalk” makes it sound like the tree was in a public right of way. To me, that makes a little more palatable the notion that the property owner should compensate for cutting it down (although if it has to be removed because it’s an obstacle to construction, then maybe it’s encroaching on private property, and the property owner should be able to remove the encroachment without having to compensate for it).
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