Tree gets stay of execution...for now

The Sullivan Town Council will hold an informational meeting to get public input regarding the proposed Route 31 zone change from MR-12, the town's highest traffic residential zoning, to a neighborhood business zone at 7 p.m. Aug. 2; a public hearing will follow.

Supervisor John Becker explained the town is trying to create a uniform zoning code along the Route 31 corridor to address requests by residents to set up shop in the area. Town Attorney Donald Colella said the effort will prevent the undesirable result of spot zoning.

Following the informational meeting and public hearing, the town council will further discuss the issue of a Waterbury Road tree some neighbors say is a hazard. Councilman Dave Miner abstained until it could be determined if the tree actually presented a hazard.

The five- to six-inch maple may get a stay of execution despite a board vote of three to one to cut it down.

Residents complained at the special meeting July 19 that the tree, in addition to other brush on the property at the corner of Waterbury and Eddy roads, are creating a dangerous impairment to visibility for motorists attempting to make left turns from Eddy Road onto Waterbury.

Property owner Art Lelio, owner of the tree in question, was present at the July 19 meeting.

I live at the corner of Waterbury and Eddy [roads], Lelio said. Are we done cutting?

Town officials say highway department efforts to address the visibility problem prompted a series of actions that now seem to have neighbors pitted against one another. Becker said crews went out to mow the sides of the road and were threatened with a lawsuit if the clearing continued.

In order to prevent any miscalculation by road crews that might expose the town to litigation, the town hired surveyors to go out and mark the town's right of way on Waterbury Road. Becker said he has heard rumors that Lelio moved the survey stakes but added the stakes appear to be present.

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