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Public invited to discuss fate of historic maple tree in Great Barrington

In a letter to the editor, Holly Hamer writes: "TOPA Enterprises plans to build an apartment complex there with a driveway and parking area that will kill the tree, which has a drip line showing a root system that stretches 50 feet or more into the privately owned lot."

To the editor:

Is anyone interested in preserving a 200-year-old maple tree on Mahaiwe Street?

There is a majestic maple on town property on the Mahaiwe side of the empty lot at 546 South Main St. in Great Barrington. It’s a healthy, nonhazardous, heritage tree in remarkably good health considering it has not been cared for (fed, pruned or protected).

TOPA Enterprises plans to build an apartment complex there with a driveway and parking area that will kill the tree, which has a drip line showing a root system that stretches 50 feet or more into the privately owned lot.

Final site plan review by the planning board is scheduled for this Thursday, April 11, at Town Hall at 7 p.m. The agenda can be found by clicking here.

The planning board has asked the developers to indicate what they plan to do with all of the trees on the property. If the chair, Brandee Nelson, gives permission, citizens may be able to speak regarding the disposal of this tree, which is on public property but would be damaged to death by construction on the private lot.

Both town tree warden Michael Peretti and town arborist Eric Haupt have found the maple to be healthy and nonhazardous. They recommend waiting until the tree fully leafs out at the end of May to give their final evaluations. This plan for a short delay could be encouraged to the planning board.

The Great Barrington Tree Committee endorses protecting this historic tree contingent on the recommendation of the tree warden.

Preserve or remove—however you feel, please consider attending this meeting to participate in this important decision.

Holly Hamer
Great Barrington

The writer is the chair of the Great Barrington Tree Committee.

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