Residents of the Westhaven public housing project are fighting to keep several of their sycamore trees. City residents including City Councilor Maurice Cox and housing authority board member Joy Johnson have been working through channels both political and practical to prevent the trees from being cut down. The city wants to remove them because they’re destroying nearby sidewalks; Westhaven residents admire the large trees, and don’t want them to go. The story is in today’s Progress.
4 thoughts on “Save the Westhaven Sycamores”
Trees, especially mature trees, enhance property value in real estate because they improve a neighborhood’s visual appeal. That’s a no-brainer, so I had to read this article twice to make sure I understood what it was saying — that because the trees were affecting the sidewalks and were hanging too close to the buildings, they were affecting the Charlottesville Housing Authority’s ranking on some unnamed “national scorecard”.
Is that justification enough to cut down a perfectly healthy tree that’s been around for half a century, let alone *more than one* such tree? I bet you if these trees were in our public parks, the city would find the money to redesign the walkways before it would hack down the trees. I hope that bringing public attention to the matter will help the CRHA come to its senses about what’s truly in the best interests of Westhaven residents.
Sidewalks that have been damaged by tree roots to the point of becoming a real safety hazard are a problem all over Charlottesville.The trees on West Main next to Union Station are causing problems as are the Sycamores on Market Street next to Lexis Publishing. There are many other problem areas. There may be other solutions besides cutting down the trees, I don’t know. I am trying to find out. If there aren’t though, then the trees should be removed AND replaced with a variety of tree that is deeper rooted and will not cause the expensive and hazardous damage.
Here’s an interesting link on a possible solution.
It might not work with large Sycamores. The city’s aroborist probably knows.
Unfortunately this issue is just a symptom of a larger problem that has plagued the local housing authority ever since the selection of their director 3 years ago. Meaning, the housing authority director consistently makes important decisions without consulting with residents first. This happens time and time again. Unfortunately our housing authority is not alone in this but the attitude of the current director toward residents has been unacceptable and needs to change.
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