Syosset Grove's tree-lined streets before beautification began (Photo from Syosset Grove resident)

Syosset Grove Residents Upset Over Recent Renovations

Despite resident complaints, the Town of Oyster Bay continues to cut down trees in the Syosset Grove neighborhood. The tree-cutting began in May and the renovations to the area have continued through the summer.

The town notified residents of the removal, though residents complained that they were not provided with the opportunity to provide input when the decision was made. The trees removed were healthy and thriving. The Town of Oyster Bay says that tree removal is an early stage of their sidewalk renovation plan, which will continue this summer.

Many residents complain that the removal of trees has degraded the neighborhood. They claim that trees provided shade and sound absorption. 

Syosset Grove streets after tree removal began (Photo from Syosset Grove resident)

Residents argue that without the tree-lined streets, the sidewalks are hotter and cause discomfort. They claim that sound absorption has worsened, which means that residents can hear traffic, pedestrians and animals while inside their homes.

Neighborhood animals have experienced displacement as well. Residents have found broken bird eggs and remnants of nests on the sidewalks.

Broken eggs found on the ground after tree removals (Photo from Syosset Grove resident)

Some residents report finding nails, glass and exposed pipes during the renovation process as well. Trash left behind from construction vehicles has been left for residents to dispose of.

The Syosset Grove community says that the shift in the neighborhood has been quick and drastic.

The town explains that construction crews walked through the neighborhood before the road work to examine the area and distribute information to impacted homeowners. Residents claim that these notices were not distributed in a timely manner. 

Some say that they received a pamphlet days prior to the removal and were not given the opportunity to express their concerns to the local legislature.

Google rendering of the neighborhood from above. Construction has already finished on Colony Road and begins to expand into the neighborhood (Photo from Google)

The Town of Oyster Bay says the recent removals are part of an ongoing beautification project. Once the trees are removed, roads and sidewalks will be repaved.

Spokesperson for the Town of Oyster Bay, Marta Kane, explained: “The community and road improvement project includes full road repaving, replacement of all curbs, driveway aprons, increased drainage, as well as neighborhood beautification.”

The renovation is in partnership with the Syosset Grove Civic Association, which is an organization that aims to improve the neighborhood through volunteer work from its residents.

“We are working with the local civic association to mitigate the loss of any trees by replanting in other areas,” said Kane.

Neighborhood accessibility will be improved with ADA-compliant ramps at intersections.

The town’s current policy is that if a tree begins to uproot the sidewalk nearby, it must be removed to renovate the pavement. 

One example of how trees uproot the sidewalk pavement in the neighborhood (Photo from the Town of Oyster Bay)

There is no way to fix the sidewalk without damaging its root system once uprooting begins. In order to install improved roadways, sidewalks and driveway aprons, the trees must be cut down.

“Specifically in this area, we are working with the local civic association to mitigate the loss of any trees by replanting in other areas,” said Kane.

As per their policy, the Town of Oyster Bay ensures that for each tree removed from the town, at least one more tree is planted in a nearby area. 

The town often plants these trees in nearby parklets, which is an extension of pedestrian sidewalks. The trees are not planted in the same exact place they are removed from.

These replanting regulations have upset residents, who have grown to appreciate the canopy of shade that the trees provide.

One resident shared: “The best we can hope for is that residents will be given the option of planting new, young trees in the same spots where they stood.”

Google rendering of tree-lined streets on Carol Lane before the project began (Photo from Google)

With the town’s plans to beautify the area, residents hope that the new trees will be planted in the same areas as they were removed. They express concern that if trees are replanted in nearby parks or other neighborhoods, their streets will not benefit from the new placements.

This resident continued: “It would give us back our trees for future generations.”

This year, the Town of Oyster Bay was recently recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a “Tree City” for its 29th consecutive year. In order to earn this title, towns must meet the program’s requirements (which include a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, a community forestry budget and an annual Arbor Day observance).

The town remains dedicated to the environment as it continues to move forward with its beautification project in Syosset Grove.

“Supervisor Saladino and the Town Board are dedicated to investing in our roadways, beautifying local neighborhoods and preserving our suburban quality of life,” said Kane.

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