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04/05/2023 02:11 PM

Two Nagging Problems

The trouble with trees is that they can fall across Branford streets, even though rooted in private roadside property.

In a letter to The Sound appearing in the March 8, 2023 issue (“The Trouble With Trees”), I described my wife’s near-fatal encounter with a falling tree as she drove south on Leetes Island Road in Branford on Sept. 6, 2022. The collision destroyed our car.

Analysis of the scene of the accident using the police report and photos graciously provided by the Branford Fire Department confirm that the fallen tree was not rooted in the town right-of-way but on private land. These photos also show damage to an Eversource utility pole across the road caused by the same falling tree that struck my wife’s car.

We believe that there are remaining trees at the same location that pose a safety hazard to Leetes Island Road drivers.

It should also be noted that a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed that the town public works administration has no record of the post-accident cleanup on Sept. 6, 2022, even given the severity of the near-fatal event involving a roadside tree.

We wonder if other similar events have not been recorded by Branford public works. A recent revision to the town code requires the tree warden to keep complete records. The town tree warden has the state authority to cut down trees on private roadside lands if they pose a threat to public safety.

There are two nagging problems – the town has no state-certified tree warden, nor does it have a town tree management plan.

Jerry Shaw