Planning Board Approves Tree Removal on Page & Springs Roads

The Planning Board Monday granted Eversource permission to remove 30 trees from Page Road, as well as one on Springs Road near Page.

The list of trees approved for removal included all but one requested: an elm at 112 Page Road.

The approval was also contingent on Eversource replanting six trees in locations chosen by the Bedford Arbor Resources Committee (BARC) and the Department of Public Works. Maintenance of these trees will be the responsibility of the property owners.

The decision followed a tree hearing hosted by the Planning Board and the tree warden, as required under the provisions of Page Road’s designation as “scenic.”

DPW Director David Manugian and BARC Chair Jacqueline Edwards reported that they had independently reached some reconciliation on the proposal. Manugian said they met last week and agreed on a general plan for the replanting of some trees. Edwards said BARC can agree with most of the DPW’s suggestions.

Edwards also noted that, in order to avoid negative sentiment from the public, to make it widely known that the trees are being cut down for public safety.

BARC member James Hludzik commented that if BARC had been brought into the process earlier on, the issues with public outreach and disagreement between some members of BARC and the DPW could have been avoided. Jeff Cohen, Planning Board, responded, saying that the Planning Department would be more than willing to work with BARC to ensure that all issues are ironed out.

Planning Board member Cindy Barbehenn asked what Eversource’s responsibility to replace trees would be in this scenario. Manugian relayed that Eversource has no obligation, but is willing to plant up to six trees in locations chosen by the town.

Currently, two spots have been selected at 32 Page Road and 168 Springs Road. But

Planning Board member Amy Lloyd later expressed displeasure at the removal of the pine at 168 Springs Road. Resident Barbara Kelly reaffirmed Lloyd’s statement that the pine on Springs Road is substantial and that any replanted tree would take time to fill in its space.

Lloyd’s board colleague Jeff Cohen noted that the site is one of two marked for replanting.

Cohen mentioned a letter from resident Donald Corey that expressed concern about the effect the removal of 31 trees would have on the tree canopy. Also mentioned in the letter was a suggestion to have some kind of study done on the viability of burying utility wires. Cohen said that such a project would be out of the Planning Board’s purview.

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