Middle tree (pin oak) standing in the way of solar
When two admirable goals collide -- especially when they concern anything "green" -- how do you decide which worthy option prevails?
In this case reducing carbon footprint by going solar vs killing a tree that provides shade in the summer, absorbs evil carbon dioxide and helps to prevent storm water run off.
For the Amherst Public Shade Tree Committee, having to decide whether a homeowner should be allowed to remove a stately old pin oak tree to allow the sun better access to solar panels going up on his house and garage, the decision was an easy one. Let the tree live.
Although the Committee did vote during a site visit last month to allow the one next to it to go, which tree warden Alan Snow confirmed was in bad shape. APSTC has no control over trees on private property.
The homeowner is going to remove additional trees on his property but plans to replant smaller ones in their place to "offset the carbon footprint."
Adjacent pin oak (resembling a y) will be removed
At the public hearing yesterday the homeowner did not help his case all that much. He cited a contractors estimate of only a 15% loss of solar efficiency caused by the tree and suggested if the Shade Tree Committee prevented him from neutralizing this tree on town property he would be forced to take out a much larger pin oak further back on his property.
To which member Nonny Burack responded, "That sounds like a threat to me." The homeowner snapped back, "No, it's a plan."
The Shade Tree Committee unanimously reaffirmed their vote from the previous site visit to stay the execution of the 19" diameter tree.
Tree Warden Alan Snow, who has final authority, said although the oak was "beat up" by the 2011 October Halloween storm it was still "healthy" and he thought it would be "nice to give it a shot."
The Tree Warden quickly ruled to "deny removal of the tree." But he did say he would meet with the contractors to decide how best to prune the tree to allow better sun exposure on the solar panels.
Amherst Public Shade Tree Committee (currently looking for one new member)