Parks policy leaves residents stumped • Brooklyn Paper

Parks policy leaves residents stumped

Sticks and stumps: Residents say that the debris from dead trees — like the large branches and stump on Avenue X and E. 72nd Street in Bergen Beach — needs to be removed quicker by the Parks Department.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

It’s a case of debris-jà vu.

Residents of Bergen Beach and Marine Park say their neighborhoods are blighted with Hurricane Sandy wreckage all over again, as the city cuts down damaged trees and them leaves the debris by the road for months on end.

The Parks Department has 90 days to remove the branches and trunk section of a chopped tree — and it has no deadline for removing tree stumps, and the local councilman said residents are losing patience.

“People don’t like to hear those kinds of differences,” said Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park).

The department has removed more than 2,500 Sandy-damaged trees across Brooklyn so far, and it said it will continue to cut down trees until July 2015.

But the department said it has a backlog of stumps to remove so it is only removing stumps to plant saplings now.

One resident said the department’s policy needs to change, because chopped up branches awaiting removal shouldn’t be left to clutter the neighborhood for three months.

“It takes up two or three parking spots in the street,” said Linda Schain, who lives in Bergen Beach. “It is crazy when you think about it.”

Schain also says that even when the city does come to clear away the debris — only after multiple resident complaints — the hasty cleanups are incomplete.

“They never cleaned up the sawdust — which was piles and piles and piles,” she said, adding that the cleanup crew came back to finish the job only after still more complaints. “Maybe the city doesn’t care about it — I don’t know.”

Maisel said residents are especially angry about the department’s clean-up policy now because there have been so many trees removed in the area due to Sandy. He said that before Sandy, there were only a few tree removals each year throughout the neighborhood, so residents didn’t notice. But now — with dozens of trees getting the ax at the same time — the policy is causing major problems.

“When you had a tree stump every couple blocks, it wasn’t a big deal,” he said. “Now people are unhappy.”

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle‌@cngl‌ocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.

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