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Thursday, May 26, 2022
FairfaxOpinionLetter: Where is Vienna's commitment to preserving trees?

Letter: Where is Vienna’s commitment to preserving trees?

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Editor: For the past four months, I’ve been trying to save one tree – a magnificent red oak that straddled my neighbor’s and the town’s properties. It was a few feet from my yard and probably more than 100 years old. It was close to the curb and not in anyone’s way.

My neighbor recently sold his property to a developer. In August 2021, I learned by chance that the developer was required to construct a sidewalk on the property, and the work included felling the tree because it obstructed the proposed sidewalk.

I was shocked. In March 2020, Vienna town government organized a meeting with affected homeowners about building a sidewalk along Orrin Street. We were assured that every effort would be made to preserve trees.

I’m a trained architect, a former project manager, and know how to build around trees without harming them. I sent a letter to the mayor of Vienna on Aug. 10, explaining the above situation and suggesting a solution. I even volunteered my services to help with the design.

After follow-up e-mails to the mayor, I finally heard back on Dec. 8. The director of public works e-mailed me to explain the situation. To offer me an opportunity to present my solution, he sent a representative to meet me at the site.

The representative showed up on Dec. 15, but it was too late. The tree had been felled the day before.

If the town, the builder and I had met earlier, we could have saved the tree. But instead, my appeal was met with four months of stonewalling, lack of communication among town officials, indifference and incompetence.

Madam Mayor, can’t the town do better?

Sverrir Sigurdsson, Vienna

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