Submitted by Molly Haskell, Chair BARC
Article 11 of Special Town Meeting establishes a Tree Protection and Preservation Bylaw. Voters may know that Bedford already has a tree policy and wonder how the policy relates to this proposed Bylaw.
The Tree Policy was approved by the Select Board in 2018. It provides for an open process of informational meetings, public hearings, and appeals to consider the removal of publicly-owned and town-owned trees. It also specifies remediation in the form of fees or planting of replacement trees. It has no bearing on private trees.
The bylaw solidifies the town’s legal footing to create regulations to protect trees on public land, to collect remediation for the removal of public trees, and to enforce these regulations through the imposition of fines and remediation fees for violations. As part of a bylaw, regulations carry more authority than a policy.
The proposed bylaw incorporates the 2018 Tree Policy as the current regulation. The process of open public hearings and appeals for removal of public trees remain, together with optional informational meetings to maximize public input. Privately owned trees on private property remain unregulated.
The bylaw gives the Select Board the authority and responsibility to evaluate and approve any changes to tree protection regulations, together with advice and recommendations from BARC and the public.
BARC is eager to see existing and future protections for a valuable public asset – the Town’s trees – that have the weight of law behind them, and are effective at preserving Bedford’s public tree canopy.
We urge Bedford voters to support Article 11, “General Bylaw Amendment — Article 64 — Tree Protection and Preservation Bylaw,” and vote YES at the Town Meeting on Monday, Nov. 6.
Voted on and submitted unanimously by Bedford Arbor Resources Committee on Oct. 25.
Molly Haskell, Chair