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After Community Protest, Ald. Osterman Seeks Law Variance To Save Andersonville Trees

Organized East Andersonville residents sounded the alarm recently after they got wind of the City of Chicago’s plan to cut down several century old trees in the area. Now, Alderman Harry Osterman is vowing to save the trees.

The issue was raised as a result of the necessary replacement of water mains in the area. Residents on Farragut (between Clark & Glenwood), Berwyn (between Clark & Glenwood), Summerdale (between Ashland & Glenwood), and Balmoral (between Ashland & Lakewood) were informed that sewer lines that run from buildings would need to be repositioned in order to meet current State of Illinois EPA regulations. Those standards reduce the risk of water contamination to water lines from nearby sewer lines.

In order to replace the sewers, construction crews need to dig three foot wide trenches to install them. Tree roots in the construction path could be severely damaged and eventually kill them. So the city made a decision to proactively cut them down including several mature maples, ashes and catalpas.

After a series of porch meeting with concerned neighbors on Monday evening, Ald. Osterman has announced that he will try everything in his power to save the trees. He plans to petition the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and will ultimately need a variance from the Illinois Pollution Control Board to go around those EPA regulations.

Trees most in danger are considered Tier 1. Those trees have large root systems that crews will be unable to work around. Other trees which have been designated as Tier 2 may have roots which they can dig around without damaging them. Tier 2 trees could be saved and surveyed over time to monitor their health. Due to the invasive emerald ash borer however, any infected ash trees on the list will have to come down before the insect kills them.

East Andersonville residents who oppose the plan believe that area trees provide environmental benefits as well as shade, cooling, and beauty. According to them, planting new trees requires 50-70 years before they can match the CO2 absorption of older, well-established trees.

Osterman plans to seek the variance over the next week. If his request fails, Tier 1 trees will need to be removed.

Tier 1 Trees
1410 W. Berwyn Ave.
1414 W. Summerdale Ave.
1420 W. Summerdale Ave.
1426 W. Summerdale Ave.
1436 W. Farragut Ave.
1438 W. Farragut Ave.
1470 W. Farragut Ave.

Tier 2 Trees
1416 W. Berwyn Ave.
1406 W. Summerdale Ave.
1438 W. Summerdale Ave.
1448 W. Farragut Ave.

Ash Trees
1428 W. Farragut Ave.
1460 W. Farragut Ave.
1410 W. Farragut Ave. (two trees)

 

Hat Tip: Block Club Chicago


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