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Removing tree won’t destroy community
Sound Off: As a resident of McGilpin Road, I take great offense to the Sound Off column concerning said road and its residents. Namely, please do not group all such residents with the five who fought to spare a tree so that all of the town's taxpayers can forever bask in its grand majesty and soothing qualities. First, unless you live in a tree house directly accessible from the road, numerous trees were cut down to make way for each and every McGilpin Road house and driveway. I guess those trees were not worth preserving. Next, are the taxpayers of this town so financially well off that we can spend thousands, and what could potentially be tens-ofthousands with the designation of additional heritage trees, on preserving old trees? Supporters could argue that such maintenance will be paid with by grants. However, there is no such thing as an infinitely renewable grant. Second, and most important, whether such preservation is paid for by funding in the form of a grant, fee increase, tax, etc. from the local, state, or national level, the fact remains that taxpayers are forced to pay this bill. Correct me if I am wrong, but I have never witnessed a tree operate a snowplow, respond to a 9-1-1 call, or teach an overcrowded classroom of school children. Perhaps with their new funding, heritage trees will feel compelled to take a more active role in the community besides producing oxygen and shedding their leaves. Those supporters on the Board of Selectmen have created a dangerous precedent to appease the wishes of FIVE town residents. First, the town (read: taxpayers) will be held liable for any damage caused by old, decaying, heritage trees. Second, what will become of the Tree Warden's powers? What will happen when the members of the newly formed tree committee repeatedly question his

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professional judgment and impose their own opinion on all treerelated matters? And if a group of five people can prevent the town from cutting down a tree located directly alongside a public way, will both residents and businesses alike be prohibited from cutting down those trees on their private property that are designated as "heritage trees" by the tree committee. I hope the selectmen realize that McGilpin Road has more than just one tree. Dropping McGilpin Road's heritage tree will not turn Sturbridge into a giant metropolis. Instead, removing the tree will lead to a road width that could actually accommodate (albeit tightly) both a personal vehicle and school bus or public safety vehicle simultaneously. And, finally, I hope the supporters on this board realize that there are a lot more than just five voters in the town of Sturbridge, including many who presumably want their tax dollars spent on core services rather than tree preservation. Sound Off January 02, 2008

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