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Developer's request to fell a West Broadway tree stirs opposition

Posted by Patrick Rosso  October 4, 2012 12:02 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

The site and the tree that has been proposed to be removed.

A developer is seeking the city's permission to remove a tree on West Broadway, but a neighborhood group opposes the move.

The Zelkova tree is located in front of 202 West Broadway, where Dave Matteo and his company, Cedarwood Development, plan to construct a four-story four-unit condo building with a ground-floor garage.

The tree, 12 inches in diameter and an estimated 12 feet tall, would be removed to allow for a curb cut and entrance to the garage.

At a hearing Thursday morning before Greg Mossman, the city’s tree warden, Matteo said he is willing to replace the tree, add new ones or pay for more trees, but the one in front of his property has to go.

“We went through a year-long neighborhood process about this development and I understand a 100-percent what your concerns are but we’re in between a rock and a hard place,” Matteo said. “We originally were going to have parking access off of Athens Street, but the neighbors didn’t want that.”

There has been some opposition to the removal of the tree, with a petition started by Southie Trees, the neighborhood’s tree advocate group, gaining 32 signatures.

“My main concern is it’s going to come down and the new trees won’t be maintained,” Bethany Lawlor, a representative for Southie Trees, said at Thursday’s hearing. “There are a lack of trees on West Broadway and that is one of the largest.”

If Matteo is granted approval to remove the tree, which will be determined by Commissioner Antonia Pollak, he will have to pay the city for the tree's worth, estimated to be $3,600.

Matteo will also be on the hook for two years so that the new trees have time to take root.

A decision will be made in the coming week.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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