Roslyn Estates considers redefining ‘trees’ in village code

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Roslyn Estates village board is considering redefining a tree in village code. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

Gertrude Stein once wrote “a rose is a rose is a rose” – but in Roslyn Estates a tree may not be a tree.

During Monday’s meeting, the Roslyn Estates board discussed redefining what a tree is in the part of the village code that dictates when a resident has to replace a tree that was cut down.

Currently, the code only defines a tree as a living tree and requires residents who choose to cut down living trees, whether for aesthetic proposes or to build on a property, to replace the tree.

There is no code requiring residents to replace dead trees that are cut down, but redefining tree to include dead trees could do so.

Trustees disagreed on if such a law would impede on homeowner’s rights, and decided to table the matter for a future meeting while they hash out the details.

Trustee Allan Mendes said the rule may be “ownerist.”

Mendes said he lost several trees on his property during Super Storm Sandy. He said he “couldn’t be happier” because it gave him space to plant flowers.

Mendes said if he had nothing to do with causing the storm, why should he have to replace the trees.

Trustee Stephen Fox noted that the village is known for its forested character, and it’s one reason that many residents were drawn to live there.

Also during the meeting, the board discussed a potential law limiting short-term rentals.

Village officials said the village was already approached by people asking if the village had rules against renting out houses as Airbnb’s.

Mayor Paul Leone Peters said the village did not, but now would like to get one on the books.

The village is trying to find a balance so as to limit Airbnb type rentals, without limiting residents who may be renting their houses for legitimate purposes, such as Snowbirds renting out houses or families renting if their house is under construction, Peters said.

The board also thanked Mendes for his service to the board. This was Mendes’ last meeting as he is moving out of the village.

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