WHAT WE THINK: Finally, the silliness ends and a dangerous red oak in Teaneck comes closer to coming down.
Last August, the Teaneck Council wisely refused to designate the tree an historic site. But that changed in February, when common sense caved under pressure from a group of “concerned” residents.
It took a report submitted by county arborists last week to finally move the busy intersection of Cedar Lane and Palisade Avenue closer to safer.
After buying the property at a bankruptcy auction 2½ years , members of Netivot Shalom proudly declared the more than 300-year-old tree would be spared, even though it precariously threatens the safety of those who pass beneath it.
The previous property owner, the Union for Traditional Judaism, had the right idea, vowing to cut it down. But that only fired up the congregation.
Pretty soon, state Senator Loretta Weinberg was involved, promising that county tax dollars would be used to help preserve the tree. Her late husband had fought to save it from the developers’ chainsaw, she said. So would she.
The Puffin Foundation, a Teaneck-based philanthropic organization, offered to pony up $200,000 for a conservation easement that allowed the county to care for the eight-story behemoth.
Yes — with taxes increasing, and people losing jobs, these philanthropists tossed a fifth of a million bucks at an inanimate object that threatens to do someone serious hurt should major winds again blow through Teaneck.
The very favored tree stands virtually alone, too close for comfort to mostly single-story buildings, with no wind-breaking protection from other trees — as unsteady as a drunk in the middle of the sidewalk. Two summers ago, a huge branch fell onto that sidewalk, somehow missing anyone or anything.
The only sour note to what is welcome news around here ( CLIFFVIEW PILOT urged that the tree be removed nearly three years ago) is that the Puffin Foundation gets to have its own experts look at the rotting oak.
Here’s hoping they see the same thing inside that the county arborists did – termite-accelerated decay and rot.
Even if the tree doesn’t fall directly on them, responsibility for a horrific topple would still come down on the heads of anyone who deliberately lets it stand much longer.
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