If neighbors Aime and Scott Card agree to the tree-planting plan, the long-standing feud between and the town's Planning Board over the cutting of 13 hemlock trees may soon come to an end.
Thomas Barrett, an attorney for The Maples Board of Directors, presented Thursday night a new planting plan that calls for 15 seven-foot tall arborvitae shrubs to be planted behind building No. 3 at 900 Old Country Road where the 13 hemlocks once stood. The new shrubs would cost about $6,000 to buy and plant, he said. It cost $1,800 to have the old trees cut down.
“The (Maples) board wants to cooperate,” Barrett said, “but they also want to protect their building.”
The battle over the trees began almost two years ago when The Maples, concerned about the health of their building and several of the residents, ordered the cutting of the hemlocks that had grown so tall they were blocking the sunlight reaching the building. Mold had developed on the shaded building and that, some believed, was making some residents ill.
The Cards, who own the house across the fence at 130 Main St., objected to the loss of the trees that acted as a buffer between their home and The Maples. The tree cutting also violated a special permit granted by the town when The Maples was built, which required that there be trees in that spot.
The battle pitted Planning Board Chairman David Gelkie against Jack Hauck, president of the Maples Board of Directors, who at a meeting in November accused each another of distorting the facts.
Hauck sat quietly in the audience Thursday night, saying he had been asked not to get involved publicly because of the past animosity with the Gelkie.
The chairman also seemed in a conciliatory mood.
“I like this plan,” he announced.
The other Planning Board members also said they like the idea of arborvitaes that could be kept at 10 or 12 feet instead of the taller Hemlock trees.
The board asked planning coordinator Emilie Cademartori to contact the Cards, who Barrett said now live in California, and tell them that the board would like to approve the proposed plantings before April, in time for spring planting, if they do not object.
The planning board will meet again March 9 to hear the Cards' response.