The article in the most recent Rye Record about the sale of the iconic Tide Mill Basin property was both interesting and disheartening. It showed a digital design plan for an 11,000 square- foot main house, a 1,500 square-foot guest house, and a huge lawn with barely a tree in sight. Juxtaposed (by coincidence?) on the following page was a timely article by Chris Cohan encouraging people to plant more trees. Then, two pages further along was a full-page realtor’s ad for the Tide Mill property. All one has to do is compare the digital rendering of the proposed house(s) with the photo below it of the property as it currently stands, covered with trees, some of which might be as old as the land itself.
At a time when our city is in unprecedented political and ethical turmoil, that started over the clear-cutting of trees; at a time when trees are being removed all over town, either for construction or by DPW when power lines are threatened, it is shameful that yet another large lot will seemingly be cleared, apparently without oversight.
In his latest, as well as in previous articles, Chris advises us to shrink our lawns, replacing them with native trees, shrubs, and flowers. Yet, well, just look at the picture. Two-and-a-half acres of mostly trees will be replaced by 2.5 acres of mostly house and lawn. Can our city do nothing to stop developers from having their way, even when we know that what they are doing is reckless and unwise?
With every night’s news coverage, we watch as the country and the world swelter under global warming. The planet is hotter than it’s ever been. The oceans are hotter than they’ve ever been. And yet, with impunity, developers take down trees that our city and our world need, just to make it easier for them to build the houses they’ve planned.
It doesn’t have to be this way. All we need are laws stating developers must limit tree removal to only what is absolutely necessary. And laws requiring that future houses be designed to accommodate existing trees. If we keep contributing to the virtual destruction of our planet by letting developers do what they’ve always done, to paraphrase Einstein, it really is the definition of insanity.