Tree Warden

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Greg Foran, Park Superintendent, is the Tree Warden for the Town of Glastonbury.  For routine tree issues, please submit a request through the Town's Citizen Request System to be sent to Greg's attention.  For urgent tree issues, such as trees blocking the road and/or coming in contact with utility wires, please notify the Glastonbury Police Department immediately at (860) 633-8301.  Take caution- all utility wires can be conductors and should be considered "live", dangerous and potentially lethal.  For your safety, do not approach or touch any wire or anything close to, or in contact with, any wires.

To contact Greg Foran directly, call (860) 652-7686 or email him at gregory.foran@glastonbury-ct.gov.

You should also contact the Tree Warden any time work will be done on or around a public tree. A public tree is one that is growing on Town property and therefore belongs to the Town. This includes Town buildings, schools, parks, Town-owned open spaces and rights of way. Trees along State highways are not under the jurisdiction of the Town Tree Warden. 

In compliance with State Statute, the Tree Warden is an appointed position. The General Statutes of the State of Connecticut requires every town to have a Tree Warden and follow the regulations for the management of the Town’s trees.  Tree Wardens are charged with managing only the Town’s trees. This means protecting those assets that are seen as assets to the Town and removing those that are seen as liabilities. It is not uncommon for a Tree Warden to advocate for keeping a tree that is slated for removal or to post a tree for removal because of defects.

The State of CT DOT manages the trees along the State highways. Adam Boone is currently the State’s representative, managing trees along Glastonbury’s State Highways. His phone number is (860) 258-4509. Some of the General Statutes that apply to Towns relative to trees do not apply on the State level. For instance, the State does not have to post trees for removal. The Town does not have any authority over State trees, however, since the State does not have to post trees for removal, they are obligated to provide notice of tree removals larger than 18” diameter to the Town’s highest elected official, who in turn usually notifies the Tree Warden. That said, the State will usually notify the Tree Warden as a courtesy. 

If the tree is on private property with a Conservation Easement, the Tree Warden does not have any control over it and usually does not have any involvement in the issue either. The exception is if his/her expertise is requested to provide an assessment of a tree. If the tree is on public property, both the Tree Warden and the Conservation Commission have involvement in the management of the tree.

The right of way in this instance refers to the roadway - both the traveled portion that is driven on and the area alongside the pavement owned by the Town. Generally this is a 50’ wide swath of land with approximately 30’ of pavement in the center and a 10’ wide unpaved portion on either side of the pavement. This holds true for most roads built after about 1950 in subdivisions. Older roads may vary.

Particularly on the very old roads in Town, the right of way may vary greatly. In fact there are parts of Main Street where the right of way approaches 99’ and places on Foote Rd where the right of way does not extend beyond the edge of the pavement. The only way to know where the right of way exists in these areas is to rely on maps such as plot plans and maps in the Engineering Department. If upgrades have been done for sewers or sidewalks, the right of way is intermittently delineated on those maps. Some properties have merestones on them to show the property corners and the right of way. Sometimes it takes a survey crew to verify ownership.

People sometimes refer to the land between the sidewalk and the road as the tree belt. In fact, this is not always a good place to plant trees as there are a lot of problems associated with growing trees in this area, including utility conflicts. The area could just as easily be referred to as the “utility belt” as often there are gas, water, electric, phone and cable lines in this area. Another common term for this area is the “snowshelf”.

Permission is needed to do anything in the right of way, whether it be erect fencing, install irrigation, or plant, prune or remove trees. The Engineering Department has a permit process for working in the right of way. Additionally, any tree work on Town owned trees (public trees) must be approved by the Tree Warden. This includes planting. The right of way is sometimes wide enough to lend itself to the planting of a tree and often is not. Permission is given based on whether it is a viable location for the tree to thrive without causing conflicts.

The roots of trees are even more critical than the tree canopy, as the entire tree is prone to failure if significant root damage occurs. The root zone extends beyond the dripline (the outer limits of the branches) and the entire area under the canopy should be considered as the minimal area of protection.

The Tree Warden is charged with the management of Town trees. Anyone arbitrarily abusing a Town tree is subject to fines and penalties that can be assessed for up to 5 times the value of the tree. Additionally, remedial efforts to mitigate damages can be required by the Tree Warden.

If a Town tree is going to be removed it must be posted unless deemed an immediate hazard by the Tree Warden. If it is not an immediate hazard to the public, the Tree Warden is obligated to post the tree for 10 days to notify the public that it is slated for removal. Anyone objecting to the removal should call the Tree Warden. Anyone who chooses to oppose a tree removal has the right to notify the Tree Warden in writing within the 10 day posting period to request a public hearing on the planned removal. The request must be received in writing within the 10 day period. The tree warden will then select a time and place for a public hearing and post a Legal Notice announcing the meeting. Within 3 days of the hearing, a decision shall be rendered by the Tree Warden and again posted as a Legal Notice.

Appeals of Tree Wardens’ decisions from Public Hearings may be made to the Superior Court of the State of Connecticut.