Where is "the" offending tree?

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Apparently, one of the recommendations to come from the team that participated in the DPZ planning exercise held last month as part of the 15th-anniversary celebration of the original Kentlands charrette was to remove a 10-year-old city-owned tree because it "blocks the view of Sugarloaf Mountain from a park at the top of the Hill District." Does anyone know which park and which particular tree the team is talking about?

On a good day, I have seen Sugarloaf from several different vantage points up on the Hill. When there is haze or fog, close-in or in the distance, I cannot see it at all. I have also noticed that the mountain becomes less visible as the growing season progresses, and the vegetation in this area and beyond fills out. But it is kind of nice to have these changing views of the mountain throughout the year. It reminds me of the changeability, and unpredictability, of mountains where I have spent some of the most enjoyable times of my life, camping and hiking.

I am open to being educated about the alleged tree/mountain-view problem. But atmospheric conditions and the seasonal growth patterns of the surrounding vegetation play such major roles in what one can and cannot see of Sugarloaf that I do question the value of making a judgement about cutting down a (presumably, healthy) tree based on a cursory walk through the Hill District on just one day of the year. It seems rash to recommend that one poor tree be sacrificed, simply because on one spring day it may have obscured the view of Sugarloaf from one particular spot.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), July 20, 2003


The issue was not that the little tree is currently blocking any views. It is not. The problem arises 10 years or more down the line when, because of where it is, the then mature tree would block one of the better views of Sugarloaf.

-- John Ingrassia (jrinet@hotmail.com), July 24, 2003.

John, thanks for clarifying which tree. I assume, from your response, that it is the little one on the sidewalk right at the base of the park in front of the row of cottages on Chestertown Street. The matter is still somewhat confusing, though, because there appears to be no real view of the mountain to block from that park.

At least, at this late point in July, when the trees are in full leaf, not even a portion of Sugarloaf can be seen from most vantage points in the park. The best I could do was see part of the mountain between the roof of the condo down the way and the trees in front of it, and that was only when I stood at the lower edge of the park, near the sidewalk. The vista between the outer two rows of trees that run down the length of the park is pleasant, but it does not include Sugarloaf Mountain.

Still, I do agree that the tree should be removed. It seems nonsensical to have the long rows of trees, if the view between them is to be cut off by another tree at the base of the park.

(Good views of Sugarloaf can be seen from Chestertown Street, through either of the two back alleys between the town homes and, also, from the park further down the hill, i.e., the one between town homes and one of the condos.)

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), July 24, 2003.

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