Tree Committee formed

Oct 17, 2022

Dartmouth will soon have a new committee governing some of its oldest residents: trees.

On Oct. 17, the Select Board unanimously voted to establish the “Dartmouth Tree Committee.” 

“[It’s] the fastest formulated committee in the history of the Town of Dartmouth,” Board Chair David Tatelbaum said. 

This new committee will be charged with “promoting the protection, planting, and taking care of trees and forests, as well as to raise awareness of the many benefits trees provide to the Dartmouth community.”

The committee will consist of five members appointed by the Select Board. Terms will last three years, although there will need to be some staggered periods as this new body gets established.

Department of Public Works Director Tim Barber, who is also the town’s tree warden, will serve as an ex officio member, meaning he cannot vote on any issues.

The committee was formed from a private residents’ group that began meeting two years ago “out of a concern for the town’s trees,” tree activist Ann Parson noted at a previous Select Board meeting.

“[They’re] under tremendous pressure these days,” she said of the town’s trees. “Human-made pressure.”

She and fellow group members wanted to become an official committee in town in order to keep residents informed on regulations surrounding trees — namely, the state law which requires a public meeting to be held prior to the removal of any public shade trees.

“There are a lot of people who really don’t know what Chapter 87 is all about,” Parson said.

Lack of knowledge resulted in the unauthorized removal of 12 trees from Wilson street earlier this year, the outcome of which brought about a $6,000 fine for the contractor responsible for infraction.

Now, with the Select Board’s approval, this tree-related information will be posted on the Town of Dartmouth’s website.

“That website is really going to be key for us,” Parson said.

The next step is to formalize paperwork with the Town Clerk’s office and get members appointed to the committee.