East Buffalo Township determined to plant trees in a 'compromise' with PennDOT

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Sep. 22—EAST BUFFALO TOWNSHIP — PennDOT officials met with East Buffalo Township supervisors Wednesday to explain why the request to replant trees in certain areas of the township was rejected.

Supervisors want to replant trees from West Market Street in Lewisburg into East Buffalo Township, but PennDOT denied the request at an Aug. 12 meeting. On Wednesday, seven department officials in different capacities met with township supervisors.

"After today's meeting, we do know why they denied it. We just don't agree with it," said Supervisor Char Gray.

Supervisor Jim Knight said they received a lot of good information from PennDOT and a better understanding of why the original request was denied.

Supervisors agree the state is wrong and are appealing PennDOT's decision.

"I don't agree with PennDOT's reasons and would like to understand why we're being treated differently than other municipalities," said Gray.

Her colleagues agreed.

"This is something we feel is important and should be done," said Supervisor Katie Evans.

According to Gray, one issue PennDOT was concerned about is trees obscuring lines of sight and people's abilities to see signs.

"We actually have an ordinance that allows us to cut trees up to 15 feet so that this shouldn't be an issue," said Gray.

PennDOT expressed concerns about trees blocking the sun, ultimately causing ice on roads in the winter season.

"These trees are on the north side of the street so they should get southern exposure," Gray pointed out.

PennDOT officials were also concerned about roots damaging sidewalks and the department being held responsible if drivers ran into trees planted by the township.

Gray agreed everything PennDOT noted was a risk but she didn't agree on the amount of risk.

"We believe the benefits outweigh the risks," she said.

Gray said the supervisors' goal is to beautify the area. She expressed confusion by PennDOT's denial over planting trees but gave approval to Lewisburg to do the same.

"I'm guessing they didn't completely understand our request," Gray said

Trees are allowed along the streets in Lewisburg, Mifflinburg and Northumberland.

"So I think East Buffalo should be allowed as well," said Gray. "So we will continue to work with them and hopefully come up with a compromise."

Gray said many trees on Market Street in East Buffalo Township have died or been torn down. According to her, an ordinance in Lewisburg states when a tree is taken down, one must be replaced.

"The borough (Lewisburg) has an ordinance it must be replanted. They always have future plans to make it look attractive," Gray added.

Taylor Lightman, director of Lewisburg Neighborhoods, said he is determined to work with the relevant agencies to ensure East Buffalo Township is included in the area beautification project.