Restaurant Owner Says City of Danbury is Leaving Behind a Problem Tree They Planted
This tree in the heart of Danbury, CT is easy to overlook and a local business owner says that is precisely what the City of Danbury has done.
Tom Devine is the longtime owner of Two Steps Downtown Grille and he believes removing this problem tree is Danbury's responsibility.
The City has been actively removing trees they planted in the 80's and readying to replace them with trees that won't damage new sidewalks as part of the massive streetscape project.
Devine told I95, the tree is "technically" on his property but claims the city planted it in there in the 1980's. He shared a diagram with me showing us where he says other trees have been removed, just feet from his problem tree.
We spoke to Tom Devine who says he has reached out to the City Planner on two separate occasions and shared copies of those emails with I95. He says he's copied other "players" in the city on the exchange and did not receive what he believed was an appropriate response.
In addition to his claim that the city has planted trees on his property, Devine says there is precedent for tree removal by the city, writing:
"The City back in 1993 removed three trees and replaced the pavers from where our back patio now stands that they planted and had become over grown, also on our property."
Devine attached a blueprint, that he says diagrams the tree removal and replacement that took place in the 90's.
The Two Steps owner added:
"My question to the City was, if you're not going to take care of it now when you are doing all of this work around us, when?"
We asked Danbury Mayor Joe Cavo about this issue when he joined us in his regular weekly spot on the Ethan and Lou Show on Thursday (6/24/21), this is what he had to say:
"So, the tree that is back there, from my understanding, from talking to department heads may have been planted by the city back in the 80's when they did the streetscape back at that time.
But, as we have talked a couple weeks ago, we talked about those trees and who planted them and when they planted them, you know I don't know a lot of the circumstances, I mean it's 30 years ago, I don't know a lot of the circumstances that surrounded what happened, why that particular tree, uh, it may have been a request of the property owner. They said, hey put a tree here too, you just don't know.
The fact of the matter is, the tree is on his property, the city, you know it becomes a little problem for us if we go and take that tree down, because if I take the tree down on someone's private property then, what stops the next person from approaching me and saying hey Mayor, you know there is a tree on my property and I don't really like it there, can you have the city guys take it down for me?
So, once you break that seal, and you start doing work like that, it really can muddy the waters for you, you know as a city leader. So, you know, I'm just not really sure about how the tree got there or why the tree is there but it's certainly on private property.
You know, I think about it, I'm sitting here thinking about it, and you know conversely, if we wanted to take the tree down, and it was on his property what recourse would the city have? We would probably have to take him to court and fight with him to take the tree down, you know if there was some city need to take the tree down."
Later we asked the Mayor what if the tree was planted by the city, without the knowledge or permission of the owner of the property, this is how the Mayor answered that:
"I guess if he didn't want it there, he should have probably made a comment back, 30 years ago that, hey I don't want the tree here, can you please take it out?"
Below is our entire interview with Mayor Cavo
Below is a segment we did on "Tree-Gate" 2021 on Thursday morning (6/24/21) on the Ethan and Lou Show. This was recorded prior to our conversation with Danbury Mayor Joe Cavo.