Tuesday, September 16, 2008

mike mocciae authorized the vandalization of our property

He is the director of Recreation and Parks here in Norwalk and, as such, is the guy in charge of trees on school property. You know, the guy responsible for making sure Norwalk keeps its “Tree City” designation. The guy who couldn’t be bothered to check to see if cutting down a 60-year-plus maple tree was the right thing to do, or be bothered actually going to see the tree he subjected to a chainsaw. Hardly the guy that should be in charge of Norwalk’s trees—he’s more interested in installing a putt putt golf course and other sports facilities—I doubt he gives a rat’s ass about the city’s trees.

If he had bothered to take a look at a tree he was killing, he might have noticed the tree was located in a border hedge, that the tree was alive and fully leafed and healthy, and was not located on city property. But he couldn’t be bothered. He told Stanley that there was some kind of tree report that said the tree was dead, but no, he doesn’t have the report. He claims that “the school” (we assume someone at Nathan Hale Middle School) complained that dead branches were ready to fall on students’ heads—though “the school” never asked us to get any dead branches removed (there were some, the result of Connecticut Light & Power’s tree butchering jobs), which we would have done. He claims he drove by and saw that it was dead—why he felt the need to make this up, I don’t know.

Stanley asked him why we were never notified that they were going to cut down the tree—and Mocciae smugly replied that he didn’t have to since the tree was located on city property. Stanley pointed out more than once to him that the tree was located on our property and even if the tree were on city property, our hedge was still destroyed and Almstead trespassed on our land. We have the survey map prepared when Stanley subdivided his acre back in 1995—the tree was on our land.

Mocciae claims that he didn’t know Almstead Tree & Shrub Company left a dangerous mess behind, and destroyed our hedge as they were taking down a healthy tree (which they claim, on their website, they don’t do).

Mike Mocciae's murder of a tree
the view from the school side—the mess left by Almstead when they murdered our maple at the request of Mike Mocciae (click to enlarge)

We noticed that Mocciae doesn’t seem to give a damn that he destroyed our property—did he come by to see the damage? Not to our knowledge—and I was home all day. He told us to file a claim with Mary Roman, the Norwalk City Clerk. Which we did.

Mary Roman told us that we needed to send her a letter, with photos if we have them, and she would get in touch with the city’s insurance company, who will need to send out a claims adjuster. We sent the letter this afternoon, via email (she said this is fine), along with several photos. I don’t know if she received it or not (or the mayor or city counsel or even Mocciae—I cc’d them all) because she didn’t reply yet or OK the return receipt.

Meanwhile, the mess remains.

The tree and the hedge served as a pretty effective sound barrier—our house is a lot noisier without them as there is nothing blocking the noise and pollution from traffic speeding down Strawberry Hill Avenue nor the noise from the kids when they’re outside the school. We need our hedge replaced, and another tree—but how is the city going to make us whole again when I doubt we’ll be able to get a mature maple to replace the one Mocciae killed or have the hedge grow fast enough to do us any good for at least four or five years? Not to mention the mess—we can’t even think about fixing the problem until the wood is removed and the stump is removed.

the view of the destruction from our land
the view from our driveway—Almstead destroyed our privet hedge when they murdered our maple at the request of Mike Mocciae (click to enlarge)

If the city really did give a damn about the safety of Nathan Hale students, they would’ve been out today to remove the mess, which kids were clambering all over today as they waited for their mommies to pick them up from school (a line of SUVs idling on the street that runs in front of our house—gas isn’t expensive enough yet since, for some reason, these kids aren’t walking the half mile or less to get home. No wonder so many of Nathan Hale’s students are so out of shape.)

What puzzles me the most is this: two dead trees fell on Nathan Hale property and lay there for YEARS before they were finally removed. What prompted the sudden need to remove a healthy tree so fast? The tree was fine on August 23 when we left for Michigan, it didn’t suffer any storm damage or lightening strike, so what really happened?

I hope the City is fair about this. It was Mocciae’s mistake—but if his attitude is any indication of the way this city treats its taxpayers, I have my doubts that we will get the problem resolved without a battle. I hope I’m wrong—we need the problem fixed as soon as possible—preferably while we can still plant things so things are in place by next spring. It breaks my heart to see the tree and hedge gone.

posted by lee on 09/16/08 at 08:59 PM

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