Report by David Gordon

The Planning Commission spent most of its 90-minute meeting discussing regulations for outdoor sales of Christmas trees, pumpkins and fireworks.

Commissioner Cecelia Infante suggested they look at the Dexter ordinances. “Theirs is smart,” she said.

Commissioner Sam Iaquinto expressed concern that regulation was discouraging businesses. “We are zoning ourselves into non-existence,” he said. He also said the $100 fee for a temporary sales permit was too high.

Finally Commission Chair Larry Roman directed planner Paul Lippens to “bring us some examples” from other communities and concluded: “So you’ll come up with something.”

During the “Call to the Public”, David Gordon (this story’s author) spoke about the Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) and their ongoing N. Territorial Road project which included cutting down hundreds of trees, many of which qualify for “Heritage” or “Landmark” status.

According to WCRC paperwork, 30 trees with 19-36” diameters and 15 trees of 37” & larger diameters were cut down because of their proximity to the road border.

Gordon claimed the destruction did nothing to improve safety and asked the Planning Commission to investigate. He questioned whether the WCRC had any science to support their claims that removing the trees would improve safety and said none was made available.

Infante called the tree cutting “shocking” and “devastating” and said many residents had contacted her to question why this was happening with so little notice.

Chair Roman defended the WCRC tree removal and said he wouldn’t want to hit a tree if he got a blowout and lost control of his car.

Commissioner Brad Cousino, citing safety concerns, went even farther. “I applaud the Road Commission for what they did,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of trees in this township. There are a lot of 300-year-old trees all over this township.“

According to county records, there was one fatality along this stretch of N. Territorial Road from 2010 to 2015. That’s one death in 10,220,000 trips.   There were 15 injuries from car/tree accidents during the same period. That makes for odds of 1 in 681,333.


Watch the meeting with the

The paper trail: