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Sea Cliff changes legal definition of a tree

St. Boniface Martyr Parish is located at 145

St. Boniface Martyr Parish is located at 145 Glen Ave. in Sea Cliff. (July 6, 2012) Credit: Brittany Wait

The Sea Cliff Village board of trustees redefined what a tree is — legally, at least.

The board voted unanimously Monday night to change the definition of a “tree,” increasing the minimum trunk diameter from 6 inches to 8 inches. Residents seeking to remove trees will now need permits only for those 8 or more inches in width.

Residents must apply for the $25 permits through the village’s Tree Committee, a four-person group that evaluates each application — including an on-site inspection — individually.

The village granted nearly 200 such permits in 2011, village officials said, bringing in about $5,000.

“Two inches may sound small, but it actually is a big difference,” said village administrator John Mirando, adding that the increase in diameter amounts to more than a 40 percent growth in trunk area.

Despite the change, Anthony Losquadro, chairman of the Sea Cliff Property Owners Committee, said the ordinance by definition violates owners’ rights.

“You have to go begging before a tree committee ... to remove a tree,” he said.

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