Kittery Admiralty Village crews clearing problem trees

Roots removed following an arborist report
August 28, 2014 2:00 AM

1-Lumberjack_Using_a_Chainsaw_to_Cut_a_Log_clipart_imageKITTERY, Maine — The military housing complex Admiralty Village is undertaking a tree clearing project that has resulted in the removal of several dozen trees, with more likely.

The trees are not only being cut down, but the stumps and roots removed, after an arborist report indicated issues with roots growing into sewer lines, said Kathleen Grim, vice president of marketing and communications for Balfour Beatty Communities, which owns and manages Admiralty Village.

Moreover, Grim said, management at Admiralty Village is also concerned about some trees becoming “potential hazards to our homes” due to the increasing number of storms with high winds.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard public affairs officer Danna Eddy said problems have also been identified with root invasion to foundations, walkways and driveways.

“The Navy … agrees that the removal of these trees was necessary to ensure the safety of our military members,” she said.

According to Grim, Admiralty Village staff started receiving calls that storm drains were becoming an issue at the complex. After investigating the situation, the staff determined that sewer lines were being compromised by root systems.

Moreover, management worried that many trees were too close to the apartments. The concern is that increasingly damaging storms could cause the trees to topple.

“The storms have really been picking up in intensity,” she said.

She said Balfour Beatty hired New England Tree Preservation in Rhode Island to conduct an assessment of tree inventory.

“They targeted certain trees that should come down,” she said. “We didn’t do this willy-nilly.”

Throughout the housing complex, evidence of the tree removal can be seen in the upturned earth. Grim said more will be removed, but she was not sure how many.

She said tree management has “always been part of our improvement plan.” She said after tree stumps are removed, most areas will be planted with grass.

“It may not be pretty right now, but it will be,” Grim said.

Eddy said the shipyard has received one negative comment about the work, and Balfour Beatty has reportedly received comments pro and con, “with the majority being positive.”

Patti Jo Smith, a Philbrick Avenue resident, blasted the effort in a letter to the editor in the Portsmouth Herald.

“Not only is this bad for the environment, they’ll make the housing so much hotter without the natural shade,” she said.