2007-09-27 / Letters to the Editor

Blocked view devalues property

This letter was sent to the Jamestown Tree Preservation and Protection Committee and the Town Council, and copied to the Press.

Dear Mr. Rugh,

After reviewing the plans we received from your committee last week we realized that the height, spread and spacing of the trees are going to be a huge impact on the value of our properties. My wife and I are very disturbed at the news that you are still pursuing the motion to plant trees that will obstruct our view of the West Passage. We don't see trees planted along the homes on Whittier Road that back the golf course. What are your plans for the homes on Whittier Road?

As we stated to the town administrator, Mr. Bruce Keiser, we have had this view for twelve years now and are intent on maintaining the view. Mr. Keiser had stated to my wife that any trees planted in our view of the West Passage, not just the ninth hole, would be moved. We are holding him to his word.

We can understand that there was a problem with turpentine beetles, but what we don't agree on is that the trees had to die. We chose to spray our trees to keep them alive. You could have done the same. The trees would still be there and not blocking our view. If you chose not to use chemicals to treat the trees and lost them, that shouldn't give you the right to plant new trees and take away a view that is high in monetary value to my properties.

Obviously, the plans for the golf course have been in the works for a few years, unknown to us. We can only hope the death of the trees on the ninth hole weren't in the plans for redesigning the landscape on the golf course.

Your letter never stated who pointed out to the committee the lack of barrier at this location and it's liability. We spoke with Mr. Mistowski and he stated that the reason for the trees wasn't for the liability, it was for aesthetics and that he was doing it because he lost trees and the Planning Commission and the tree committee wanted him to plant the trees and plants on the golf course. If safety is the reason, please come forward with the evidence. Over the past twelve years, we have noticed very few rescues on the golf course. A few were because of health related problems. Only a couple were for someone on the course hit by a ball. We don't know of anyone being hit by a ball that has gone beyond the ninth hole onto Conanicus Avenue.

Currently, very few balls end up in our yard. When we first moved here, we would get between 30 and 40 balls a month. We currently get about eight. We and our lawn-maintenance crews have been in the front yard on a daily basis and no one has been hit by a ball.

We were never informed of a plan for the golf course. As a neighbor we should have been notified in writing long ago. No plans were ever unveiled to the public, nor were there any notices in any papers for viewing or input. We would like to know why the tree committee agenda is not published in the Jamestown Press or on the town website. We are all owners of town property and should have the opportunity to address the committee for all public property in Jamestown.

We hope that you reconsider planting anything on the ninth hole. If you plant the trees and the proposed height of them at 20- to 50- feet tall, with a 35-foot spread, this means there will be a wall of trees at maturity.

When we purchased our home the appraisal value of the property was brought up by the golf course and the view of the West Passage. To block our view would be devaluing our property greatly.

Please reconsider plans for the ninth hole and inform us of any future plans for the golf course. We have a lot to lose.

John and Mary Brittain

Conanicus Avenue

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